Ludington, Scottville, PM Twp. to take action on establishing brownfield authorities.

April 25, 2022

Ludington, Scottville, PM Twp. to take action on establishing brownfield authorities.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

The Ludington City Council and the Scottville City Commission are both expected to take action tonight, at their regular meetings, on resolutions proposing the formation of a brownfield redevelopment authority. If approved, each of the municipalities will create its own authority. Pere Marquette Charter Township’s board of trustees is also expected to take action on an identical resolution when it meets next month. 

If the resolutions pass, the three municipalities will each create a brownfield redevelopment authority board. The three boards will each have identical representatives on them, two appointed by each municipality and then three appointed as at-large members for a total of nine people serving on the three boards (however, they will be the same nine people serving on each board). The boards will then meet at the same time. 

“Ideally, we would the state to allow us to form one authority,” said Ludington City Manager Mitch Foster. “But, for the time, each municipality has to technically have its own board, but the three boards will mirror themselves.” 

A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. 

Michigan Public Act 381 of 1996, the Michigan Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act, authorizes municipalities throughout the state of Michigan to create a brownfield redevelopment authority for various reasons, including (but not limited to) to promote the revitalization, redevelopment, and reuse of certain property, including tax reverted, blighted, or functionally obsolete property, to prescribe the powers and duties of brownfield redevelopment authorities, to authorize certain funds and to authorize and permit the use of certain tax increment financing.  

Currently, brownfield redevelopment in Mason County is overseen through an authority established by the Mason County Board of Commissioners. The county has five additional local capture rules for brownfield redevelopment compared to the stipulations stated in state statute.

Those local capture rules include: Interest is eligible only on projects sponsored by a non-profit entity; costs that would be necessary on a greenfield site are not eligible (examples are water, sewer, storm water infrastructure); revolving loan capture is not eligible; local capture is restricted to 50% if the developer does not seek capture of the set 6 mills and the local school 18 mills; contingency is limited to 15%. 

Initially, Ludington’s city government, through City Manager Mitch Foster, expressed concerns that those additional stipulations are hindering growth potentials in Ludington. The concerns were extended to the City of Scottville and Pere Marquette Charter Township. The county board of commissioners agreed to “roll back” three of the five stipulations. The three “rolled back” stipulations focused on housing issues: the revolving loan capture, greenfield site, and 15% contingency. 

However, the rollbacks fell short of the redevelopment goals of Ludington, Scottville and Pere Marquette Township. During their last regular meetings, the governing boards of each municipality passed resolutions stating their intent to each form an authority. 

“While Scottville has a housing shortage, we also have commercial and mixed-use needs. Downtown Scottville could be the poster child for brownfield redevelopments. In my opinion, we don’t need any additional restrictions put on Scottville and future development.” 

The topic of brownfield redevelopment is also on the Amber Township Board of Trustees agenda to be discussed at its meeting Tuesday. 

Ludington City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Ludington Municipal Building, 400 S. Harrison St. in Ludington. Scottville City Commission will begin with a public hearing at 6 p.m. addressing the brownfield authority and then will hold its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 105 N. Main St. in Scottville. 

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