Brownfields are previously developed sites that have barriers to redevelopment due to the presence or threat of contamination on the property.
Redeveloping brownfields reduces sprawl, reduces public health threats, and encourages new investment in proximity to existing infrastructure and public services.
A variety of financial incentives can be utilized to support brownfield redevelopment projects including tax increment financing (TIF), Community Revitalization Program (CRP), and a variety of grant and loans that can potentially assist in numerous phases of a brownfield project.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a tool that allows a developer to be reimbursed for eligible costs related to an eligible property (contaminated, functionally obsolete, or blighted) using the incremental increase in the taxes on the property resulting from the new development. A TIF can only be used if there is going to be an increase in the property tax, otherwise there is nothing to capture to reimburse eligible activities.
Through qualification as Core Communities, the Cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti can include additional activities:
These are the incentives available, but ultimately it is local government approval for each specific project that determines what can be included as eligible activities reimbursable by TIF. If a developer decides to pursue a TIF a Brownfield Plan will need to be created and approved by the jurisdiction in which the project is located, the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, and the County Board of Commissioners. A Brownfield Plan may seek to capture state school taxes in support of such project, which requires additional approval at the State level.