Reducing Environmental Risk

Tackling The New York City Volunteer Cleanup Program (VCP)

Environmental remediation of contaminated properties can be an expensive, confusing and time-consuming process, especially in a large city with a complex and long industrial history like New York City.

For this very reason, the New York City Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) created the Volunteer Cleanup Program (VCP), masterminded by a brilliant former top New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) geologist who was determined to avoid some of the inefficiencies of the state’s cleanup programs. The VCP ensures that vacant properties in New York City with light to moderate levels of contamination can be cleaned up to state standards, while lessening the burdens of remediation under state auspices that existed prior to the program’s enactment in 2011. Since then, the program has enrolled over 500 projects on 1,200 tax lots, making it one of the most prolific environmental remediation programs in the country.

The Aim Of The VCP

The VCP is designed to be predictable, to give developers a roadmap for their property’s remediation, and to provide developers a release from state “Superfund” liability. The VCP is also designed to decrease the response and processing times of the environmental remediation process, and to be a more responsive process overall (for example, integrating with satisfying the city’s related but different e-designation program). Perhaps the biggest draw of the program for developers is that the VCP provides relief from government environmental liability for lower-risk developers, an assurance that once the program is completed the city or state will not take future environmental enforcement action. The VCP includes other incentives for developers, including waivers for certain government taxes and fees on cleanup, as well as grants to offset the cost of the cleanup.

The VCP, while a more streamlined environmental cleanup program, is still a multistep endeavor that requires working closely with the OER and navigating many environmental regulations, and insuring that state impediments to development are also removed.

Contact Us For More Information And Legal Advice

If you think the VCP is right for you, or if you’re not sure whether this program, or the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, is right for your property, contact Periconi, LLC, and speak to one of our attorneys about how to start an application for the program. The firm welcomes inquiries from property investors throughout New York City, Westchester County, Long Island and beyond. Contact the law firm by email or call 646-733-4487 to discuss your matter with an experienced lawyer.