Policy & Advocacy

Legislative News_17






As the only organization in Ohio that exists specifically “to promote good planning for the betterment of all Ohioans,” the American Planning Association Ohio Chapter (APA Ohio) believes that it is essential to clearly outline our professional position on key priority issues facing Ohio. This Policy Platform is intended to guide the Chapter’s lobbying efforts and inform positions taken by the Chapter on legislative issues. It is also meant to provide flexibility to address unanticipated issues that inevitably arise.

Position Categories

APA Ohio’s position on key issues facing our communities are listed below in three broad categories.  These categories include:

Policy Infographic 2

Download the Policy Platform

Planning Practices

Community Development

Comprehensive Planning

Disaster Planning

Economic Development

Energy Planning

Infrastructure Planning

Land Use Planning

Transportation Planning


Planning Principles

Citizen Participation


Healthy Communities

Historic Preservation


Intergovernmental and Regional Coordination


Planning Issues


Climate Change

Home Rule

Planning and Development Incentives


Water Resource Protection


October 20, 2021 | Build Better Act: Unlocking Possibilities Program on the Chopping Block

Budget negotiators in Congress are eyeing cuts to the Build Back Better Act reconciliation package.  

The Unlocking Possibilities Program—which includes  significant planning and implementation support and technical assistance for communities committed to comprehensive local zoning reform —is among the most vulnerable provisions.  

Urge your U.S. representatives and senators to retain Unlocking Possibilities (Section 40103) in reconciliation.  

At risk is the only provision in the spending bill that will help communities create housing action plans, overhaul exclusionary zoning, and lay the groundwork for more housing choices and higher affordability. Federal action on zoning reform is one of four federal priorities for planners in 2021. 

On behalf of the APA Ohio Board of Trustees, APA Ohio President Rachel Ray, Legislative Committee Chair Emily Phillis and APA Ohio Executive Director Christine Dersi Davis wrote a letter to Senator Brown urging him to fight this cut.

View the Letter

June 8, 2021 | Sub HB 110: ORC 5715.01, 5713.03 Amendment RE: Affordable Housing

On behalf of the APA Ohio Board of Trustees, Legislative Committee Chair Emily Phillis wrote a letter to Ohio Senate Finance Committee members expressing opposition to the amendment to Sub HB 110 (FY 2022-2023 Main Operating Budget Bill) to change the process for valuation of subsidized residential rental property. Requiring federally subsidized residential rental property to be valued for tax purposes based on market rent without regard to the effects of government police powers or other governmental action undermines statewide efforts to encourage development of new affordable housing and has the potential to limit the impact of existing subsidized housing.

View the Letter

March 19, 2021 | Support Transportation in Ohio

What You Need to Know

A bill is moving through the Ohio legislature to fund transportation. It is currently about to be heard by the committee, and we urge you to reach out to your Representative, asking for their support. It's imperative this bill gets passed, if not, state funding for transportation is at risk and could drastically be slashed. 

More about the bill: A substitute version of HB 74, recently introduced in the Senate Transportation Committee, would increase General Revenue Funds for public transit by $13.85 million each year from $23.15 million allocated in the House version of the bill to $37 million. When combined with $33 million in federal funds to be “flexed” to transit, the measure would bring total state funding for Ohio’s 61 transit agencies to $70 million per fiscal year, equivalent to the levels allocated by the General Assembly in the last biennium budget. The governor’s proposed transportation budget had recommended a 90% reduction in funding from $70 million in 2020 and 2021 to $7 million in 2022 and 2023.  


What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION

Ask your representative to support this bill. It's easy! Share APA Ohio's message by clicking below.

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March 1, 2021 | American Rescue Plan

What You Need to Know

A bill that includes $420 billion in emergency relief for localities, states, Tribes, and territories, transit and other essential agencies, and housing is headed to the Senate, marking what may be planners best opportunity to help secure robust federal recovery support for communities.

Local governments confront a time of urgent need to assist local businesses and residents, especially those hit hardest by the pandemic. Flexible funding to local government and public agencies will keep planning and critical functions operating and ensure communities recover more equitably and more quickly. 

