Beavercreek passes law scrutinizing investments near Wright-Patterson AFB

City law requires some zoning applicants to certify they are not subject to federal CFIUS review

Beavercreek City Council passed a law Monday allowing city planners to scrutinize proposed real estate investments or zoning changes, including moves close to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The law brings the city in line with the work of a federal committee that examines proposed foreign investments for national security concerns.

Council gave the ordinance a second reading Monday evening before approving it unanimously.

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“I think we may be one of the first (cities) in the nation to actually do this,” Beavercreek Law Director Stephen McHugh told council members on Sept. 11, when the measure received a first council reading.

The ordinance allows Beavercreek planners to require applicants for zoning permits to certify that they are not subject to review by CFIUS — the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

If an applicant is subject to CFIUS review, then the applicant must provide appropriate documentation before the city will issue a permit, Beavercreek said in a release.

“There is an adversary that is buying land in our country and we do need to be aware of it, especially with our given location next to Wright Patterson Air Force Base,” Council member Glenn Duerr said in the city’s release. “Warfare looks very different today, it’s across five different domains, from land, air, sea, space, and even cyberspace. This is legislation that other municipalities should follow, it’s a way to strengthen our homeland.”

“The ordinance also outlines a clear process for monitoring compliance,” the city said in its statement. “City staff is required to report any potential violations to the city manager and council. The city manager and council will then reach out to (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) which will have 60 days to provide input.”

The U.S. government committee examines foreign investments, and it reviewed a record number of proposed transactions last year, the Treasury Department said this summer in an annual report.

Reuters news service said about 80% of the cases involve finance, information and services and manufacturing.

McHugh told council members Sept. 11 that if a zoning application is subject to CFIUS, then supplemental documentation from the federal government demonstrating results of that review would be required under the new law.

McHugh told members: “The point of this is to simply ask and require applicants in the application to certify that they are not subject to CFIUS. It’s the city’s effort to, one, determine if someone is (subject to federal review), and two, make a good faith effort to not be a party to a transaction or authorize permitting (a transaction) that we really should not be authorizing.”

According to material given to council for the Sept 11 meeting, the public is “encouraged to send CFIUS tips, referrals, or other issues related to national security risks and foreign investment in the United States.”

City staff recommended approval of the law.

McHugh told council Sept. 11 that he reached out to Wright-Patterson, and he read to council members a comment he said a base representative offered on the law.

“We are grateful for the support of the city of Beavercreek, and its interest in protecting the security of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” McHugh said, reading from the base response. “We expect all developers to comply with any applicable federal regulations and appreciate the city’s effort to ensure they do so.”

“The base appears to appreciate the city council’s efforts in this,” he added.

The Dayton Daily News has asked the city for a copy of the base statement on the ordinance. A spokeswoman for the 88th Air Base Wing — the host unit for Wright-Patterson that handles security, infrastructure and other issues for the large Air Force base — declined to comment Tuesday.

Wright-Patterson officials have worked in recent months with the Wright-Patterson Council of Goverments, a council uniting the municipal governments of Beavercreek, Dayton, Fairborn, Huber Heights, Bath Twp. and others who want to work with one of the nation’s biggest and most important Air Force bases.

In April 2022, the council hired Matrix Design Group, based in Crofton, Md., to create plans that guide development and municipal operations around Wright-Patterson.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, CFIUS is an interagency committee authorized to review transactions involving foreign investment in the United States and certain real estate transactions by foreign persons, in order to determine any impact on national security.

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