Zoning in Ohio – Overview

History
Zoning codes grew out of the limitations inherent in using the legal theory of nuisance as the sole tool for regulation of growth in American cities at the turn of the 19th century.  In that era, if a neighbor, for instance, was affected by the operation of a smelly slaughterhouse, he or she had to file a nuisance complaint in court and let a judge decide whether the noxious activity was appropriate for the neighborhood.  No planning was involved.  Issues relating to building uses, heights and location were handled by courts on an ad hoc basis.
Toward the end of the 19th century, new construction techniques (the first passenger elevators were installed in New York in the 1870’s) allowed construction of …

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Frequently Asked Divorce Questions

How long does divorce take in Ohio?
The length of a divorce proceeding depends on the type of divorce being pursued, and how agreeable the spouses are.  The fastest route is a dissolution of marriage.  Dissolutions require fully cooperative spouses, and can be finalized about 30 days after court filing.  The longest route is likely a contested divorce, which might not be resolved for years.
These time-frames are from filing date to court decree.  If a spouse wishes to modify the divorce decree (or appeal it), the spouses will find themselves in court again.  In this way, some divorces have several rounds, especially those involving child custody or property division disputes.
What type of divorce is right for me?
The divorce procedure you select …

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Pipeline Installation and Current Use Taxation in New Hampshire

Would the installation of a pipeline pull the affected land out of the favorable “current use” valuation regime and cause it to be taxed more heavily?
Background
Northeast Energy Direct (NED) has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a license to install a natural gas pipeline across southern New Hampshire.  The question has arisen as to the tax effect on an affected landowner under RSA 79-A, Current Use Taxation.  The issue: Would the installation of a pipeline pull the affected land out of the favorable “current use” valuation regime and cause it to be taxed more heavily?
What is the Current Use Tax rule?
New Hampshire has declared in RSA 79-A that it is the public purpose of the state to encourage …

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Unresolved Issues with Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Statute

Background
Over the past few years, Ohio’s courts, at all levels, have dealt with a number of issues pertaining to O.R.C. 5301.56, often referred to as Ohio’s dormant mineral statute. At this point in time, several such issues are about to be ruled upon by Ohio’s Supreme Court. One issue of importance, however, has received little mention in court rulings to date. That issue concerns the notice requirements by a landowner seeking to recapture dormant minerals. More particularly, what are those requirements?
Notice Requirements
(E) Before a mineral interest becomes vested under division (B) of this section in the owner of the surface of the lands subject to the interest, the owner of the surface of the lands subject to the interest shall …

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Obtaining Unexpected Profits from Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act

Overview
Ohio’s dormant minerals act (DMA) is designed to rejuvenate abandoned oil and gas reservations by granting them to the surface owner (a more detailed explanation of the DMA can be found here).
A basic DMA process with one oil and gas holder:
In a very basic scenario, the Surface Owner notifies the oil and gas Holder that their rights will be declared abandoned in 60 days.  In order to retain their interests, the Holder must record a claim form prior to the 60th day.  A timely filed claim form shuts down the whole process: the Surface Owner cannot re-capture the Holder’s interests.
A complex DMA process with several oil and gas holders:
In a more typical scenario, there are several oil and gas Holders, …

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Oil and Gas Lease Ownership Challenges

Below are the materials the National Business Institute asked me to prepare for a seminar on Oil and Gas law.
LEASE / OWNERSHIP CHALLENGES, DISPUTES AND NEGOTIATIONS
A.  Recent case law and litigation trends
Though Ohio was one of the earliest states to have commercial production of oil and gas, surprisingly, it has not developed much of a body of case law in the field of oil and gas.  Frequently, the laws of other states must be reviewed to find cases on point – Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana seem to have the most published opinions concerning oil and gas.
The advent of the Utica shale has changed things.  Numerous oil and gas cases have been filed in Ohio over the last several years and …

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Non-Consenting Landowners and Conflicts Between Leases

This article discusses situations arising when several people own the same piece of land, and only some of them sign an oil and gas lease.  Resolving this issue requires a discussion of basic property ownership principles.
Types of Land Ownership
Ownership in land takes many forms.  Some individuals are the sole owner of their land.  Another piece of land could be owned by several people, such as when brothers and sisters inherit land from a parent.  This joint ownership of a piece of property is usually called a tenancy in common, with the owners themselves known as tenants in common , or co-tenants.
Settling Disputes Between Co-Tenants
Owning property with others may very well result in disputes about how the property should be …

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Ohio Pipeline Map and Proposed ET Rover and Leach XPress Routes

Ohio has so many pipelines that if I tried to put them all on one map, you wouldn’t be able to see much. What I’ve done here is shown what I consider to be the major, state-wide pipelines. All of these lines are interstate (crossing into at least PA, WV, IN or KY). They carry different products. They are different sizes. They have different destinations. What unifies them is their scale- each of these pipelines was a massive undertaking and involved a large number of Ohio landowners.
This map also shows two newly proposed pipelines: ET Rover and Leach XPress. These projects are just getting off the ground now (September of 2014). If you are contacted by ET Rover or Columbia …

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Why am I Still Receiving Royalty Checks?

I sold my property but did not reserve the mineral rights. Why am I still receiving royalty checks?
If you did not reserve mineral rights when you sold your property, you are almost certainly not entitled to royalty checks anymore. The reason the oil and gas company keeps sending them is simple: they don’t know that the property has been sold. Somebody has to tell them. Just because they keep sending checks does not mean that you are entitled to them.
Typically the new owner takes this responsibility upon themselves because they want to start receiving royalty checks. Sometimes, however, they forget. As the former owner, you want to get this cleaned up so that the company doesn’t continue to report this …

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Getting an Oil and Gas Company to Change Who They Pay

I bought property with an existing lease on it. What do I do? How do I get an oil and gas company to update their records and add me as the current owner?
Most oil and gas leases (even really old ones) contain some variation of this phrase: “No change of ownership shall be binding on the Lessee until it is duly notified.” This is legalese for: the oil and gas company will keep paying the old owner until the new owner speaks up and shows ownership.
When you think about it, this makes sense: oil and gas companies cannot be responsible for watching every courthouse in the state to see when a property changes hands. Instead they put the burden on …

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