What are Brownfields?
Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties, including but not limited to industrial and commercial facilities, where redevelopment or expansion may be complicated by possible environmental contamination (real or perceived). Brownfields are officially defined by the federal government in The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of January 11, 2002, (“Federal Brownfields Law”) as any “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Specific examples of sites which could qualify as Brownfields include: abandoned gas stations, old factory and mill complexes, foundries, junkyards, mine-scarred lands, and other under-utilized or abandoned properties.
Why is Brownfields redevelopment important?
Brownfields properties are often abandoned, with owners no longer maintaining the property or paying taxes. Abandoned properties can quickly become eyesores, and may attract vandalism and illegal dumping, which degrade the environment, depress our communities, and potentially put our health at risk. Productively reusing Brownfields reduces urban sprawl, increases the tax base, cleans up the environment, encourages urban revitalization and creates jobs for the community and surrounding communities. Redeveloping Brownfields links economic vitality with environmental protection.
Brownfields redevelopment may also provide environmental, economic and social benefits in historically disenfranchised communities. The physical elements of such environments, may contribute to human disease and illness, economic disincentive, infrastructure decay, and overall community disintegration. Brownfields may contribute to additional burdens to environmental justice sites. The goal of environmental justice is to achieve socially equitable, environmentally healthy, and ecologically sustainable communities. Accordingly, brownfields redevelopment is one tool that can address the needs and goals of environmental justice communities.
If you are considering purchase of a property which may have potential environmental contamination, let Wingfield Environmental assist you in determining if there is an equitable and safe means of getting it back on the tax rolls. This is not only a benefit for your bottom line, but a potential development shot in the arm for the community.