Brownfields, the term for land that has been used in the past for industrial purposes, are common in cites, particularly mining communities such as Sudbury. Redeveloping them for other uses is difficult because of the costs involved in environmental cleanups of the property.
The city's brownfield strategy, passed in 2011, offers landowners a mix of incentives to clean the property to modern standards so it can be used again. For example, the city could forgo property taxes for up to three years to help offset cleanup costs. The policy also allows for rebates on landfill tipping fees up to $40,000, planning and building permit fees rebates of up to $70,00 and a deferral of tax increases resulting from the increase in property values for up to five years.
Serge Vaillancourt, the owner of Chelmsford property, received approval from the city's planning committee Monday evening for $44,792 in assistance to redevelop the Cote Avenue property, which borders mostly residential areas in the community.
It takes 716 square metres of land and was a welding/machine shop until it closed and the building demolished in 2012. The majority of the assistance – almost $33,000 – is in property tax breaks for a maximum of five years. Under the brownfield strategy, landowners who build on brownfields can get a break on the increase in taxes that would result in the improvements they make to their properties.
While getting help from the strategy, Vaillancourt estimates he will spend about $835,842 cleaning up and building the four-unit building. After five years, he'll start paying property taxes of about $8,400 a year, based on 2014 tax levels.