GOPC Legislative Update September 2015

September 24th, 2015

The following grid is designed to provide you with insight into the likelihood of passage of the legislation we are monitoring. Please note that due to the fluid nature of the legislative process, the color coding of bills is subject to change at any time. GOPC will be regularly updating the legislative update the last Thursday of every month and when major developments arise. If you have any concerns about a particular bill, please let us know.

(Bills Available Online at

(Bills Available Online at


Explanation of Bill Impact on Economic Development within Ohio:


HB 134 is sponsored by Representative Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and Representative Mike Curtin (D-Marble Cliff). This bill would expedite the foreclosure and transfer of unoccupied, blighted parcels in cities with Housing Courts (Cleveland and Toledo) or Environmental Courts (Columbus/Franklin County).  Many communities continue to struggle to mitigate the impact of blighted properties in their neighborhoods. HB 134 provides a framework to shorten the foreclosure timeline to move properties from “limbo” to responsible end users.


HB 182 is sponsored by Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton). HB 182 will enable townships, cities, and villages to cooperatively address concerns associated with diminishing local revenues, economic development, growth, and annexation pressures. The bill is a local community approach to solving economic development issues by providing local governments the ability to enter into legal agreements that will increase revenues and create jobs.


HB 233 is sponsored by Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton). HB 233 authorizes municipal corporations to create downtown redevelopment districts and innovation districts for the purpose of promoting the rehabilitation of historic buildings and promoting economic development in commercial and mixed-use residential areas.


HB 303 is sponsored by Representatives Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) and Robert McColley (R-Napoleon). This Deed Over, Lender Leaseback, Agreed Financing (D.O.L.L.A.R. Deed) Programwould direct the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to administer a loss mitigation alternative for borrowers who are default on a mortgage encumbering a parcel of real property. HB 303 would allow homeowners to remain in their homes as a tenant instead of foreclosing on the property. This legislation will supply an additional tool to fight the abandoned property epidemic in Ohio and help prevent foreclosures and blight.


SB 40 is sponsored by Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City). The Ohio Neighborhood Infrastructure Assistance Program (NIAP) would provide tax credits to individuals and for-profit corporations that invest in place-based catalytic neighborhood projects with non-profit organizations across Ohio. The NIAP is about businesses and residents investing in their communities for catalytic change. SB 40 would help communities achieve place based projects, which are essential for thriving communities. Additionally, the bill would facilitate job growth within our most vulnerable communities.


SB 41 is sponsored by Senators Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) and Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus). Continuing law authorizes a nonrefundable tax credit with a four-year carryforward against the insurance and financial institution taxes for insurance companies and financial institutions that purchase and hold securities issued by low income community organizations to finance investments in qualified active low-income community businesses in Ohio, in accordance with the federal New Markets Tax Credit law.


SB 201 is sponsored by Senators Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) and Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights). SB 201 would add “an offense of violence” to the section of state law that authorities use in court to board up properties. The bill would give city prosecutors an additional tool to deal with nuisance problems faced in cities and in rural areas.



Please check our blog for regular updates on legislation as it progresses within the House and Senate chambers.



Cleveland & Lucas County Awarded Revitalization Assistance

September 18th, 2015

Congratulations to the city of Cleveland and Lucas County, Ohio for receiving the Technical Assistance Scholarship Program (TASP) from the Center for Community Progress! Via a competitive application process, Cleveland and Lucas County were two of the three communities to receive support in this round of technical assistance. Criteria for receiving this assistance were based on a number of factors including potential for innovation and demonstrated leadership to implement reform.

CCP will offer 200 hours of technical assistance to Cleveland and Lucas County in order to combat challenges such as property vacancy, abandonment, and tax delinquency currently facing these areas. Specifically, a team of national experts will lead staff trainings, provide legal and policy analysis, and publish tailored reports for improvement. The bulk of TASP’s leverage is made possible by JPMorgan Chase’s grant funding support. In this collaborative effort, JPMorgan Chase has shown a strong commitment to neighborhood revitalization through its support for the Center for Community Progress and local communities.

GOPC is Hiring

August 17th, 2015

The Greater Ohio Policy Center is seeking qualified candidates for the new position of Project Associate, Research and Communications.  GOPC will accept applications for this junior-level position until the position is filled.

For more details about the position and required qualifications, please visit our Job Opportunities page.

