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Michigan's Brownfield Law Expands Definition of Demolition

AKT Peerless recently worked with Representative Ben Frederick and Michigan Economic Development Corporation to enable a change to the definition of Demolition under Act 381 to enable the removal of manufactured debris on Brownfield sites in both core and non-core communities. Until now, demolition was legally restricted to structures, but some sites across the state contain residual stockpiles of manufacturing debris which inhibits redevelopment due to the high cost of removal.

The definition of Demolition now reads; “Demolition of structures that is not a response activity, including removal of manufactured debris comprised of discarded, unused, or unusable manufactured by-products left on the site by a previous owner.”

The change to the law was brought about by a case located at the Great Lakes Fusion site in Vernon Township, Shiawassee County, Michigan. The former owner of the site left behind thousands of concrete culverts and pipes rejected for sale due to flaws in the pipe that occupied acres of the site. Great Lakes Fusion had expansion plans, but the piles of pipe would cost approximately $880,000 to remove. Adding to the cost was that the pipe was reinforced with rebar mesh, which necessitated special crushing equipment.

Both the local government and MEDC saw value in removing the pipes, but the law would not allow it as the site lies in a non-core community. Recognizing the problem, Representative Ben Frederick led an amendment process to change the definition of the law. Great Lakes Fusion is now in the process of clearing the site, making way for new businesses.

The change to the law has a wider applicability than the Great Lakes Fusion project. Tax increment financing can now be used to remove non-hazardous wastes like tire piles, slag piles, waste manufacturing equipment, and manufacturing junk yards to get a site ready for redevelopment. Please feel free to email or call Dan Wells for more information on problem sites in your jurisdiction.


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