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Environmental and Economic Effects of the Connecticut Transfer Act

Posted on by Rachel Gretencord

Last fall, a group of commercial and residential brokers, land use attorneys, licensed environmental professionals, economic developers, and others, met to discuss the elements of the Property Transfer Act. The Transfer Act was first adopted in 1985 and was subsequently amended over the years to encourage the clean-up of properties with environmental challenges. In current practice, the statute has negatively impacted economic growth without realizing many of the anticipated environmental outcomes.

AdvanceCT was commissioned to conduct research on how the Transfer Act was affecting the state’s economy. Our researchers illustrated the variety of environmental and economic effects of the Transfer Act, such as:

  • properties with no environmental contamination may be subject to the Transfer Act because of a temporary use or one-time shipment of waste (such as paint or ink), requiring expensive and time-consuming investigations to prove they are clean
  • condominium properties with no environmental contamination may be subject to the Transfer Act because of a release on another portion of the condominium
  • properties that would not be considered in need of remediation under current environmental regulations may become establishments due to the Transfer Act, setting up an unfair double-standard
  • rather than promoting environmental cleanup, in many instances the Transfer Act has increased the time and expense of cleaning up polluted properties, or made such properties unmarketable and impeded their cleanup and redevelopment.

In addition to these unintended consequences, many economic investments across the state have been lost due to the Transfer Act. AdvanceCT also prepared an illustration of the economic impact on the state of such lost investments, as well as an assessment of the number of parcels across the state that are currently filed with the Transfer Act to show how widespread the issue is.

AdvanceCT’s research was used as part of a large effort conducted by many members of the “Transfer Act Committee” to suggest legislative language changes and garner awareness and support in the legislature and with other stakeholders. As a result, changes were made to the statute during this last legislative session which should ease the regulatory burden and reduce the number of uncontaminated properties that are covered by the Act.

In addition to its legislative success, the Transfer Act Committee will be recognized by the New Haven Chamber of Commerce during its 2019 Business Leadership Awards Luncheon. We congratulate the Transfer Act Committee for its successful collaboration! It’s a great feeling to be a part of research that directly affects the economy and has the potential for economic growth.