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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2003

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795

 

Commissioner Campbell Visits Residential Redevelopment
Project at Former North Wildwood Landfill

Highlights Public Question No. 2 that Provides Stable Brownfield Funding

(03/161) NORTH WILDWOOD - Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today recognized The Tides at Seaboard Point as the first brownfield redevelopment project in New Jersey for residential housing on a former solid waste landfill. Commissioner Campbell also highlighted Public Question No. 2, the hazardous waste cleanup and brownfield redevelopment initiative, on the November 4 ballot and discussed its importance in promoting smart growth in New Jersey.

"K. Hovnanian's brownfield redevelopment project, reclaiming an old landfill for residential housing, is a first for New Jersey's smart growth efforts," said Commissioner Campbell. "It protects our coastal resources through proper landfill closure, provides residential housing and preserves most of the site as open space, including nesting habitat for two species of herons."

Commissioner Campbell toured the former Anglesea Beach Landfill, a 20-acre site in North Wildwood, with Mayor Aldo Palombo, representatives of K. Hovnanian Companies of Edison, the developer of the housing project, and Jim Sinclair, first vice president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (BIA), who highlighted an environmental award recently presented by BIA for this unique project. They reminded voters that on November 4 they have an opportunity to support funding to investigate and clean up contaminated sites and promote brownfield redevelopment. Such projects stimulate the local economy and make communities safer.

Without increasing taxes, the ballot proposal would expand the use of an existing underground storage tank funding program to create a reliable, long-term funding source for brownfield redevelopment. Municipalities and businesses would directly benefit from grants and loans for hazardous discharge cleanups. These funds would be provided through an expanded use of Corporate Business Tax (CBT) revenues already dedicated to the state's underground storage tank funding program. Brownfield redevelopment projects could be eligible for up to $50 million in CBT funding the first year alone, and about $10-15 million each year thereafter.

"This ballot initiative is about helping towns across the state return contaminated and abandoned brownfield sites to productive use," said Commissioner Campbell. "It will support environmental cleanup, create employment opportunities and meet a need for housing and recreation. By dedicating existing funding to bring polluted brownfield sites back to life, we encourage smart growth and steer new development away from precious open space."

The McGreevey Administration has worked aggressively to create innovative programs to promote brownfield redevelopment. The Governor signed legislation expanding tax reimbursements for projects that convert brownfield sites into residential development. The Governor also provided $40 million in funding for brownfield investigation and cleanup projects through the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund. This same fund would be used in the future to distribute the stable source of money for brownfield loans and grants called for in the ballot initiative. DEP and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority will partner to administer the funding program. The two agencies provide environmental and financial review of remediation projects.

Last month, the Administration also launched a new Cleanup Star program to expand the role of environmental consultants by allowing those pre-qualified by DEP to work with developers and responsible parties to expedite site cleanups and redevelopment. DEP also has been working on brownfield to greenfield projects to meet the need for parks and open space, especially in older suburban and urban areas.

If voters approve the ballot proposal, municipalities will be able to apply for grants and loans of up to $2 million per year for investigation and cleanup activities. Private parties required to perform remedial activities and individuals who want to conduct such actions voluntarily may qualify for loans up to $1 million per year if they are unable to obtain private funding. Towns and businesses work under a "Memorandum of Agreement" with DEP to perform remedial work ensuring proper oversight of the activities.

The ballot proposal also earmarks up to $2 million per year for an underground storage tank inspection program. The inspection program will assist tank owners to identify leaking tanks and correct small problems before they become serious environmental concerns.

Since its creation in 1996, the Underground Storage Tank funding program has received revenues of about $20-30 million annually, but expends only about $10 million per year. As a result, the Underground Storage Tank Fund currently has a surplus of approximately $100 million that cannot be used productively unless New Jersey residents approve the constitutional changes proposed in Public Question No. 2. About half of the funds will go to brownfield projects, while the remaining will be used for underground storage tank work.

 

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