Simply put, there is no downside to participating in Salisbury’s Brownfields Program. Given the well-documented history of Salisbury’s contaminating land uses, most financial institutions will likely require an environmental investigation to take place as a precondition of any real estate transaction of a brownfield site.
In many instances, owners of potentially contaminated sites are confronted with liability and financing challenges when they attempt to sell, finance, or redevelop such sites. Many property owners avoid initiating these assessments due to their expense and perceived complexity. When this happens, everyone loses. The community loses because sites remain vacant and underutilized. The property owner loses because they miss out on lucrative opportunities and remain burdened with potential liability issues. And the City loses because of depressed property taxes, lower job growth, and less than ideal development outcomes.
The grant provides the opportunity for property owners to have assessments completed at no cost. Assessments reduce the uncertainty associated with properties by either providing assurance no contamination exists or quantifying the risk of contamination present and the cost of mitigation to make the site suitable for its safe reuse. The program is voluntary, not regulatory; therefore, the EPA will not force property owners to remediate any contamination identified unless there is an immediate threat to human health. Defining the environmental uncertainties helps facilitate the sale and/or redevelopment of brownfield sites.