AUBURN HILLS, MI-A $100-million industrial development should put a lid on a 40-year-old trash site here. Clean up and development plans have been approved by the city council for Brown Road Group of Auburn Hills on a 102-acre landfill.

The private landfill, on the east side of Lapeer Road, just south of Dutton Road, hasn’toperated since 1979.

City Manager William Ross says the community will be happy when the site is clean.

“There are some places on the site where there’s exposed garbage. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality went in there and did some testing and cleanup, and removed a lot of barrels full of God knows what,” Ross tells

In place of the trash site, Brown Road plans to build a 1.2-million-sf technology, research and light industrial park, Ross says.

The company will put up the $6.9-million cleanup cost for the site, and will be repaid through tax-increment financing, which allows the increased tax revenue after the property is up and operating to be paid back to the developer.

“The tax increment will end once they are paid back,” Ross says. “It really puts the onus on the company, the only way they’ll be repaid is when the project is completed.”

It will take about six years to clean up the land and get the project going, Ross adds.

The site was the former Silver Bell Ski Lodge in the 1960s, with a hill built out of dirt, industrial and household trash and toxic waste. After the lodge closed in the 1960s, J. Fons Co. of Detroit bought the land Ross says.

Fons now owes the MDEQ almost $1 million for their clean up efforts, Ross says.

Brown Road will now submit a brownfield plan to the state and city, to identify issues and approximate costs, with an outline of what needs done in terms of environmental remediation on the site. The plan must be approved by Auburn Hills and the MDEQ, as well as the city Brownfield Authority.

Ross says the company has submitted a development agreement which spells out all brownfield and infrastructure issues.

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