David Miller, August 3, 2018
Columbus, Ohio — On Wednesday, August 1, the Ohio Supreme Court closed the Sawmill Wetlands case. This decision finally ends the long fight to protect the last remaining forested wetlands within the Columbus I-270 corridor, and brings victory to the many environmental advocates and residents who have waited years to enjoy their urban ecological treasure.
This past March, the Tenth District Court of Appeals ruled against JDS So Cal, the developer who sued for ownership of the Sawmill Wetlands. The developer appealed the case to the Ohio Supreme Court at the end of May, but the Court made clear this week that the Tenth District made the correct decision in ensuring the wetlands stayed in the hands of the State.
“By declining to accept jurisdiction, the Supreme Court ensured this developer can’t unjustly take the Sawmill Wetlands,” said Trent Dougherty, General Counsel at the Ohio Environmental Council. “This valuable greenspace should have been back in the hands of the people years ago, and the Court’s decision this week finally allows groups like Friends of the Sawmill Wetlands to enjoy their urban treasure in perpetuity.”
Following this decision, the property remains securely in the hands of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for protection into the future.
“The OEC looks forward to coordinating with ODNR and other organizations to ensure a robust plan to manage these wetlands,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director of the Ohio Environmental Council. “This patch of land is a true ecological oasis in the middle of an otherwise bustling part of town. These treasures are hard to come by, and the folks who have been working so hard to protect these wetlands deserve to pat themselves on the back today. We can now protect the Sawmill Wetlands so future generations can enjoy them for many years to come.”
“We couldn’t be happier to have the Sawmill Wetlands preserved for the future, right here in our backyard,” said Michelle Shinew, with Friends of the Sawmill Wetlands. “The incredible number of people involved in this process all deserve congratulations today. We look forward to the next chapter for the Wetlands, and being there every step along the way.”
You can find the Supreme Court’s decision here.