Changes to NJ Brownfield Funding Program

April 9th, 2018

A little-noticed bill that was passed at the end of 2017 made significant changes to the NJ Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF) grant and loan program. The legislation,  A1954 signed into law on 1/15/18. Below are a summary of the changes. Thanks to our friends at the Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) for providing us with this information. These changes will be discusses at the  9th Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop to be held on May 23, 2018 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ

Fourteen changes by the Brownfields Office at NJDEP are:

  1. 25% matching grants for innovative technology and limited restricted use remedial actions have been eliminated from the program.
  2.  50% matching grants for innocent parties have been eliminated.
  3. Annual grant caps to municipal/county/redevelopment authorities are reduced from $3,000,000 to $2,000,000.
  4. The additional grant amount permitted in a Brownfield Development Area (BDA) is reduced from $2,000,000 to $1,000,000.
  5.  Annual loans caps are reduced from $1,000,000 per year to $500,000 per year.
  6. The statewide annual award cap for recreation/conservation; affordable housing; and renewable energy grants is reduced from $5,000,000 to $2,500,000.
  7. At least 30% of the moneys in the fund shall be allocated for grants to municipalities, counties, or redevelopment entities for PAs, SIs, RIs, and RAs of a site not located in a BDA.
  8. Moves sites in Planning Areas 1 and 2 down to the third priority from the second and makes BDAs the second priority.
  9.  Readiness to proceed has been added as a factor in prioritization of applications.
  10. NJEDA’s annual reporting requirements are to include the amount of remediation costs expended for each site for the previous calendar year and the remaining balance.
  11. NJEDA is required to adopt criteria for public entities that indicates that the property will be developed within a 3 year period from completion of the remediation.
  12. Places timeframes for completing remediation steps based on the date the grant is awarded for:

a. Preliminary Assessments or Site Investigation at 2 years after the date of the award.

b. Remedial Investigations at 5 years after the date of the award.

Failure to complete the task will result in cancellation of the award.

13. Requires the applicant of a supplement grant to demonstrate that the previous grant/loan award was fully expended or will be fully expended.
14. The law took effect on 1/15/18 and applies to any application for financial assistance or a grant from the HDSRF pending before the DEP on the effective date of the law or submitted on or after the effective date. It does not apply to any application determined to be technically eligible and recommended for funding by the DEP and pending before NJEDA on the effective date.

A summary of the changes for private party grants and loans is Attached

 

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