Revitalizing blighted properties: Oceana County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority established.

August 3, 2021

This OCP file photo shows the scene of blighted property in Walkerville where a historical building collapsed three years ago.

Revitalizing blighted properties: Oceana County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority established.

OCEANA COUNTY — After tabling a resolution for further review in June, the Oceana County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a “Resolution to Establish a Countywide Brownfield Redevelopment Authority” last month. 

“This resolution makes this economic development tool, which has proven to be effective, available to member communities who aim to redevelop eligible properties that are environmentally‐distressed, contaminated, functionally obsolete or blighted,” states a press release from Oceana County Administrator Robert Sobie.

“I see one of the roles of local government as being a friend of visioning for those who would like to invest in our community for the benefit of our community.  I see this tool contributing to an economic comeback for our county,” said Commissioner Phil Morse, who proposed the resolution. 

Under the Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act (1996 Public Act 381, as amended), Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities are authorized to approve redevelopment plans that allow the use of tax‐increment financing to reimburse developers for costs they incur in making a site ‘green’ for new use.  Tax‐increment financing allows for a property’s tax payment to stay at its base value, despite improvements made, for a limited time while the developer is reimbursed for costs of things such as environmental clean‐up and demolition that kept the site from being a desirable location for rehabilitation. 

“Having a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority’s tax‐increment financing now available in our communities puts Oceana County on an even playing field with surrounding areas who have been using this tool to attract new business and housing developments,” said Jodi Nichols, who serves as business development coordinator for the Oceana County Economic Alliance through its partnership with The Right Place. 

The Oceana County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will only operate in communities that explicitly choose to be members of the authority through the adoption of a local resolution, states the press release. To date, resolutions have been made in nine municipalities and several others are still considering participation. Any Brownfield plan must first be approved by the participating local municipality prior to being reviewed by the Oceana County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. 

Oceana County is now required to establish a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Board. Those interested in serving as a board member, can visit to complete the required interest form.  Once the board is established, it will write bylaws for operation to be approved by the Oceana County Board of Commissioners and then file them with the state. At that point, Brownfield projects can be approved for tax‐increment financing.  Interested developers should contact their local government unit or for Brownfield incentive information. 

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