MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The Township officially has its own Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. This Authority will handle brownfield requests to rebuild contaminated areas in the Township.
With Brownfield requests, developers pay the cost upfront for the project and are reimbursed through tax increment finance.
"Now we have this group in Meridian Township and we have this tool available to us so when developers find properties that are contaminated they can use this to get paid back. It's two fold. It gets properties cleaned up and gives an incentive to developers to prioritize these kind of properties that they probably would otherwise stay away from," said Peter Menser, Senior Planner, Meridian Township.
With this authority, brownfield requests are no longer under county control.
"It allows us to choose which properties we want cleaned up. It shortens the process for developers, for us, it allows all the money that they pay for application fee and administrative fee to stay here in the Township," Menser said.
There are seven members on the authority, all appointed by the Township Board.
It consists of a representative from the Environmental Commission, Ned Jackson, the Economic Development Corporation, Christopher Buck, one from the Planning Commission, John Scott-Craig, the Township Manager, Frank Walsh, and 3 representatives with different backgrounds, one with a background in finance, Joyce Van Coevering, one with a background in law, Jeff Toyer, and one in engineering, John Mituzak.
"The supervisor brought them to the Township Board, they got approved and we've met once so far," Menser said.
In the beginning stages, they will meet regularly.
"We're going to elect officers and we're going to learn a little more about what brownfield requests are. It's a bit of a learning curve. Its new to the community so we are going to meet a couple times during the start up process but after that its really going to be on a project basis," he continued.
And officials are excited about the local control.
"Its an exciting initiative in the township. Its something we never had before. It gives us something to say 'hey we need to have this cleaned up' and gives the developer an incentive to do so," Menser said.