Landmark Legislation Extends Land Bank Authority, Marks Fifth Anniversary

July 7th, 2015

Greater Ohio Policy Center applauds the Ohio General Assembly for passage of game-changing legislation that extends land banking authority to the remaining 44 Ohio counties that previously could not establish land banks!  Five years ago, on July 7, 2010, Ohio’s 43 most populous counties received statutory authority to organize county land banks, with Cuyahoga leading the way the year before.  Ohio enjoys one of the most effective and widely-used pieces of land bank legislation in the country.  Happy anniversary to Ohio’s county land banks!

Glue Conference Urban Farms 046

Land from the Cuyahoga County Land Bank has been redeveloped for urban farming, among many other uses, in Cleveland.

In 2009, Cuyahoga County piloted the land bank structure and its success compelled legislators to extend land banking authority to counties with 60,000 or more residents in 2010.  Now, five years later, the General Assembly has amended the original legislation to allow all counties to create land banks and Governor Kasich signed the changes into law on June 30, 2015.  This amendment paves a path for more exurban and rural counties to access this tremendous tool for community and economic redevelopment.

Since 2010, Ohio’s county land banks have helped revitalize hundreds of buildings–including residential homes, skyscrapers, historic theaters, and vacant factories–and have demolished over 15,000 blighted structures throughout the state.  While not a panacea, land banks have managed the redevelopment of hundreds of acres, guided critical community reinvestment, and fostered economic regrowth in some of Ohio’s most distressed areas.  With this new legislation, existing and additional Ohio counties have the capacity to continue to accelerate community revitalization and statewide economic prosperity.

Greater Ohio Policy Center thanks state legislators for their leadership and commitment to helping Ohio’s communities manage abandoned and blighted properties, especially Rep. Scott Ryan (Newark),  Rep. Ryan Smith (Bidwell) chair of the House Finance Committee,  Sen. Tom Patton (Strongsville), and Sen. Dave Burke (Marysville) for their assistance.


Why Ohio’s business leaders want walkable downtowns

June 18th, 2015

Hundreds of American companies see unique competitive advantages to being located in a walkable downtown neighborhood. These locations are helping companies attract and retain talented workers, build their brand and corporate identity, support creative collaboration, be closer to partners, consolidate operations, and support triple-bottom line business outcomes.

Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown is a new report out today from Smart Growth America in partnership with Cushman & Wakefield and the George Washington University School of Business’ Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis. The report surveys nearly 500 companies that have moved to or expanded in walkable downtowns over the past five years, as well as interviews with 45 senior-level staff at those companies. The report sheds light on why these companies chose a walkable downtown and what they looked for when making their decision.

“These companies chose a walkable downtown location to help them better compete for talent and resources,” said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. “That tells us two things. First, that creating these kinds of places is a crucial economic development strategy for cities. And second, that companies which haven’t considered a walkable location may be at risk of falling behind.”

In addition to explaining the reasons why they moved downtown, company leaders also outlined what they looked for when choosing a new location. Many interviewees said they wanted their offices to be close to restaurants, shops, and entertainment options, and accessible by a variety of transportation options. Great office space was another important factor. A warm welcome on the part of the city, and a clean and safe environment were also influential factors when deciding where to move.

The report’s survey includes 53 companies from Ohio, including General Electric, BrownFlynn, Dakota Software, Nationwide and Deloitte. These are just some of the many companies that have moved to walkable downtowns in the state in recent years.

The full report, along with a full list of companies included in this survey and an interactive map showing where they moved, is available on Smart Growth America’s website at

Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring better development to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. Learn more at

Join the kickoff event: A look at companies moving to downtowns

June 16th, 2015

Over the past five years, hundreds of companies across the United States have moved to and invested in walkable downtowns. Why did companies choose these places? And what features did they look for when picking a new location? On June 18, national non-profit Smart Growth America will release new research that seeks to answer both these questions.

“Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown” surveys nearly 500 companies that have moved to or invested in walkable downtowns over the past five years, and includes interviews with more than 40 senior-level staff at those companies. There are 53 companies in Ohio’s urban cores included in the analysis, including General Electric, BrownFlynn, Dakota Software, Nationwide and Deloitte. Ohio metropolitan areas mentioned in the report include Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.

