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Ohio's Brownfield Program Offers Significant Incentives for Redevelopment Ohio's Brownfield Program Offers Significant Incentives for Redevelopment

Ohio's Brownfield Program Offers Significant Incentives for Redevelopment

In December, the DeWine administration rolled out the State's Brownfield Remediation Program. This program makes available $1 million per County (which will be awarded to each County on a first-come first-serve basis until June 30, 2022).  An additional $262 million is to be awarded on a first-come first-served basis. This grant program is available to both the private and public sectors  to spur cleanup and development of environmentally challenged sites.
  • Eligible applicants include counties, townships, municipal corporations, port authorities and conservancy districts or park districts or other similar park authority. Additionally, county land reutilization corporations, nonprofit organizations or organizations for profit are eligible if they have first entered into an agreement with a unit of local government to work in conjunction on the project for the purposes of the program. 
  • Properties must meet the definition of a "brownfield" to be eligible, i.e.  “an abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial, commercial, or institutional property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by known or potential releases of hazardous substances or petroleum.” 
  • If the property is eligible for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (OEPA) Voluntary Action Program (VAP), based on the substance on the property (i.e. petroleum or other hazardous contamination vs. asbestos contamination), the funds may be used to obtain a “Covenant-Not-To-Sue” from the OEPA. Properties that contain more than one parcel are eligible to apply as one property. The parcels must be contiguous. Parcels separated only by a street, alley or railroad track are considered contiguous. 
  • Eligible costs include those aimed at assessing the property via Phase I and Phase II property assessments and/or asbestos surveys up to  a maximum of $300,000, as well as cleanup/remediation costs aimed at containing, removing or disposing of hazardous substances at a brownfield up to $10 million. In addition, administrative costs such as submitting reimbursement requests and reporting information and costs associated with hiring a certified professional and preparation of a no further action letter and covenant not to sue submittal to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency may qualify for reimbursement.
  • Projects awarded through the dedicated county portion ($1 million set-aside) require no math. For projects awarded outside of the county's dedicated portion, ODOD may award up to 75% of the project cost, with a maximum award of $10 million.
  • This program is a welcome addition to the tools that exist to spur development and redevelopment. I would expect that the interest in these funds (as well as the Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program) will be high. 
This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.
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