The American Rescue Plan, which passed the House on February 27, makes major reforms to two areas where planners told Congress the CARES Act fell short; all cities can access the funding and the aid is flexible. If signed into law, the bill would give planners the federal funding and support to guide communities toward a more resilient, equitable, and prosperous future. 

What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION

Tell your senators you support direct and flexible relief for local and state governments, transit, and housing security.  

Share what additional aid for your community would mean for local and regional recovery efforts underway. Customizing our pre-drafted letter with your personal perspective is particularly effective. 

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February 1, 2021 | APA Ohio's Policy Platform

What You Need to Know

With the 2021 Legislative Session under way, we want members of the legislature to hear from APA Ohio and know about our priorities. We are asking you to take action today by messaging your state elected officials, and sharing APA Ohio's Policy Platform.

What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION

Take time now to share our policy platform with your local representatives.

It's easy! Share APA Ohio's message introducing our organization and outlining our policy platform by clicking below.

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July 21, 2020 | Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility Act (S. 3638)

On behalf of the APA Ohio Board of Trustees, APA Ohio President Christopher Anderson, AICP wrote a letter to Senator Rob Portman thanking him for co-sponsoring the bipartisan Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility Act. He reiterated the importance of the planning profession as communities begin recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. 

View the Letter

March 24, 2020 | Communities Need Help Responding to COVID-19

What You Need to Know

Congress is poised to pass legislation – as soon as today – that could include necessary support for localities grappling with the fallout from the global pandemic. Work on the bill – which is part of a series of legislative actions by Congress to lighten the economic and the social impacts of COVID-19 on families and individuals residing in the US – is in progress in the Senate. Now is the time to tell your House and Senate members how they can support local communities in meeting today’s urgent needs and setting the stage for tomorrow’s recovery. 

What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION
It's easy! Planners are uniquely positioned to help communities stabilize, respond, and recover from this public health crisis, but we need the right federal resources to do so. Share APA's message outlining steps that Congress can take to partner with local communities to aid in response and recovery efforts.

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August 8, 2019 | Transportation Reauthorization

What You Need to Know
Bob Gibbs is the U.S. Representative for the 7th District of Ohio and serves as Ranking Member of a key committee of jurisdiction over transportation (Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation). Fostering and building relationships with such members is critical to the work over the next year, and August recess represents the first of several upcoming important opportunities to connect. APA Ohio has sent a letter to Representative Gibbs, sharing APA's key asks on reauthorization and funding.

View the Letter

What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION
Opportunities for grass roots action from APA Ohio members will be available soon!

March 14, 2019 | FY 2020-2021 Transportation Budget

What You Need to Know
Transportation in the state of Ohio receives a dedicated budget. Last week, the Ohio House sent to the Senate a budget that proposes $100 million to public transit funding through Flex Funds (150% increase from the last transportation budget). Final budget approval happens by March 31.

As a member of APA Ohio, you have the opportunity to influence critical transportation funding. Increased investment in public transit and an increased statewide dedicated funding source for transit is critical to the health of Ohio. Tell your Senator to support HB 62.

What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION
Take time now to share with your Senator why the FY 2020-2021 Transportation Budget (as presented by the Ohio House) is critical for the well being of Ohioans.

It's easy! Share APA Ohio's message outlining the importance of transportation funding by clicking below.

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July 5, 2018 | Health + Equity in All Policies

What You Need to Know
APA Ohio encourages planning that supports physical and mental wellness, creating healthy and equitable communities for all individuals. Senate Bill 302, the Health and Equity in All Policies Legislative Initiative, was recently introduced by Senator Tavares (D-Columbus). Through the Health and Equity in All Policies Legislative initiative, we can begin working together to enhance our state’s ability to embrace our shared values of opportunity, efficiency, and equality and begin moving toward a desired state of improved health outcomes for all.

What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION
Take time now to share with your elected official why the Health and Equity in All Policies Legislative Initiative (SB 302) is critical for the well being of Ohioans.

It's easy! Share APA Ohio's message outlining the importance of health and equity in all policies by clicking below.

