Statutory Fees Information:
Fees for development of a brownfield agreement were last changed in July 2006. For a few years, the Brownfields Redevelopment Section in the Division of Waste Management continued to receive level funding support from the U.S. EPA. However, in recent years, there have been considerable cuts to U.S. EPA brownfields funding to states, and that trend is likely to continue. The Brownfields Property Reuse Act requires recovery of costs and, since the percentage of the costs covered by the U.S. EPA funding provided to the program is decreasing, the cost portion of fees paid by prospective developers must increase in order to maintain the current level of service for projects seeking redevelopment, the resulting creation of jobs, and compliance with the statute. Analysis shows that these fees will increase from an average of $5,500 to $8,000 for a standard site.
Consistent with the statute, this fee is provided by prospective developers to the North Carolina Brownfields Redevelopment Section in two installments. At the beginning of the process, at the time the site is deemed eligible, there is an initial $2,000 statutory fee due. The remainder due is negotiated in the brownfields agreement, but the fee amount must defray all costs to the state (for both NCDENR and the North Carolina Department of Justice).
Analysis of funding totals from the U.S. EPA and fees indicates that, due to the decreased federal funding, this second installment cost average must increase to $6,000 in order to defray program costs consistent with the statutory requirement. This increase will result in a total fee of $8,000 for a standard project, subject to negotiation of a brownfields agreement. This announcement serves to notify all applicant prospective developers that this fee increase will apply to all projects entering the program after May 31, 2012.
Fees may be higher if a particular project requires legal review and negotiation through a Department of Justice attorney, as by statute, the Department of Justice’s expenses must also be defrayed. However, based on experience over the course of more than 200 completed agreements, program staff believe that the legal fee is entirely avoidable at most standard sites.
Redevelopment Now Program Option Fees:
If the prospective developer enters the Redevelopment Now program, fees will remain the same as they are at present: $30,000, subject to the negotiated brownfields agreement, as these fees do not include any federal funding subsidy.
Ready-For-Reuse Program Option Fees:
The North Carolina Brownfields Redevelopment Section has been piloting the preparation of brownfields agreements that aid the marketing of brownfields properties. In instances where an owner of property is not eligible for a brownfields agreement, the program will, in cooperation with that owner, develop a draft brownfields agreement, with the prospective developer listed in the agreement as “to be determined.” Such a “Ready-for-Reuse Brownfields Agreement” will provide the prospective purchaser a site that is ready to go, with a draft brownfields agreement prepared in advance and awaiting finalization that is consistent with the purchaser’s end use. This will aid the marketing of the property, and, therefore, its ultimate redevelopment. These agreements come with inherent factors that make them more time consuming to negotiate and need greater resources for future PD vetting and agreement modifications. Therefore, subject to the negotiated brownfields agreement, the department is setting the estimated standard ‘Ready-for-Reuse” fee, based on these costs, at $15,000 for such sites, payable in two installments: half upon receiving eligibility determination from the program, and half when the Ready-for-Reuse Brownfields Agreement is agreed to by the owner and DENR and is made ready for public comment.