Reps Rogers, Young Introduce Bill To Shore Up Ohio Coastline

State Reps. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) and Ron Young (R-Leroy Township) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would give property owners along a coastline an additional option to assist in mitigating coastal erosion or financing other needed improvements.

House Bill (HB) 709 would enable residents with shoreline property an opportunity to initiate by petition for the creation of a shoreline improvement project financed by a special improvement district (SID). This process requires participation by 75 percent of the property owners of the proposed district, or 60 percent of the front footage. Once a petition has been circulated and signed by the needed number of property owners, it would then be subject to the approval of a municipality’s or township’s governing body. Property owners located within the district would then be subject to a levy for the repayment of funds necessary for the shoreline improvement project. 

All shoreline improvement projects would be required to comply with current zoning, environmental and costal management laws.

“The damage caused by erosion this year to properties along Lake Erie’s shoreline has been unusually severe. This, combined with the ongoing threat of continued damage, represents a significant cost to individual homeowners, their neighborhoods and lake-side communities,” said Rogers. “Our legislation gives property owners an additional tool to help them shore up their home fronts and investments that are at serious risk.”

Young, whose district includes the shoreline communities of Mentor, Painesville Township, Madison and Perry, has been supporting efforts to curb shoreline erosion for a number of years. He has won significant amounts state funding for shoreline protection related projects in Mentor, Perry, Madison, Willoughby and other portions of Lake County.

“For many Lake County citizens their largest and most treasured possession is their home. This legislation gives our people a chance to band together to save their property.” Young continued, “Break walls and other shore line protection systems are very expensive and often require high levels of government funding, approval and scrutiny. For these reasons, government entities usually fund these projects. By allowing citizens to voluntarily band together and structure a long term funding stream (up to 30 years) to create a much needed shoreline protection system is long past due. It’s also important to note that 100% of all funds levied will be allocated to the project.”

Rogers, whose district includes the shoreline communities of Willowick, Lakeline, Timberlake, Eastlake, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Mentor and Fairport Harbor, in addition to the riverside communities of Painesville and Grand River, recently hosted a town hall event together with State Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) along with representatives from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss options for residents whose homes and properties are at risk from the damage caused by erosion.

“A shoreline improvement district would allow neighbors to attack an erosion issue in unison financially as opposed to a piecemeal approach that might otherwise be cost prohibitive,” said Rogers.

HB 709 bill is awaiting referral to a House committee for its initial hearing.