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Proposed Ohio Opportunity Zone Tax Credit

Ohio General Assembly House Bill 727 (“HB 727”), introduced on August 29th, seeks to capitalize on the newly created “Opportunity Zone” program by adding a state tax incentive component.

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Ohio Opportunity Zone Designations Within the City of Cincinnati

On December 31, 2017, new Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) Sections 1400Z-1 and 1400Z-2, passed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, became effective. These two Code sections establish the framework for the new Opportunity Zone (“O-Zone”) incentives. Generally, a gain realized from the sale or exchange of property with an unrelated person can be deferred if invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (an “O-Fund”) within 180 days of the sale or exchange.

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Spring Legislative Update/Economic Development

The One Hundred and Thirty Second General Assembly of the Ohio Legislature has seen a number of bills introduced that innovate state and local governments’ engagement in economic development activity. In particular, three bills have been introduced that, if eventually passed, would have fairly significant impact on the Ohio economic development landscape. Those are House Bill 469, House Bill 668, and House Bill 525.

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SB 235 - New Pre-Development Tax Abatement

Introduction:
On December 8, 2016, the Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 235 ("SB 235") which, among other things, adds Section 5709.52 to the Ohio Revised Code (“ORC”). Effective March 28, 2017, this section authorizes local governments to approve property tax exemptions for the increase in property value for property that is either “newly developable property” or “redevelopment property.”  These terms essentially mean that as to a parcel of property, no commercial, industrial or agricultural operations are currently taking place on the property and that construction or reconstruction of a commercial or industrial building(s) is planned, but a certificate of occupancy has not yet been issued.

During this pre-development phase, the property tax exemption provided by SB 235 effectively freezes the taxable value in place during the exemption term until a certificate of occupancy is issued or upon the occurrence of other circumstances, as discussed below.

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HB 463 - Changes to Remodeling CRA

On December 8, 2016 the Ohio Senate passed House Bill (“HB”) 463. HB 463 in part amends Ohio Revised Code (“ORC”) Chapter 3735, which governs Community Reinvestment Area tax exemptions (a “CRA”).

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Ohio Foreclosure Reform Brings Standardization and Modernization to County Foreclosure Processes and Paves the Way for the Expedited Foreclosure of Vacant and Abandoned Residential Properties

On September 28, 2016, Ohio foreclosure reform takes effect following the enactment of House Bill 390 (HB 390).  The changes created by HB 390 will impact the foreclosure of both residential and commercial properties.  While Ohio foreclosure reform will undoubtedly cause county courts across the state to make revisions to their local foreclosure procedures and rules, the new law provides long overdue uniformity for foreclosing judgment creditors. Furthermore, the modernization of Ohio’s sheriff foreclosure sales, including the implementation of online sales, finally ushers the Ohio foreclosure process into the 21st century.  Additionally, the new law expedites the foreclosure of vacant and abandoned residential properties—a positive step in favor of community revitalization efforts to fight against community blight and prevent the existence of “zombie homes.”

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Legal Alert: TSCA Reform Bill Becomes Law

Introduction
On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed into law reforms to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), referred to as the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act” (Act).  The Act is the first substantive reform to TSCA in about 40 years and  revises the process and requirements for evaluating regulatory control of a chemical and enhances public safety by increasing EPA scrutiny on existing and new chemicals being used in commerce.  The Act was approved by large majorities in the House and Senate and had the support of the chemical industry, business interests, environmental and health groups, etc.  The Act will affect what chemicals are used in commerce based on the potential for unreasonable risks to human health or the environment. 

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CONTACT: Brian M. Babb

Legal Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Rules Wetland Determinations are Appealable

On May 31, 2016, in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. et al., the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that approved wetland jurisdictional determinations (JDs) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are appealable final actions.  This decision enables landowners to appeal JDs that they believe are unlawful soon after the determinations are made.  The Court’s decision (see link below) eliminates the Corps prior requirement that a JD could only be challenged after the landowner applies for and is denied a permit or after the landowner proceeds with development without a permit and faces an enforcement action. The direct appeal of a JD will save landowners wishing to challenge a JD considerable time, effort, and expense. 

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CONTACT: Brian M. Babb

Revised Ohio Receivership Statute Brings Clarity for Lenders and Prospective Foreclosure Sale Purchasers

On March 23, 2015, Ohio’s recently enacted amendments to the receivership statute will go into effect, creating certainty and consistency for various existing receivership practices previously developed and used by Ohio courts.  The revised receivership law amends, among other things, certain sections of Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2735 – Receiverships, including sections 2735.01 (Appointment of Receiver), 2735.02 (Qualifications of Receiver) and 2735.04 (Powers of Receiver).

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Legal Alert: Proposed Federal Rule on Waters of the United States

The terms “waters of the United States” and “navigable waters” play a critical role in defining the scope of federal programs that protect water resources nationwide.  These federal water protection programs have a direct and substantial impact on real estate development, construction activities, mining, farming and other commercial activities.

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CONTACT: Brian M. Babb

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