Population: 11,209,493
Counties: 88
Governor Bob Taft

Key Laws/Administrative Actions/Media

Click here for the amount of protected land in Ohio, and click here to review Ohio's federal transportation spending.
Source:  Pew Center on the States & Changing Direction:  Federal Transportation Spending in the 1990s. Surface Transportation Policy Project

Current Statewide Campaigns:
Building Responsibility, Equality, and Dignity (BREAD) is a faith-based organization that is focused on affordable housing, transportation, and jobs access in the Columbus area.  Recently, they were successful in getting the City of Columbus to commit $23 million over the next 20 years for a Columbus Affordable Housing Trust Fund.  BREAD is now focusing on county commissioners to do the same. They want to earmark the title transfer tax to a county trust fund. The tax is currently $1 per $1,000 in valuation and last year brought in $4.6 million.
Adoption of an ordinance that would require developers to include affordable and low-income housing in any development.
Development of a housing reinvestment plan for the center city with a mix of incentives to spur housing growth.

Contact Information:
1015 E. Main Street
Columbus, OH  43205
(614) 258-8748

On the heels of the Ohio Farmland Preservation Force,1 in the summer of 1998, regional focus groups were assembled by the state universities in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Akron, Dayton, Kent, Toledo and Youngstown which only confirmed the anger and concern over the impacts of sprawl on their communities.2 EcoCity Cleveland invited Stuart Meck of the American Planning Association to address the issue of smart growth in the Fall of 1998.  The working paper was published and distributed by the organization,3 leading one commentator to believe that a smart growth plan is under development in the state.4

The above material is excerpted with permission from "Smart Growth at Century's End: The State of the States" by Patricia E. Salkin, published in The Urban Lawyer, Sumr 1999 v 31 n 3, p. 601.  For a complete copy of the article, please contact The Urban Lawyer. 
(link: http://www.abanet.org/statelocal/urbanlawyer/home.html)

Key Laws:
For an overview of Ohio's planning and zoning statutes, see a summary provided by the American Planning Association .

Community Reinvestment Areas (O.R.C. 3735.65 - 3735.70) 1999
To promote the revitalization of areas where investment has been discouraged by offering real property tax abatement for any increased property valuation resulting from improvements to the property in the form of new construction or remodeling of existing structures by the property owner. The law is used for historic preservation, residential rehabilitation, industrial remodeling and expansion, and new commercial, residential and industrial construction. 
For additions information on Brownfields projects in the Great Lakes region, please go to http://www.glc.org/robin/

Senate Bill 223,  Agricultural Easements (1999)
The law will allow farmers to initiate the placement of an agricultural easement on their land to keep it in agricultural use. Easements can be acquired, held, or accepted by the state government, local governments, or non-profit organizations. The law allows for the purchase of development rights, enabling state and local
governments to pay farmers the difference between the agricultural and
development value of farmland in exchange for a deed restriction which would preclude non-agricultural development.
Contact: Mark Anthony or Deborah Abbott, ODA Communications, 614-752-9817

H.B. 463:  Tax credit for historic property (1998)

  • Allows corporations and individuals to receive nonrefundable tax credits for all or part of their costs of rehabilitating and preserving historic property.
  • Credits may be for up to $50,000 for each historic property.
  • Applies to rehabilitation and preservation costs incurred in taxable years ending in 2000 through 2005.

Administrative Actions
The Office of Farmland Preservation:
The Office was established within the Ohio Department of Agriculture as a recommendation of the Governor's Farmland Preservation Task Force.   The office coordinates with all existing state and local agencies and interested parties to cooperate on a strategy to preserve Ohio's farmland.  http://www.state.oh.us/agr

Local Farmland Preservation Strategies: 
Through a partnership with the Office of Farmland Preservation and the Ohio Department of Development's Office of Housing and Community Development Partnerships, 59 counties are developing local farmland preservation strategies.  $10,000 grants were made available in the summer of 1998 to assist counties in conducting an analysis of agriculture in their communities. The studies will be used to develop strategies on how to maintain agriculture and farmland as a viable part
of their communities. 

State Farmland Protection Strategy Executive Order:
An Executive Order was issued directing each state agency to take into account the potential impact of their programs on farmland. The objective is to minimize the adverse impact when possible of state programs on Ohio's productive farmland. 

