The Department of State’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program provides communities with guidance, expertise and financial assistance, up to 90 percent of the total eligible project costs, to complete revitalization and implementation strategies for neighborhoods or areas affected by brownfields or economic distress. Brownfields are dormant properties where contamination or perceived contamination has impeded investment and redevelopment, making them an economic and environmental drain on localities. Through the BOA Program, brownfields are transformed from liabilities to community assets that generate businesses, jobs and revenues for local economies and provide new housing and public amenities.
The program provides a neighborhood or area-wide approach, rather than the traditional site-by-site approach, to the assessment and redevelopment of brownfields and other vacant or abandoned properties. The neighborhood approach enables communities to comprehensively assess existing economic and environmental conditions associated with brownfield blight and impacted areas, identify and prioritize community supported redevelopment opportunities, and attract public and private investment. The type of neighborhoods and areas where program resources are being applied include industrial/manufacturing, commercial corridors, residential, downtowns and waterfronts.
View more in-depth BOA Program details here.
Assess the full range of community redevelopment opportunities posed by a concentration of brownfields or economic distress
Build a shared community vision and consensus on the reuse and redevelopment of strategic sites and actions to achieve community revitalization
Coordinate and collaborate with local, state, and federal agencies, community groups and private-sector partners to identify and implement solutions to improve communities
Develop public-private sector partnerships necessary to leverage investment to advance and implement development projects that can revitalize diverse local neighborhoods
The BOA Program recognizes that successful brownfield redevelopment comes in many forms and that each community has its own unique revitalization goals and opportunities. The program provides a flexible planning framework for communities so they can tailor their approach to catalyze the redevelopment of strategic sites and affected areas through a locally-driven process.
Program flexibility and active partnering are just the beginning. Successful redevelopment and community revitalization requires: strong local leadership; inclusive and meaningful public engagement; a clear and realistic vision for revitalization; and diverse public and private partnerships for implementation. Together, these ingredients will ensure communities - large and small - become better places to live, work, and recreate.
Program grants support a variety of community revitalization activities including: community visioning and other public participation processes; existing conditions analysis; strategic site identification; economic and market studies; investigations to assess site contamination and environmental conditions; site-specific redevelopment plans; infrastructure improvement studies, environmental impact assessments and statements; marketing to attract developer interest; local law changes; development standards and design guidelines; and other actions to spur investment in, clean-up of and redevelopment of brownfields and other underutilized sites. These types of activities are permitted in three program steps:
Step 1- The Pre-Nomination Study consists of a preliminary analysis so communities can gain a basic assessment and understanding about existing conditions, brownfields and the area's potential for revitalization. This step sets the stage for detailed work.
Step 2 -The Nomination consists of an in-depth assessment and evaluation of existing conditions, including an economic and market trends analysis, and assets to determine the best reuse potential for strategic sites and other revitalization opportunities.
Step 3 - The Implementation Strategy funds a range of techniques and actions to achieve revitalization objectives by advancing redevelopment on strategic sites, improving supporting infrastructure, and overall neighborhood revitalization through investment, provision for public amenities and improving environmental quality.
View a fuller description of the range of eligible activities here.
Through a community-driven process, primary outcomes include:
Effective strategies to achieve revitalization - BOA Plans establish clear and effective community neighborhood and site specific redevelopment strategies that specify how areas and sites can be cleaned-up and redeveloped more quickly so development impacts the community in a positive way.
Informing site clean-ups - By conducting site assessments, to better understand contamination issues, clean-up options and costs are better understood.
Shovel ready sites - A portfolio of sites that are or near shovel ready and ripe for redevelopment and investment for a range of businesses and uses.
Priorities for investment - Priorities for public and private investment are established that lead to redevelopment and other actions for community renewal.
Environmental justice - Environmental justice issues and concerns related to negative environmental consequences are addressed and countered.
Marketing to attract investors - Marketing materials are generated, such as site renderings to illustrate redevelopment potential, descriptive brochures, web displays, requests for developer proposals and others to attract interest and investment.
Public and private partnerships - Multi-agency and private-sector partnerships are established to leverage investments to redevelop sites, improve supporting infrastructure, and provide needed community facilities.
There are many benefits associated with being engaged and participating in the BOA Program and many can be realized prior to the area being designated. Primary benefits are listed below.
Redevelopment and investment - Establishes a clear strategy to redevelop and return strategic brownfields and other parcels back to productive use and establishes priorities for public and private investment to achieve community revitalization.
Empowerment - Provides resources so community leaders can be proactive and be catalysts for positive change.
Predictability - Removes uncertainty and increases predictability regarding site conditions, contamination, ownership, future uses and supporting infrastructure, and development cost.
Advocacy - The Department of State provides advocacy and support to the participating community by working to connect the community’s revitalization needs with resources from various program and sources.
Priority and preference - Designated Brownfield Opportunity Areas shall receive priority and preference from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and Environmental Restoration Programs. Designated areas may also receive priority and preference from other local, state, and federal programs.*
Tax credits - Development projects that are proposed consistent with the BOA Plan may receive a two percent tax credit bonus if the site has been accepted in the Brownfield Clean-up Program.*
*These benefits are in effect when the Brownfield Opportunity Area is designated as described below. Read detailed BOA Program benefits here.
The municipality or community organization submits their BOA Nomination and Implementation Strategy to the New York State Secretary of State for review.
The Secretary of State will determine the consistency of the BOA Nomination and Implementation Strategy with the General Municipal Law, Section 970-r.
If the BOA Nomination and Implementation Strategy is determined to be consistent with the provisions of the General Municipal Law (Section 970-r) the BOA shall be designated.
If the BOA Nomination and Implementation Strategy is determined not to be consistent with the provisions of the General Municipal Law (Section 970-r.), the applicant shall be advised in writing regarding how the BOA Nomination and Implementation Strategy should be amended. The applicant may revise and resubmit the BOA Nomination and Implementation Strategy to the Secretary of State.