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CINCINNATI, August 4, 2020 – Calfee Zoning recently convened what it believes to be a first-of-its-kind advisory committee specifically formed to advise the firm on matters of racial, social and economic equity and justice as they relate to land use planning and zoning practices in cities across the U.S. Initiated by Calfee Zoning’s Lead Principal and attorney Sean S. Suder and Senior Consultant and city planner Jocelyn Gibson, the advisory committee is comprised of professionals highly regarded for their work on issues of racial, social and economic equity and justice issues. 

“We recognize that zoning has been misused to perpetuate structural racial and economic inequality and injustice for over a century in America. Zoning can be a powerful and effective regulatory tool to advance equitable and just outcomes for communities. Through the work of this committee, we will develop assessments and readily implementable tools to achieve more equitable and just communities across the United States,” said Sean Suder. 

The committee members include the following: 

  • Christie Angel, President and CEO, YWCA Columbus (Ohio); Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of External Affairs and Services to Mayor Michael B. Coleman, City of Columbus, Ohio
  • Charles T. Brown, MPA, Senior Researcher, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center; Adjunct Professor, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University
  • Jermaine R. Ruffin, Director of Development – West Region, City of Detroit (Michigan); Council Member, Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, University of Michigan; Host/Brand Owner of “The Streets are Planning” Podcast
  • Heather Worthington, MPA, Founder, Worthington Advisors, Former Director of Long Range Planning, City of Minneapolis (Minnesota)

The Equitable Zoning Advisory Committee recognizes and acknowledges that zoning has been misused since its inception to perpetuate inequitable outcomes for many minority populations as well as socially and economically disadvantaged populations. Zoning is a powerful and effective regulatory tool rooted in the protection of public health, safety and welfare, and we believe strongly in the efficacy and utility of zoning to achieve desired outcomes for all people. As practitioners and thought leaders, we embrace our responsibility to ensure that zoning does not perpetuate inequitable and unhealthy outcomes but rather advances more equitable development patterns.

The primary goals of the Equitable Zoning Advisory Committee are to:

  1. Expose the root assumptions of zoning by peeling back its complex layers, challenging the assumptions and rebuilding it as a tool to promote more equitable and just outcomes; and
  2. Establish more equitable access and agency around and more effectively connect issues of land use and zoning to the everyday experiences of historically marginalized people, in particular Black, Indigenous and people of color.

The Equitable Zoning Advisory Committee will play a key role in consulting with Calfee Zoning and its affiliated industry partners on Calfee Zoning’s planning and zoning projects for clients, primarily municipal governments, throughout the United States. 


Calfee Zoning is a law and planning consultancy that crafts custom tailored, clear, consistent, user-friendly, equitable and defensible zoning and land use regulations that reflect a community’s vision and desired outcomes. Led by planner and lawyer Sean S. Suder, the firm’s primary offices are in Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., with additional offices in Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland and New York City. Calfee Zoning is an affiliate of Calfee Strategic Solutions LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the law firm Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP. While some Calfee Zoning professionals are also lawyers, Calfee Zoning is not a law firm. For more information, visit


Media Contact

Susan M. Kurz
Chief Marketing & Client Development Officer
216.622.8346 (office)
513.502.8950 (mobile)

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