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January 26, 2018 | Small Cell Wireless Legislation

What You Need to Know
The Ohio legislature has introduced a bill (appearing to be on a "fast track" to passage) that would govern the implementation of small cell wireless infrastructure in a municipality's right-of-way. Senate Bill 331 was passed during last General Assembly's lame duck session and included an amendment sharply curtailing municipality's Home Rule rights to manage the deployment of small cell wireless infrastructure in their right-of-way. Several municipalities challenged the provision in court, resulting in several judges granting injunctions that cited the provision's violation of the Constitution's single-subject rule.

Click here for the most recent draft version of the language.

Click here to view a Memorandum addressed to the Ohio Municipal League from IceMiller Law Firm outlining authorities being granted municipalities in the bill and the restrictions placed upon cities and villages when administrating the installation of the telecommunications infrastructure.

*NEW* Click here to view a user friendly chart comparing the existing small cell provisions and the proposed provisions prepared by Walter | Haverfield.

January 26, 2018 | Federal Infrastructure Plan?

What You Need to Know
Washington is abuzz this week with news of a possible infrastructure plan leak. The document, released by Politico on Monday, broadly covers both funding principles and infrastructure improvements. With President Trump's second State of the Union address only days away, policymakers and advocates alike are wondering if the leak is a preview of the Administration's highly anticipated infrastructure proposal. President Trump has signaled that infrastructure will likely be a part of his address next Tuesday.

As talk about an infrastructure package builds in Washington, APA National is calling on Congress to ensure federal infrastructure investment is designed to strengthen communities, boost the economy, and expand opportunity.

What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION
APA Ohio also strongly urges you to contact your US congressional representatives with pieces that must be included in an effective infrastructure package. Share APA's Infrastructure Principles with your elected officials today!

June 20, 2017 | Small Cell Wireless Legislation

What You Need to Know
On June 2, the Franklin County Common Pleas Court issued an opinion that the small-cell wireless provisions in last year's Senate Bill 331 were unconstitutional because they violated the Ohio single-subject rule. A full explanation of this decision can be found on page 3 of the Ohio Municipal League Legislative Bulletin published on June 9, 2017. Click here to view that document.  The National Association of Counties (NACo) has recently released a summary of the ruling, which can be viewed here

APA Ohio believes that the wireless communication industry will likely seek to have the state legislature initiate another action to change the rules governing small cells. The timing of such action is uncertain but the delay may give communities an opportunity to reach out to their local and state legislators to explain the importance of being able to regulate these uses as well as to emphasize the importance of home rule. Additionally, it may also give your community the opportunity to adopt local regulations. 

APA Ohio is aware of small cell regulations that were adopted by the City of Cincinnati. Click here to download a copy of these regulations. 

What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION
If your community already has small cell regulations or you are aware of another Ohio community that has adopted them, we’d love to hear from you. This information could help others formulate their own regulations. Please forward that information (including images) to info@ohioplanning.org.

APA Ohio also strongly urges you to contact your Congressional representatives as the Federal Communications Commission is considering regulations at the national level that could trump local rules. One provision will cause permits to be “deemed granted” if they are not acted upon by a certain time period. Click here to download the FCC document. 

May 24, 2017 | The Federal Budget

What You Need to Know
A New Foundation for America’s Greatness is the President’s full, detailed budget proposal and includes specifics and explanations for the plan originally outlined by the “skinny budget” preview released in March. The full budget largely mirrors the “skinny budget” and proposes many of the same cuts. Unlike the skinny budget, though, the full budget also contains a broad outline of the President’s $1 trillion infrastructure proposal.

The proposal cuts $54 billion in funding for non-defense programs, diverting that funding to defense. As a result of this massive disinvestment in domestic priorities, many programs that are critical to the development and maintenance of strong communities, a clean environment, and safe, reliable transportation networks were eliminated.

The President proposed the total elimination of the Community Development Block Grant program, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, and the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative at HUD. In addition, the budget ends support for New Starts transit funding, cuts funding for the TIGER grant program, and eliminates the Economic Development Administration.

APA condemned the cuts proposed by the "skinny budget" and APA President Cynthia Bowen, AICP, issued a strong statement against the proposal. This statement was sent to every member of Congress and is available on APA’s Legislative Action Center.

What You Can Do to TAKE ACTION
Tell congress why devastating cuts must not happen. Send APA President Cynthia Bowen's statement opposing the Trump administration's harmful FY 2018 budget to your members of Congress.  It's quick and easy. 





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