Michigan’s Brownfield Law Expands Definition of Demolition

By Dan Wells

Expansion of demolition definition allows for the removal of manufactured debris as an eligible activity to be reimbursed with tax increment revenues.

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.

About the Author

Dan Wells is a Senior Project Manager for AKT Peerless in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with broad experience in economic development, brownfield incentives, environmental law, community development and historic preservation. Dan can be reached directly at 616-608-0229 or at wellsd@aktpeerless.com.

About AKT Peerless

We are environmental consultants and redevelopment experts who are proud to help build sustainable communities. Our services – environmental, sustainability, economic development incentives, and construction loan consulting – are tailored to the needs of each of our clients. We solve problems and deliver value to projects of any size, anywhere, and we empower our people to engage, at work and in our communities, to make a difference. We succeed because our clients and communities succeed. Call us at 800-985-7633 for help with practical solutions.

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