A tax-capture plan passed unanimously last week by the Holland Township, Mich., Board of Trustees could enable self-storage developer Jon Bryant to open Lake Macatawa Storage on a contaminated property that once belonged to chemical company BASF Corp. The 30-acre property has been split into two parcels, with the self-storage facility planned for the western portion and ME Yacht Restoration slated for the eastern side, according to the source.
The board approved a 15-year brownfield redevelopment plan that will allow the developers to be reimbursed for additional investment into environmental cleanup. Reimbursement would come from the increase in property taxes that are expected to result from the projects, the source reported.
The developers will likely invest about $250,000 in demolishing existing structures and an extensive concrete pad, as well as excavating contaminated soil, attorney John Byl, a partner with Warner Norcross & Judd, told the source. The law firm is working with the developers. “The risk of not getting reimbursed is on the developer,” Byl said. “All of the taxing units get what they receive today.”
The property was identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a superfund site, and BASF is still liable for the long-term cleanup, although 30 to 40 wells adjacent to Lake Macatawa will remain, the source reported. Groundwater is contaminated with chlorobenzenes throughout a large portion of the site. The chemical is primarily used as a solvent or degreasing agent, and long-term exposure can affect a person’s central nervous system, according to the EPA.
“It’s in an unusual EPA program that’s hard to work with,” Byl told the source. “That’s one of the reasons you haven’t seen development here and why it’s hard to do too much on the lakefront development.”
Bryant has received rezoning approvals from the township but must still have a site plan approved, according to the source. “It’s just a big learning process and an interesting project,” Bryant told the board during the meeting. No timeline for the project was reported.