As used in sections 6131.01 to 6131.64 of the Revised Code:
(A) "Owner" means any owner of any right, title, estate, or interest in or to any real property and includes persons, partnerships, associations, private corporations, public corporations, boards of township trustees, boards of education of school districts, the mayor or legislative authority of a municipal corporation, the director of any department, office, or institution of the state, and the trustees of any state, county, or municipal public institution. "Owner" also includes any public corporation and the director of any department, office, or institution of the state affected by an improvement but not owning any right, title, estate, or interest in or to any real property.
(B) "Land" includes any estate or interest, of any nature or kind, in or to real property, or any easement in or to real property, or any right to the use of real property, and all structures or fixtures attached to real property, including but not restricted to all railroads, roads, electric railroads, street railroads, streets and street improvements, telephone, telegraph, and transmission lines, underground cables, gas, sewage, and water systems, pipe lines and rights of way of public service corporations, and all other real property whether public or private.
(C) "Improvement" includes:
(1) The location, construction, reconstruction, reconditioning, widening, deepening, straightening, altering, boxing, tiling, filling, walling, arching, or any change in the course, location, or terminus of any ditch, drain, watercourse, or floodway;
(2) The deepening, widening, or straightening or any other change in the course, location, or terminus of a river, creek, or run;
(3) A levee or any wall, embankment, jetty, dike, dam, sluice, revetment, reservoir, holding basin, control gate, breakwater, or other structure for the protection of lands from the overflow from any stream, lake, or pond, or for the protection of any outlet, or for the storage or control of water;
(4) The removal of obstructions such as silt bars, log jams, debris, and drift from any ditch, drain, watercourse, floodway, river, creek, or run;
(5) The vacating of a ditch or drain.
(D) "Person" means natural person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation, other than public corporations.
(E) "Public corporation" or "political subdivision" means counties, townships, municipal corporations, school districts, park districts, turnpikes, toll bridges, conservancy districts, and all other governmental agencies clothed with the power of levying general or special taxes.
(F) "Benefit" or "benefits," except as ordered in section 6131.31 of the Revised Code, means advantages to land and owners, to public corporations as entities, and to the state resulting from drainage, conservation, control and management of water, and environmental, wildlife, and recreational improvements. Factors relevant to whether such advantages result include:
(1) The watershed or entire land area drained or affected by the improvement;
(2) The total volume of water draining into or through the improvement and the amount of water contributed by each land owner;
(3) The use to be made of the improvement by any owner, public corporation, or the state.
"Benefit" or "benefits" includes any or all of the following factors:
Elimination or reduction of damage from flood;
Removal of water conditions that jeopardize public health, safety, or welfare;
Increased value of land resulting from the improvement;
Use of water for irrigation, storage, regulation of stream flow, soil conservation, water supply, or any other purpose incidental thereto;
Providing an outlet for the accelerated runoff from artificial drainage whenever the stream, watercourse, channel, or ditch under improvement is called upon to discharge functions for which it was not designed by nature; it being the legislative intent that uplands that have been removed from their natural state by deforestation, cultivation, artificial drainage, urban development, or other manmade causes shall be considered as benefited by an improvement required to dispose of the accelerated flow of water from the uplands.
(G) "Environmentally significant areas" mean natural land or water areas that in some degree retain or have reestablished their natural character or have other features of scientific or educational interest such as rare or endangered plant and animal populations or geologic, scenic, or other natural features and, because of their values and functions, contribute to the community's general welfare.
Effective Date: 04-09-1981