Page 10 - The Suffolk Lawyer - May 2021 - Vol. 36, No. 3
P. 10

REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT • SPECIAL SECTION                                                   urban sprawl. Brownfield Sites tend to by lo-
                                                                                                             cated in centralized locations with access to
            Zoning Ordinance Amendment Incentivizes                                                          existing  services  such  as  public  roadways
                                                                                                             and utilities (electric, gas, sewers, stormwa-
                   Brownfield Site Remediation Within                                                        ter, etc.).
                                                                                                                The redevelopment of these sites will pro-
                                        the Town of Islip                                                    mote  further  development  in  the  nearby

                                                                                                             area, including the development of sites for
                                       By Brian T. Sinsabaugh, Esq.
                                                                                                             transitional uses that may not have other-
                                                                                                             wise developed on those properties due to
                                                                                                             both the appearance of the Brownfield Site
                                                                                                             and the knowledge of its contaminated state.
                                                                                                             Further, both the municipality and its citizens
                                                                                                             will benefit from the improvements to the
                                                                                                             environment following remediation and re-
                                                                                                             development of Brownfield Sites.
                                                                                                                The first (and the most obvious) impact
                                                                                                             of the remediation and redevelopment of a
                                                                                                             Brownfield Site is the reduction in ground-
                                                                                                             water contaminants from the contaminated
                                                                                                             soil that is removed or otherwise remedi-
                                                                                                             ated.  Second,  the  redevelopment  of  a
                                                                                                             Brownfield Site can prevent the clearing of
                                                                                                             undeveloped property. This is especially im-
                                                                                                             portant to Suffolk County’s Central Pine Bar-
                                                                                                             rens  and  to  the  long-term  quality  of  the
                                                                                                             Nassau-Suffolk Sole Source Aquifer. Lastly,
                                                                                                             the  redevelopment  of  a  centrally  located
                                                                                                             Brownfield Site will promote efficient travel
                                                                                                             patterns, thereby reducing vehicle use and
                 f  left  contaminated,  Brownfield  Sites   within the Town. Specifically, the Islip Town   improving air quality associated with reduced
                 may not only pose harm to the environ-      Board adopted a resolution adding a provi-      greenhouse gas emissions.
            I ment but may also prevent effective real       sion to the zoning ordinance permitting the        In 2015, New York State enacted legisla-
            estate development to the surrounding area.      waiver of a site’s building permit fee(s), pub-  tion continuing the BCP tax credits through
            The New York State Environmental Conser-         lic improvement fee, recreation fee, mitiga-    March 31, 2026.  At the beginning of 2021,
            vation Law defines a Brownfield Site as “any     tion  fee  or  similar  type  impact  fee(s)    there were 44 active BCP sites on Long Is-
            real property where a contaminant is present     associated with the redevelopment of the        land, of which only 11 had been issued a
            at levels exceeding the soil cleanup objec-      property upon demonstrating to the Town         Certificates of Completion. Some of those
            tives or other health-based or environmental     that the subject site was contaminated and      sites requiring a Certificate of Completion are
            standards, criteria or guidance adopted by       has  been  certified  as  remediated  by  the   located within the Town of Islip. With the as-
            the department that are applicable based on      United  States  Environmental  Protection       sistance of the zoning ordinance provision
            the reasonably anticipated use of the prop-      Agency, the New York State Department of        adopted by the Islip Town Board in March
            erty, in accordance with applicable regula-      Environmental Conservation or by any au-        2021, the Town of Islip has provided greater
            tions.”                                          thorized agency having jurisdiction over the    incentive to those owners of Brownfield Sites
               To encourage the private sector to reme-      subject  property.    In  total,  this  provision  within the Town to complete the necessary
            diate  and  redevelop  Brownfield  Sites,  the   could  save  developers  hundreds  of  thou-    remediation.
            State of New York enacted the Brownfield         sands of dollars in real estate development
            Cleanup Program (“BCP”) Act in 2003.  The        costs.
            BCP incentivizes participation in the program      By adopting similar ordinances, municipal-
            through a number of tax benefits, including      ities may help incentivize participation in the
            tax credits for a percentage of costs incurred   BCP. Participation in the BCP benefits both
            in site cleanup, remediation of groundwater      the members of the community as well as
            contamination  and  redevelopment  of  the       the municipality. First, many Brownfield Sites
            site. Further, participants in the BCP can ob-   become abandoned for long periods of time
            tain tax credits for a percentage of property    and may be delinquent in the payment of
            tax liability and the cost of environmental re-  real property taxes. By incentivizing partici-
            mediation insurance. Despite the availability    pation in the BCP, the municipality will be in          Brian T. Sinsabaugh
            of numerous tax credits to property owners       a position, once the Brownfield Site has been               Associate, Certilman, Balin,
            participating in the BCP, the financial invest-  remediated and redeveloped, to collect real                   Adler & Hyman, LLP
            ment  necessary  to  complete  a  Brownfield     property  taxes  on  the  site  over  the  long    Brian practices in the areas of land use and
            Site cleanup remains too high for many.          term.                                              zoning.  In 2020, Mr. Sinsabaugh was named
                                                                                                                to  the  New  York  Metro  Rising  Stars  list  of
               On  March  9,  2021,  the  Town  of  Islip      In addition to the long-term tax benefits
                                                                                                                Super  Lawyers.  For  additional  information
            adopted an amendment to the Town’s zoning        reaped by the municipality, incentivizing par-
                                                                                                                concerning  this  article,  please  feel  free  to
            ordinance that may further incentivize the       ticipation in the BCP permits municipalities       contact Mr. Sinsabaugh at
            completion  of  Brownfield  Site  cleanups       to implement effective zoning and reduce           bsinsabaugh@certilmanbalin.com

            10 THE SUFFOLK LAWYER • The Official Publication of the Suffolk County Bar Association • www.scba.org                     MAY 2021 EDITION
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