Erosion control and Special Improvement Districts
EROSION CONTROL AND SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS
Fighting dangerous erosion created by rising water levels requires coordination among multiple stakeholders. McDonald Hopkins attorneys are leading the effort in Ohio to help both public and private clients of all sizes – from large government consortiums to owners’ associations to individual landowners – leverage special financing opportunities that can stabilize waterfront property in cost-effective ways.
Increasingly eroding shorelines are dramatically reducing land mass and altering ecosystems, causing flooding and landslides that create economic nightmares for those whose property lies along our treasured Great Lakes and their inland waterways. McDonald Hopkins works with individual owners and groups of property owners, municipal governments, and regional and county government entities to provide creative financing options and lasting relief from the threat of continued erosion, all in concert with key groups such as federal agencies, local and state officials, port authorities, watershed partners, conservation districts, lenders, insurers, homeowners, landowners, real estate developers and other industries to create and navigate multimillion-dollar waterfront protection projects.
Shoreline Special Improvement Districts
In Ohio, McDonald Hopkins is creating the very first shoreline special improvement districts – new statutory nonprofit entities that give willing property owners the ability to band together in order to achieve economies of scale in contracting for their erosion control projects; spreading repayment for these costs over many years by way of special property assessments; and finding institutional lenders eager to finance erosion control projects on terms favorable to property owners. These efforts require close coordination among local government, county government, regional public and nonprofit entities, and the public and project finance markets, making McDonald Hopkins – with its uniquely robust Public Law and Public Finance practices – an ideal partner, advocate and advisor.
We maximize our clients’ success by navigating them through the steps from start to finish – creating all necessary documents to form the districts, overseeing the legislative process and corporate formation, and assisting with project contracting, implementation and financing. We stand ready to build upon these successes along Lake Erie by creating shoreline special improvement districts from one side of the state to the other.
Rivers, Streams and Watersheds.
Through the efforts of our Government Relations team, the Ohio General Assembly has expanded the Erosion Control Special Improvement District authority to stream, rivers and watersheds. Property owners struggling with erosion issues will now have a financing tool that is off balance sheet and does not follow the home owner with the sale of property.
Representative Jamie Callender from Lake County sponsored the initial Amendment and Senator Matt Dolan from Cuyahoga County expanded the Amendment to allow for greater participation by existing Non-Profits to sponsor the Erosion Control SID. This new authority was included in the State Budget which was signed by Governor DeWine on June 30. The MH team is already working on the first project.
Public Finance for Erosion Control
Our public finance attorneys have consistently undertaken a unique and creative approach to projects involving public bodies, public-private partnerships and complex, multilayered development projects. Our clients’ shoreline and inland waterway erosion control projects benefit from the same industry experience and knowhow.
We have broad experience in all types of transactions involving public entities. Our attorneys have represented cities, counties, state government, port authorities, and other types of governmental entities and quasi-governmental bodies, including special improvement districts and other special districts. We have also served as counsel to underwriters, placement agents, borrowers, lenders, letter of credit providers and fiduciaries in all types of taxable and tax-exempt bonds, as well as state and local incentive programs.
Our experience spans all types of infrastructure financings including special assessment and other special revenue obligations as well as general obligations, tax increment financing, tax incentive financing, refinancing of public debt, and federal and state government incentives such as tax credits, tax abatements, and special pandemic and disaster relief opportunities.
Overall Erosion Control Capabilities and Guidance
McDonald Hopkins attorneys have the experience needed to help clients impacted by waterfront erosion issues manage multiple concerns including:
- Understanding current laws and the regulatory environment
- Answering key legal questions involving property assessment, shoreline erosion control, and “ditch laws” in watersheds across the state
- Drafting legislation to be passed through local councils
- Identifying funding sources and partners in the public and project finance industry
- Assisting in the formation and operation of nonprofit entities established to govern special improvement districts
- Communicating and negotiating with key government and private stakeholder groups
- Managing high-pressure timetables inherent in crises created by the unpredictability of weather and changing climates