Another brownfield remediation
SUFFOLK COUNTY—Executive Steve Bellone and the Suffolk County Landbank Corporation announced last week the remediation of the former Hubbard Power and Light facility in North Bay Shore. The environmental remediation of the brownfield property will spur revitalization, create industrial jobs and return the property to the county tax roll.
“The sale of this property means huge savings for our Suffolk County taxpayers,” said Bellone. “This property will no longer be an eyesore for the community, but rather a new facility that will create quality jobs for our residents.”
The property, which was a small wood-burning power plant, was shut down in 1995 by a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation restraining order, which ultimately led to its abandonment and bankruptcy. The Town of Islip assigned a million-dollar cleanup cost to a property lien, which Suffolk County was obliged to assume pursuant to the Suffolk County Tax Act — a state law requiring the county to pay owed property taxes if a property owner fails to pay taxes to a local jurisdiction. While the town continued to assess the property, Suffolk County was required to financially cover the close to $7,000,000 dollars in taxes over two decades.
“This is a great day for the 16th Legislative District and for Suffolk County as a whole, because another abandoned property is being rehabilitated so it can be put back to productive use,” said the county’s presiding officer, DuWayne Gregory. “That means more commerce, more jobs and more vibrancy. I am grateful for the new owner for taking on this project. I was proud to be a sponsor of the legislation that created the Suffolk County Landbank, and I thank our partners in all levels of government who have been a part of making it a fruitful initiative.”
Suffolk County minority leader Tom Cilmi said: “This is exactly why I ran for office…to be a part of big solutions. This closes a dark chapter in the history of this property in Bay Shore, and opens a new chapter filled with hope. Many years and millions of dollars of burden on the taxpayers of Suffolk are giving way to a future of economic development and job creation. As a member of the Landbank Board, I am incredibly proud of all the staff that helped make this happen, and I am incredibly thankful for entrepreneurs like Vince Trapani, who find a way every day.”
Vincent Trapani, the former owner of the Bay Shore automotive-parts manufacturing business USA Industries, bought the tax liens from the Suffolk County Landbank and took the title of the property in March. The property is currently undergoing environmental remediation before the construction of a new facility. The cleanup cost is projected to cost $100,000 and the demolition is expected to cost $210,000.
The Suffolk County Landbank Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation, partners with Suffolk County to address tax-delinquent brownfield properties located throughout the county. Brownfield properties range from blighted lots with illegal dumping to abandoned corner gas stations. The Suffolk County Landback also works in collaboration with federal and state agencies to address the re-use of tax delinquent superfund sites after cleanup projects have occurred.
Over the course of the past 25 years, Suffolk County has been the backstop for a number of these commercial properties, many abandoned as brownfields, which further precludes restoration. When the Suffolk County Landbank formed in 2013, the cumulative cost to the county was $35,000,000. Since its formation, the Suffolk County Landbank has collected $5.5,000,000 in back taxes from 70 properties, generated $1.1 million from tax lien sales and generated $383,000 in annual taxes. This is the fourth property the Suffolk County Landbank has closed on. For more information you can visit www.suffolkcountylandbank.org.
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