Zoning Hearing Examiner

About The Zoning Hearing Examiner

The Zoning Hearing Examiner conducts public hearings and decides applications for variances, use variances, conditional uses, use permits, Hillside Overlay District development permissions, Urban Design Overlay District development permissions, expansions or substitutions of nonconforming uses, and reviews of phased developments in the DD zoning district.

The Zoning Hearing Examiner does not review applications concerning properties designated as an historic landmark or located in an historic district. If your property is designated as an historic landmark or is located in an historic district, please contact the Permit Center at 513-352-3271 for information on how to apply for relief from the zoning code.

How Does An Applicant Apply For Zoning Relief?

To make an application to the Zoning Hearing Examiner, an applicant must submit three copies of:

  1. your application;
  2. all materials required to support your application; and
  3. the required application fee.

All submissions should be made at the Permit Center at 805 Central Ave., Suite 500, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Applicants are also encouraged to present their project to their neighbors and neighborhood community council before submitting their application. Doing so will provide them an opportunity to address the concerns or objections of their neighbors and community council prior to the hearing on the application. This can facilitate the approval of the application.

Zoning Hearing Application, Checklist & Instructions

What Happens After An Application Is Submitted?

After an application is submitted at the Permit Center, it is reviewed for completeness. If the application is not complete, the applicant is asked to provide whatever information is necessary to render it complete. If the application is complete, a public hearing is scheduled. Public hearings are normally scheduled within two to three weeks after a complete application is submitted. Hearings are typically held on Wednesdays at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 805 Central Ave. Suite 110, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

Postcard notices with details of the public hearing are mailed to the applicant, the property owner, neighboring property owners, and the local community council. Notice is also published in the City Bulletin newspaper and on the Department of Buildings & Inspections online calendar.

Finally, the applicant, the property owner,certain city department representatives, and a designated community council representative are given access to review the application materials through the ProjectDox system, an online document management system. Other neighbors and interested members of the public may also receive access to the system upon requesting access and providing their email address.

Requests for access may be made to the Office of Administrative Hearings via email at oah@cincinnati-oh.gov

Can I Make Changes To My Application Before My Hearing? Can A Neighbor, Community Council Representative,Or Other Interested Person Submit Correspondence Or Evidence?

Following the scheduling of a hearing, additional application materials submitted by the applicant and written correspondence or documentation submitted by a neighbor, community council representative, or other member of the public must be submitted electronically through the ProjectDox system. Links to the system and instructions for using the system are found below.

All application materials, correspondence, and documentation must be formatted for size 8 1/2” x 11” or larger; must be formatted in .pdf, .tiff, or other read-only format; and must include the name of the person submitting the materials, correspondence, or documentation and their address and telephone number.

Conforming application materials, written correspondence, and documents must be placed in the appropriate folder no later than three business days prior to the date of the hearing. The Zoning Hearing Examiner may delete application materials, correspondence, or documentation that do not meet these requirements from the case file.

ProjectDox ProjectDox Instructions

What Happens At The Public Hearing?

The applicant must make an oral presentation of their case at the public hearing on their application. All testimony and documents that they wish to provide must be presented at that time. No information provided after the hearing will be considered in connection with the application. Neighbors, community council representatives, city department representatives,and members of the public may also speak about the application.

The public hearing follows the rules of procedure established by the Zoning Hearing Examiner. Any person speaking at a hearing should familiarize themselves with the rules and procedures prior to presenting at the hearing.

Rules of Procedure

Can The Zoning Hearing Examiner's Decision Be Appealed?

After the public hearing on an application is closed, a decision on the application will normally be issued by the end of the week in which the hearing is held. The decision may be appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals by any "person affected" by the decision. "Person affected" includes all applicants. Appeals must be filed within 30 days after the decision is mailed.

Any person wishing to appeal a decision of the Zoning Hearing Examiner should familiarize themselves with the Chapter 1449 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code which establishes the rules for appeals to the Zoning Board of Appeals.


This webpage is provided to assist persons who wish to apply for one of the forms of relief over which the Zoning Hearing Examiner holds jurisdiction. The materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

The materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results.

Any applicant seeking relief from the zoning code is responsible for reviewing all sections of the Cincinnati Municipal Code relevant to his or her application and seeking independent legal advice if necessary.