Administrative Hearings

About the Office Of Administrative Hearings

The Office of Administrative Hearings was established after Cincinnati City Council passed Title XV, Code Compliance and Hearings, which decriminalized several offenses traditionally handled by criminal prosecution.

The intent behind the development of Title XV and the Office of Administrative Hearings is that cases filed under this title and heard at the Office of Administrative Hearings would be addressed in a manner which is responsive to both citizen and city administrative concerns.

The office will address public safety concerns such as building code violations, litter, abandoned cars, illegal dumping and weed control.

Objectives

  • To obtain more effective compliance
  • To be more responsive to citizen complaints
  • To reduce the Hamilton County Municipal Court caseload without imposing additional costs on the taxpayers
  • To give the administration a choice between civil hearings and prosecuting a matter criminally
  • To provide hearings and due process of law for those charged with civil violations

How The Process Works

Department inspectors and field personnel will issue a notice, similar in form to parking tickets. Notices will either be personally served on the person charged with the violation or posted on the property or vehicle involved and a copy then mailed to its owner.

For example, people who set out garbage incorrectly will be fined $100, or people who violate the housing code can be fined up to $500 for a first offense, and $1,000 for a second offense.

As with parking and traffic violations, there is a pay-out schedule for each offense set by council. Just as parking tickets are in most instances paid by the offender without a personal appearance, we expect that some notices will be paid without a hearing being held. Fines will double if not paid or scheduled for a hearing within 7 days. Fines that are ignored may be sent to a collection agency and/or to the Law Department for filing of suit.

There will always be an opportunity for a hearing before an impartial hearing examiner. At that hearing, a person charged may deny the offense or admit it and offer an explanation or, with certain offenses, show that the violation has been corrected. For certain offenses, fines will be reduced by 50% if the problem has been corrected.

The hearing examiner will not have authority to impose a fine other than as set out in the pay-out schedule and consistent with the findings made at the hearing.