After a Phase 1 assessment, which is the initial screening for environmental impact, the project team will evaluate and select from 4 to 6 sites for consideration of a Phase 2 (an assessment that includes environmental sampling to determine if impacts exists). Assessment results may determine the need and extent of any cleanup or controls to prevent exposure to contamination. The City will provide cleanup and/or mitigation planning and cost estimates as part of the Phase II assessment.

The areas north of Old Town and along the Poudre River were historically used for several commercial and industrial purposes because they were located in the historical City center and along the river that provided convenient transportation and a source of power and water. These locations can carry a stigma of environmental impacts because of past uses that may have generated waste. This area contains desirable riverfront land, is adjacent to Old Town, and is already identified as ideal for infill development. Brownfield assessments can remove the stigma of environmental impacts or provide an opportunity for cleanup. Future Brownfield assessment or cleanup grants may be sought for other locations in the future.

Through this project, in working with the EPA, the City of Fort Collins’ assessments can provide liability protection from future regulatory actions and assurance that assessed properties are not impacting the environment or public health.
Currently, there is a lack of inventory for developers in the Fort Collins market. However, as assessments are completed, and revitalization opportunities are identified, more inventory may become available.

Addressing any potential or perceived environmental issues can have significant impacts on the salability of a property. The assessments can help mitigate this by identifying whether environmental impacts exist or not, and if they do, to what degree. This information is vital for a property owner and a potential purchaser (developer) to come to a fair market value for the property. Absent this assessment, any educated purchaser will be extremely conservative and offer less than fair market value for the property.

Participation can determine if no impact exists, remove the negative stigma associated with it, and thereby increase the value of the property substantially. If an issue does exist, an environmental assessment under this program can provide liability protection, preliminary cleanup planning along with expected costs, and better enable lender support for redevelopment.

The process for cleanup or mitigation, if necessary, is highly dependent upon the results of the Phase 2 assessment and specific land use plans. Project specialists can assist property owners in determining what level of cleanup is required for their development and suggest cost efficient cleanup options as part of the Phase II assessment.

Participation in the voluntary environmental assessment portion of the Project is the first step. There are also many available resources for funding cleanup. If it’s determined that cleanup is necessary, the City will serve in an advisory capacity to assist participants. Typical funding sources include grants or loans available from:

  • The Colorado Office of Petroleum and Safety Cleanup and Redevelopment Fund
  • The Colorado Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (Area-Wide Planning Grants, Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants, Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants)
  • US Department of Commerce (e.g., EDA Public Works and Economic Development Facilities Program, EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance Program, SBA Economic Adjustment Assistance Program, SBA Section 7(a) Loan Program)
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Federal and State Historic Preservation Tax Incentives
  • Colorado Environmental Remediation (Brownfield) State Income Tax Credits

It’s unlikely that additional river access will be created as the City and County already have a number of river accesses that strike a balance between conservation of our natural resources while ensuring community enjoyment and recreation. We view the project as an investment in the communities surrounding the river to protect public health and make sure we’re addressing any environmental impacts.

Brownfields projects can be viewed as one of the ultimate recycling projects. Abandoned, unused, and/or underutilized properties are put to better uses; while environmental cleanup (if necessary) provides significant environmental benefits. These include reduced impacts to public health and water quality and air quality improvements. This also minimizes the use of undeveloped properties on the City’s perimeter and mitigates urban sprawl. The Northside Revitalization Project fits perfectly in the community’s focus on the environment by identifying whether environmental impact exists or not on eligible sites that enter into the project voluntarily.

No. A Superfund site is land that more severely contaminated and has high concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, therefore posing a real threat to human health and/or the environment. Superfund sites are listed on the National Priorities List; Brownfields are not.

At this time, the City does not foresee a list of properties for sale as one of the end goals of the Northside Revitalization Project. Additional information will become available on a site-by-site basis over the course of the 3-year project as assessments are completed and reuse plans become available. The City is exploring utilizing the CDFA Brownfields Online Project Marketplace as one potential centralized location to list properties as they come available. Available sites will most likely be listed and marketed by individual property owners. Interested developers should get in touch with Patrick Rowe, the City's Redevelopment Coordinator, at 970.416.2231.

Property taxes are based on the valuation of the property, which are appraised by the county every other year. A property tax increase would only occur if the value of the property increases. The benefits would include an increased sale price, community improvements (sidewalk, street, and other infrastructure improvements), an improved and revitalized neighborhood, increased business traffic, etc. The benefits from this project in part depend on participation by the community and success stories resulting from the project. The CO Brownfields Tax credit can be up to $525,000 depending on the cost of the cleanup and landowners can sell their tax credits for cash.

Although specific redevelopment opportunities do not necessarily need to be spelled out in detail before some work is performed under this project, a general plan for generating redevelopment opportunities is typically needed to obtain EPA approval to spend grant funds on assessment work. In addition, the City will seek to prioritize sites for funding under this project based on the site’s redevelopment potential and plans.

The answer to this question depends on the historical activities at the site, potential contaminant sources, and the types of contaminants. The project team has specialists who will consult with property owners to answer this question BEFORE testing is conducted. This way a property owner knows exactly what the ramifications are if indeed contaminations is found and helps them make an informed decision before authorizing testing on a site.

The Brownfield Assessment project is NOT a regulatory program. These projects are a mechanism/tool to promote economic development. EPA involvement is typically limited to review of work plans and general program oversight. The City does not have to submit ESA results to the EPA under this project.

The project does not impose any clean up requirements, but does provide valuable information and expertise to make informed decisions with regard to environmental matters. The only exception might be that a property owner may be obligated to report impacts originating from their property if it is found to be affecting neighboring/adjacent properties or public health. Cleanup or mitigation of contamination (e.g., a restrictive covenant) is dependent on many criteria including land use goals and whether the impact is confined to the property.