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Cleveland Property Receives Covenant Not to Sue Under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program
Auburn Parking and DSW Inns have received a covenant not to sue under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP) after investigating and remediating the former Rockwell Parking Garage Property in Cleveland.
The property, located at 801 Rockwell Avenue, consists of a .4627-acre plot originally developed for residential use in 1886, with the eastern portion developing into the Cleveland Press Publishing House by 1950, when the property was used for mailing, printing press, molding and engineering activities. The Cleveland Press was razed in 1962 and the property was left vacant until 1965, when the existing parking garage and ninth floor office was constructed. The ninth floor office was removed in May 2014 to allow for more parking.
Following standards developed by Ohio EPA, Auburn Parking and DSW Inns hired a certified professional and conducted property assessments and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), metals and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) were found. The property meets standards for commercial and industrial use, while ground water meets potable use standards. Property restrictions have been attached to the parcel, limiting land use to commercial and industrial uses. The proposed environmental covenant requires the property owners to report to Ohio EPA annually that the property’s use remains compliant with the activity use restriction.
A covenant not to sue protects the property owner or operator and future owners from being legally responsible to the State of Ohio for further environmental investigation and remediation to known releases. The protection applies only when the property is used and maintained according to the terms and conditions in the environmental covenant.
In the 20 years since Ohio EPA issued the first covenant not to sue under the VAP program, more than 11,620 acres of blighted land have been revitalized at nearly 544 sites across the state.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.