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Sean has a keen attention to the details of lawmaking that make a zoning code clear, consistent, usable and defensible. As a planner and a lawyer, he brings a unique combination of disciplines, skills and perspectives to planning and coding efforts across America.

From 2010 to 2014, he served as the Chief Counsel of Land Use and Planning for the City of Cincinnati where he represented the municipal corporation and its officials in all planning, land use, zoning, historic preservation and building matters.

Sean was the lead counsel for the Cincinnati Form-Based Code, an award-winning code that was a first for a large legacy city like Cincinnati. He also served as the lead counsel for the Cincinnati Land Development Code, a new take on the City’s remaining Euclidean zoning, and for the City’s award-winning Historic Preservation ordinance.

Sean is a leader in the Urban Land Institute, where he serves as a liaison between district councils in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Indiana, Pittsburgh and Louisville.

Sean is a frequent speaker and panelist on the topics of land use law, historic preservation law, and zoning, including as a presenter at the 2017 APA National Conference in New York City and APA state conferences in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

In 2017, he served as Ohio faculty for the Form-Based Code Institute (201 level). He has served as an adjunct professor of land use law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning. His articles have been published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Midwest Real Estate News, Cities & Villages Magazine, Ohio Planners News, and others.

In addition to his work with Calfee Zoning, Sean is a Partner in its affiliate law firm Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP. Sean is licensed to practice law in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee (inactive), and the District of Columbia. Sean is recognized as a "Leading Lawyer" by Chambers USA 2020 in Band 1 in Ohio in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use. Chambers noted that Sean "offers a highly acclaimed zoning and land use practice, where he is considered an expert on providing creative solutions to rezoning, land use code and title issues. An impressed client said, 'He is an experienced attorney who is a straight shooter. His research is solid, and we appreciate his in-depth knowledge of Ohio law.'" He has also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 in the area of Real Estate Law, he has been named a "Cincy Leading Lawyer" by Cincy magazine (2018- 2020), and named to the 2018 Ohio Rising Stars List for Land Use/Zoning law by Super Lawyers.

Honors & Recognitions

Chambers USA, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, Band 1, 2019-2020

Best Lawyers in America©, Real Estate Law, Land Use and Zoning Law, 2019-2020

Cincy Magazine, "Cincy Leading Lawyers," Real Estate, Zoning, 2018-2020

Ohio Super Lawyers, Ohio Rising Stars, 2007, 2009, 2016-2018


J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2004

Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning, with honors, University of Virginia School of Architecture, 2000



Since 2015, Sean has led, managed, or worked on zoning code projects for approximately 15 communities across nine states, including Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vermont, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Professional & Community

Professional & Community

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Cincinnati District Council, Past Member; Past Chair, Regional Initiatives

American Planning Association (APA), Private Practice and Law Divisions (Amicus Curiae Committee)

The Society of St. Vincent DePaul, Facilities Committee

Presentations & Publications

Presentations & Publications

Sean speaks frequently on topics of zoning, including at local, regional, and national conferences and has been published and quoted on matters of commercial real estate as well as land use and zoning. 

  • National Association of Home Builders, 2019 LANDS Committee Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2019 Ohio Planning Conference, Cleveland, Ohio
  • America Walks National Summit 2019, Columbus, Ohio
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2019 DesignDC Conference, Washington, D.C.
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2019 Central Ohio Planning Conference, Columbus, Ohio
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2018 Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2018 Cleveland Zoning Conference, Cleveland, Ohio
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2018 Northeast Ohio Zoning Workshop, Conneaut, Ohio
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2018 Central Ohio Zoning Workshop, Columbus, Ohio
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 National Conference, New York City, New York
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Ohio Conference, Athens, Ohio
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Indiana Conference, Lafayette, Indiana
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Tennessee Conference, Memphis, Tennessee
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Cincinnati Zoning Workshop, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Cleveland Zoning Workshop, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN) 2017 Annual Conference, Petoskey, Michigan
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Municipal Law Day 2017, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Heritage Ohio 2016 Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Legacy Cities 2016 Conference, Detroit, Michigan
  • Form-Based Code Institute 201 Faculty, 2016, Columbus, Ohio
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2015 Pennsylvania Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI) Cleveland Zoning Workshop, 2015, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Legacy Cities 2014 Conference, Cleveland, Ohio

News & Events




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