Continuing with our prior post, this post discusses the Court of Appeal's ruling in In the Matter of Lighthouse Pointe Property Associates, LLC v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2010 NY Slip Op 1377, 2010 N.Y. LEXIS 35, (Ct. App. Feb. 18, 2010), and the implications of that decision.
On February 18, 2010, New York's highest court overturned the DEC's denial of an upstate New York development's application for admission into the State's Brownfield Cleanup Program ("BCP" or "Program"). In the Matter of Lighthouse Pointe Property Associates, LLC v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2010 NY Slip Op 1377, 2010 N.Y. LEXIS 35, (Ct. App. Feb. 18, 2010). As the first Brownfield Cleanup Act ("BCA") case to reach the Court of Appeals, this decision may have implications for how New York State courts interpret the BCA, how DEC makes eligibility determinations, and therefore for an easier entry into the Program.
In 2003, the New York Legislature passed the Brownfield Cleanup Program, ECL § 27-1401 et seq. The benefits of the Brownfield Cleanup Program ("BCP") are many: the developer receives a liability release from the State following DEC oversight during the cleanup of the property. The most coveted benefit, however, is a tax credit of up to 22% based not merely on the cost of cleanup but also on the cost to redevelop the site. A few New York City developers have reaped enormous rewards on $100+ million developments.