Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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The 74-acre Washington County parcel, near the Ohio River, is subject to a 1980 oil and gas lease between the then-owners and Collins-McGregor, to permit “mining and operating for oil and gas and laying pipe lines, and building tanks, powers, stations, and structures thereon, to produce, save and take care of said products.” Collins-McGregor committed to make royalty payments based on the gas produced and to deliver a portion of the oil produced from the land to the lessors. The lease “shall remain in force for a term of One (1) years from [the effective] date, and as long thereafter as oil or gas, or either of them, is produced from said land by the lessee.” A well was drilled in 1981 and has produced oil and gas in paying quantities since then from the “Gordon Sand” formation. The Landowners contend that production of oil and gas has occurred near their property from below that formation but Collins-McGregor has not explored deep formations for lack of equipment or financial resources. They sought a judgment that the portion of the lease covering depths below the Gordon Sand has terminated because it has expired or been abandoned and that Collins-McGregor has breached implied covenants, including implied covenants of reasonable development and to explore further. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed dismissal. Ohio law does not recognize an implied covenant to explore further separate from the implied covenant of reasonable development. View "Alford v. Collins-McGregor Operating Co." on Justia Law

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Notestine, a nonprofit corporation with 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) status as a charitable institution, owns the 11-unit residential rental property developed as low-income housing under 12 U.S.C. 1701q. Construction costs were $1.5 million. The federal capital advance was $1.3 million. The “project rental assistance” contract requires tenants to be at least 62 years old and have income under 50 percent of the area median. Rent is tied to tenant income at $407 per month, including utilities, with any overage payable to HUD. Tenants pay up to 30 percent of their adjusted gross income on rent, with HUD subsidizing any difference. Capital Advance Program Use and Regulatory Agreements were recorded on title, in effect at least 40 years from 2013, unless released by HUD. An auditor valued the property at $811,120 for 2013, a Logan County reappraisal year. Notestine sought a reduction, arguing that the building's value was $165,000, based on actual rent and expenses. The Board of Tax Appeals adopted the opinion of Notestine’s appraiser, who valued the property at $75,000. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed. Although market rents and expenses constitute a “rule” when valuing low-income government housing generally, that rule is presumptive, not conclusive. In this case, the rents are minimal, and federal subsidization is strictly controlled by HUD-imposed restrictions on the accumulation of surpluses. There is no evidence that any adjustment from contract rent to market rent would eliminate the “affirmative value” of government subsidies. View "Notestine Manor, Inc. v. Logan County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted in part a writ of prohibition requested by Relators - Rocky Ridge Development, LLC and Stanley Industries, Inc. - against common laws court judge Bruce Winters after Judge Winters issued a temporary restraining order against Relators enjoining them from operating in Benton Township until “they are in compliance with the Benton Township Zoning Resolution and the laws of the State of Ohio.” Benton Township had filed a compliant for declaratory and injunctive relief against Relators, alleging that the companies were violating the terms of a Land Application Management Plan (LAMP), were in violation of local zoning ordinances and state law, and were creating a public nuisance. The Supreme Court (1) granted a limited writ of prohibition to prevent the judge from deciding any issues that properly belong to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, such as the wisdom or propriety of issuing the LAMP or Rocky Ridge’s compliance with the LAMP; but (2) denied the writ as to all claims involving alleged violations of Benton Township’s local ordinances or allegations that Rocky Ridge’s operations were creating a public nuisance. View "State ex rel. Rocky Ridge, LLC v. Winters" on Justia Law

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In 2016, the Powell City Council approved an ordinance rezoning certain property from planned commercial and residence districts to downtown residence district. Thereafter, Brian Ebersole sought a writ of mandamus to compel Powell City Council to place the new ordinance on the May 2017 ballot. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Ebersole was not entitled to a writ of mandamus because, under the city charter, the City had no clear legal duty to place the matter on the ballot. Therefore, Ebersole’s proper course of action was to challenge the validity of the ordinance by way of a suit for declaratory judgment, a form of relief that this Court had no original jurisdiction to grant. View "State ex rel. Ebersole v. City Council of Powell" on Justia Law

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Cuyahoga County filed an exemption to a tract of real property it acquired in 2004. The property consisted of a marina/restaurant that operated in conjunction with an adjacent public park. The tax commissioner granted the application as to the the public park portion but denied the application as to the remainder constituting the marina and restaurant. In doing so, the Commissioner invoked his authority to order a split between the taxable and exempt portions. The County appealed, arguing that the Commissioner erred by finding that the property was not used exclusively for a public purpose. The Board of Tax Appeals affirmed primarily on the ground that the marina and restaurant were operated “with a view to profit.” The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that when the marina and restaurant are considered separately from the park, the denial of the exemption was neither unreasonable nor unlawful. View "Cuyahoga County v. Testa" on Justia Law