The AGO has also prepared answers to frequently asked questions from prospective applicants. Download and view a copy of these questions:
Talk to us early.
We invite you to call us to discuss your project and the process for acquiring a Brownfields Covenant. We are happy to hold a pre-application meeting to provide preliminary guidance on the applicability of a Brownfields Covenant to a proposed project. We will invite representatives of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) or other interested state agencies if doing so would be helpful to you. We encourage applicants to submit a draft version of the Brownfields Covenant application to help us determine ahead of time what the likely issues of negotiation are going to be and whether any additional information would be helpful.
Tell us your deal and project deadlines.
We make every effort, within the limits of our authority, to see that the negotiation of a Brownfields Covenant does not hold up your project. We understand that a Brownfields Covenant may be necessary for other pieces of the project to go forward. It is helpful for us to know as far ahead of time as possible the end of a due diligence period, the closing date for the purchase or project financing, or any other deadline you are trying to meet. If you provide a specific deadline, the Attorney General's Office policy is to provide a final resolution by that deadline, unless the timeframe is clearly unreasonable or delays are caused by circumstances beyond the Attorney General's control.
Discuss your cleanup plan with MassDEP.
Because the Attorney General's Office works closely with MassDEP in reviewing applications, the earlier that MassDEP understands the challenges at your site, the smoother our review can be after your application is filed. MassDEP has a brownfields contact in each of its regional offices to provide technical assistance and information on the cleanup process. The MassDEP website provides information about who to contact and how else they can help.
Discuss your cleanup plan with any abutting properties known to be affected by the contamination.
Owners of abutting properties affected by contamination from the project site have the opportunity to comment on your application. Explaining your cleanup plan to abutters ahead of time may smooth the comment period process by resolving abutters' questions or concerns about how their property will be affected.
Discuss your redevelopment project with the City or Town.
Even if permitting for your project is years away, discuss your project to the degree possible with local planning, development and permitting staff in the city or town in which the property is located. Contact appropriate state permitting authorities, too, if appropriate. The Attorney General's Office will seek input from municipal officials and other appropriate authorities to make its required determination of whether your proposed project will contribute to the economic or physical revitalization of the community. The earlier these authorities have had an opportunity to consider how your proposal fits, even conceptually, into relevant standards, the easier our review will be.
Prepare the service list for public notices of your application ahead of time.
The regulations provide a short period after you submit the application to begin the process of providing public notice of your application. Prepare the service list for those who need to receive notice in-hand or by certified mail and ask the Attorney General's Office any notice-related questions ahead of time, to avoid trouble getting all notices served by the deadline. It may take longer than expected to find correct contact information, especially for former owners of the site and absentee owners of abutting property.