Family Farm Loan Program:
The two year pilot program will allow state-guaranteed loans to be made at a reduced interest rate to farmers interested in purchasing land or for making certain capital improvements to an existing farm. The program is administered by the Ohio Rural Development Partnership within ODA. 

For more information on the previous farmland protection programs, go to http://www.state.oh.us/agr/

Newsletter and Web Site:
In order to maintain communications with the large number of people and organizations interested in farmland preservation, a quarterly newsletter was developed. The first newsletter was mailed to over 550 interested parties. The web site, www.ohio.gov/agr/fpo/index.htm, was developed to provide more up-to-date information on the Office and farmland preservation news. In addition, a list serve will be developed to allow interaction between individuals with questions regarding farmland preservation. 

Ohioís Worst Proposed Highways Leading To Destruction: Ohioís Worst Proposed Highways, highlights the worst new, high-capacity project proposals, projects costing $5 million or more, within the state of Ohio. Several factors were considered in this study, including impacts on the environment, inducement of sprawl, and cost per mile. Released by the Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Why Preserve Farmland in Ohio?: Answer Lies in Knowing All the Facts  By Fred L. Dailey
Fred L. Dailey, Ohio Secretary of Agriculture, gives an impassioned position on the need to preserve farmland while at the same time presenting a useful 'point counter point' to the foes of farmland preservation. http://www.state.oh.us/agr/OpEd9.97.HTML

According to a recent poll requested by the Ohio Association of Rail Passengers, significant majorities of Ohioans support the state expanding passenger rail service in addition to developing a high speed rail network.

Farmland Protection Manual 
The Office provided technical assistance in the revision of Common
Groundwork: A Practical Guide to Protecting Rural and Urban Land. This popular manual, a joint project by several private and public entities, will be an important tool for use by individuals and local governments interested in farmland protection and other land use issues. http://www.state.oh.us/agr.html

"Nine council hopefuls have ideas to contain urban sprawl," Columbus Dispatch. May 5, 2001.

"From the Heartland, A Bid to Protect Greenspace and Cities:  Ohio votes for smarter growth," Michigan Land Use Institute. April 23, 2001.

"Making Sense of the Census," Columbus Dispatch. April 2001.

"Conservationists Oppose Road Plan: Lobby Effort Fights Ohio 32 Project," The Cincinatti Enquirer. March 7, 2001. 

"Giving the Suburb a Sense of Town," Cleveland Plain Dealer. February 25, 2001.

"Back to the Future of 'New Urban' Homes". The Columbus Dispatch.  December 11, 2000.

EcoCity Cleveland
2841 Scarborough Rd.
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
Tel: 216-932-3007

Scenic Ohio
150 E. Broad Street, Suite 505
Columbus, OH 43215
Tel: 614-221-0652

American Farmland Trust
Midwest Field Program
200 North High Street, Rm #522
Columbus, OH 43215
Tel: 614-469-9877

The Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN)
A partnership that provides one place online for people to find information relating to the binational Great Lakes region of North America. Thanks to its strong network of state, provincial, federal and regional partner agencies and organizations, GLIN has become a necessary component of  informed decision making, and a trusted and reliable source of information for those who live, work or have an interest in the Great Lakes region.
Respected across the Great Lakes region and around the world, GLIN offers a wealth of data and information about the regionís environment and economy, tourism, education and more. 

The Northeast-Midwest Institute is a Washington-based, private, non-profit, and non-partisan research organization dedicated to economic vitality, environmental quality, and regional equity for Northeast and Midwest states. Formed in the mid-1970's, it fulfills
its mission by conducting research and analysis, developing and advancing innovative policy, providing evaluation of key federal programs, disseminating information, and highlighting sound economic and environmental technologies and practices. 


1 The Task Force was created by Governor Voinovich via executive order in 1996, and issued its report in 1997.
2 Neal Pierce, Fighting Sprawl: A New Civil Rights Movement?" County News, p.5, Nov. 23, 1998.
3 EcoCity Cleveland, Ohio Smart Growth Agenda, Fall 1998.
4 Neal Pierce, Fighting Sprawl: A New Civil Rights Movement?" County News, p.5, nov. 23, 1998.