The city of Portsmouth is considering an amendment to increase its contract with Brownfield Restoration Group to $113,410.50 to conduct the Voluntary Action Plan (VAP) Phase II environmental on the property the city is considering for the building of a new water plant directly behind the plant’s current location.
“This is an amendment to the contract you (City Council) approved last year to Brownfield Restoration Group, LLC,” Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen said. “That contract was for $98,579.50 to do an environmental testing and a Phase II environmental Voluntary Action Plan on a piece of property that we are looking to acquire at the cost of the back taxes.”
Allen said two Phase IIs have been done on the property – one in 2008 and one is 2011.
“However these were not performed in accordance with the VAP rules, and cannot be used to determine if the site meets the VAP standards,” Allen said.
Because of the fact that the studies were insufficient, Allen is calling on City Council to add an amendment to the current contract to provide an additional $14,831, increasing the contract to $113,410.50.
“We’ll have the testing done to those standards to make sure that we’re protected against any litigation in the future,” Allen said.
Sixth Ward Councilman Tom Lowe asked why the city is paying for a study on land it does not yet own.
“We’re paying these people $98,579 and we don’t even own the property yet. Is that what you’re telling me?” Lowe asked.
“If we acquire the property and then do it, we don’t get any protection from litigation,” Allen said. “It’s not like anyone else is going to get that property. It’s hung up in bankruptcy court and they already know the city is interested in the land.”
Allen said, as soon as the VAP is done, the city will go to bankruptcy court and obtain the land.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.