This policy brief offers lessons from—and insights into—New York City‘s main brownfields program, the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP). The VCP is being used to redevelop hundreds of sites in the city, yet there has been little public attention to this program or examination of how it is being used.
To better understand this program, and to provide data on its operations, we have analyzed over 1000 documents from OER. We also interviewed or had conversations with program participants, consultants and lawyers that work with the program, and OER officials to understand the operations of the program and its perceived strengths and weaknesses.
This brief presents findings, and offer policy recommendations based on our analysis. First, we provide a description of the program and the economic incentives available to its enrollees.
The second section provides a descriptive overview of how the program has been operating since its creation in 2010 through 2017, including the number of sites that have participated, their location, the uses that have followed the cleanup, use restrictions placed on these sites, and changes that have occurred in the neighborhoods around them.
In the final section are recommendations for how to strengthen the program and point out the features that have made it successful that could be adopted in other states and localities.