As part of the launch of this new research, Smart Growth America will hold a kickoff panel discussion in Washington, DC. The event will be livestreamed on the web, and you can watch it as it happens on Thursday, June 18, 2015 starting at 9:00 AM EDT. Register to join:


Joining the panel will be Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America; Paula Munger, Director of Business Line Research and Brian Dawson, Senior Managing Director and Market Leader for the Washington, DC region for Cushman & Wakefield; Michael Deemer, Executive Vice President, Business Development at the Downtown Cleveland Alliance; Mark Fisher, Vice President of Government Relations and Policy Development for the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce; Brad Lacy, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Conway, AR Chamber of Commerce; Jim Reilly, Vice President, Corporate Communications at Panasonic; and Amy Ronneberg, Chief Financial Officer at Be the Match.

The conversation in the report as well as on the panel will provide an overview of why these companies chose to move downtown, and what they looked for when considering a new location. The event will also provide ideas for cities about how they can create the kinds of places these companies seek.

Have questions for the panelists ahead of time? Tweet them to @SmartGrowthUSA or use the hashtag #CoreValues.

We hope you’ll join us for the live event on June 18.

Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Jeopardized

June 15th, 2015

As you may know, the Ohio Senate has unveiled a proposal to put a 2-year freeze on Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit projects beginning this July. The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit has been an important tool in revitalizing Ohio’s communities and strengthening our metro economies. We need to keep this going to create jobs and vibrant communities in which people want to live and work.

Why is the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits program good for Ohio?

1. Job Creation. Since the start of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program in 2007, more than 21,000 permanent jobs and more than 20,000 construction jobs have been created.

2. Economic Development. Every $1 of Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit will leverage at least $6.71 in investment. This proposed moratorium will kill major revitalization projects that are already in the pipeline and underway but not yet complete and it will put the entire program in jeopardy.

Please email your senator TODAY and tell him or her why this moratorium is a bad idea for your community and for Ohio and ask the committee to remove the proposal from the Senate Budget Bill. You can find your senator’s contact information here:


GOPC Releases Study on Ohio’s County Land Banks

May 15th, 2015

GOPC releases its latest report, “Taking Stock of Ohio County Land Banks: Current Practices and Promising Strategies.”


As of April 2015, Ohio had twenty-two county land banks in operation, which have revitalized hundreds of buildings, including residential homes, skyscrapers, historic theaters, and vacant factories, and have demolished over 15,000 blighted structures.

The Greater Ohio Policy Center’s latest report, “Taking Stock of Ohio County Land Banks: Current Practices and Promising Strategies,” utilizes interviews, conference presentations, media coverage, and land bank documents to assess the current state of land banking in Ohio.  Through its research, GOPC places land banks in the larger context of community revitalization and highlights promising county land bank programs that have the potential to greatly contribute to sustainable economic and community redevelopment throughout Ohio.

GOPC found that each of Ohio’s 22 county land banks is tailored to their local circumstances, although most have shaped their missions to include the broad goals of:

  1. stabilizing and strengthening markets—particularly residential neighborhoods—to prevent further decline, and
  2. clearing a path for private sector re-engagement by lowering barriers through incentives, support, and resources.

Through the study, GOPC identified changes in local practices and state level policies that would further increase land banks’ effectiveness.  Recommended changes in state level policies include:

  • give counties the option to forgo holding forfeited land sales in cases in which properties on this list are more of a liability than asset
  • require county auditors to assess the condition and quality of properties at the same time they are assessed for value
  • provide immunity to trespassing charges to county land bank officials who enter blighted properties

 While Ohio’s county land banks are still early in their development, and many have yet to implement all the tools available to them, “Taking Stock of Ohio’s County Land Banks” concludes that land banks are having impact in their communities and hold great promise for the future.

For more information and a copy of this report please visit “Taking Stock of Ohio County Land Banks: Current Practice and Promising Strategies.”


New GOPC Study Finds Strong Potential in Innovative Neighborhood Revitalization Pilot

January 14th, 2015

Greater Ohio Policy Center today releases an independent analysis of an innovative model for neighborhood recovery being piloted in a Cleveland neighborhood, finding promising results for this block-by-block holistic approach to revitalization that combines demolition and rehabilitation.


Slavic Village, a neighborhood located 6 miles south of downtown Cleveland, represents many of the strengths and challenges that characterize our historic urban communities. An intact neighborhood with a rich cultural history and strong community institutions, it also experienced the highest foreclosure rate in the country in 2008, and increasing rates of poverty and unemployment.

Based on 2014 analysis, the GOPC study, Documenting the Slavic Village Recovery Project: An Early Review of a Model for Neighborhood Revitalization in Cleveland, Ohio, released in conjunction with the Slavic Village Recovery, LLC, (SVR) finds preliminary results for the SVR Project, including:

  • Sales prices of the initial homes reached the targeted amount necessary to cover rehab costs and make a small $5,000-$10,000 profit; received an appraisal value above the listed $60,000 sale price; and sold quickly.
  • Neighborhood morale is high and neighbors are positive about the project.
  • Investment is taking place in the neighborhood apart from direct involvement with SVR, suggesting, perhaps, that SVR’s private sector partners created market confidence for new businesses and city and regional governments.

The Study also noted several keys to SVR’s early successes:

  • A holistic approach to community development and a clear comprehensive plan, strategically linking demolition and rehabilitation.
  • A focus on properties with value and the strong relationships needed to acquire properties from REO lists and banks
  • A philanthropic mission paired with a for-profit approach in executing the mission

Based on the data available to date, GOPC finds aspects of this Project potentially adaptable to other neighborhoods in other cities, although the context for replication is important. Several key factors, such as a pipeline of available properties, must be present for replication and those interested in duplicating the model may need to take the time to get these factors in place first in order to be successful.

Recognizing the opportunity to stabilize and revitalize this still vital area, four partners—two non-profit and two for-profit organizations—came together in 2013 to create Slavic Village Recovery, LLC. SVR aims to eradicate blight entirely from a targeted area in the neighborhood and thus reach a positive tipping point one block at a time.  SVR combines strategic demolition with housing rehabilitation, as well as resident support services, with the goal of achieving comprehensive redevelopment.

For more information on the progress and impact of Slavic Village Recovery, please click here to see our full assessment.

Central Ohio’s insight2050 Demonstrates the Significance of Regional Land Use

December 15th, 2014

The insight2050 panel at the Columbus Metropolitan Club on Dec. 10, 2015. Pictured from left: Yaromir Steiner, Kyle Katz, Steve Schoeny, and Keith Myers.

This past week, Greater Ohio Policy Center attended a Columbus Metropolitan Club event on insight2050 and the impact of land use decisions on our health, economy, environment, and mobility.

Here are some highlights from the panel, which were live tweeted from the event by GOPC:

  • Yaromir Steiner: what are the infrastructure, health, social, environmental & fiscal costs of the way we develop? #Insight2050 answers this question
  • Yaromir Steiner: land use is the critical determining factor for the success and quality of life of places.
  • Yaromir Steiner: economic development is about creating places where people want to live.
  • Steve Schoeny: we don’t have enough #transportation options for downtown. This will take investment to change.
  • Keith Myers: cities have been shaped by #transportation since the beginning. We need transportation options supportive of #development we want.
  • Keith Myers: the transformation of cities requires political leadership & commitment

Click here to see all of our live tweets from the event on Storify.

About insight2050:

insight2050 is a collaborative initiative among MORPCColumbus 2020ULI Columbus, and a stakeholder committee consisting of public and private partners. The initiative aims to help Central Ohio communities proactively plan for development and population growth over the next 30+ years, which is expected to be dramatically different from the past.

The first phase of insight2050 is a regional analysis that provides data for decision makers to understand the impact of future land use policies on specific factors influencing the region’s quality of life. The Scenario Results Report is now available online at

The regional growth scenarios that reflect different types of development patterns were informed by the latest data and projections and then compared utilizing a variety of metrics, such as land consumption, infrastructure costs, air pollution, household expenses for transportation and utilities, as well as public health and safety costs, to arrive at an assessment of their relative impacts.

The Importance of Regional Land Use

The scenarios developed through insight2050 lay out different ways the Central Ohio region can grow and the impacts those land use decisions have on the region’s future competitiveness, sustainability, and quality of life. The video above features Peter Calthorpe, whose firm developed insight2050, talking about the critical importance of land use.

Greater Ohio Policy Center is a firm believer in the immense significance of land use and will be addressing these issues of regional growth throughout the state at our upcoming Summit, Restoring Neighborhoods, Strengthening Economies. Click here to learn more about the Summit.