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Sean, recognized by his peers as a “Leading Lawyer” by Chambers USA 2020 in Band 1 in Ohio in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, has extensive experience counseling clients on legal matters of real estate development, including, zoning entitlements and variances, property acquisitions, dispositions, leasing and due diligence, and easements and licenses. He has worked on matter of all sizes across all sectors, including retail, office, industrial, senior housing, assisted living and mixed-use and adaptive reuse developments. Sean has worked on developments of all sizes in both suburban and urban settings, including numerous urban infill and historic redevelopment projects.

Sean is a frequent author and speaker on matters of real estate and zoning and is regularly hired by lawyers and law firms to serve as an expert witness in zoning cases. He gained extensive knowledge and experience in local government by serving as Chief Counsel for Land Use and Planning for the City of Cincinnati from 2010 to 2014. In that role, he served as lead counsel for the city’s new zoning and land development code and award-winning historic preservation ordinance. Sean also represented the city in all land use, zoning and historic preservation matters, including representing and advising the Department of City Planning, the City Planning Commission, the Historic Conservation Board, Board of Building Appeals and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Sean founded and leads Calfee Zoning, the firm’s zoning and land use consulting affiliate. In this role, Sean works with communities to craft clear, consistent, usable, and defensible zoning codes and ordinances. He also has developed a new zoning methodology known as a Development Pattern Districting (DPD).

Sean is a licensed title agent in the State of Ohio.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Chambers USA, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, Band 1 (2019-2020)
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Real Estate Law, Land Use and Zoning Law (2019-2021)
  • 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



General Real Estate Development Experience

  • Represented office, retail, industrial, multi-family, senior/assisted living and mixed-use developers in all aspects of real estate development
  • Extensive experience with real estate due diligence – title, survey, zoning, environmental
  • Experience with complex urban and suburban infill development
  • Experience drafting declarations and CC&R’s

Retail Real Estate Experience

  • Represented global retailer in development, ground lease, and lease transactions throughout Ohio and Kentucky
  • Represented shopping center developer/operator on anchor and in-line tenant leases
  • Represented shopping center developer in establishing covenants and restrictions
  • Represented numerous national and regional restaurant chains in real estate development, ground leasing and leasing
  • Represented purchaser of large regional mall property
  • Represented grocery-anchored shopping center owner/developer in development, ground leasing and leasing
  • Represented regional orthodontics practice in shopping center leases

Office Real Estate Experience

  • Represented global corporation in headquarters office lease
  • Represented regional bank in headquarters building development
  • Represented large corporation in lease of back office operations space
  • Represented law firm in office lease
  • Represented numerous landlords and tenants in office leases of all sizes

Industrial Real Estate Experience

  • Represented large office/warehouse developer/operator in development and leasing
  • Represented large warehouse tenant on lease of facility
  • Represented robotics manufacturer in facility expansion

Hospitality and Restaurant Experience

  • Represented hotel developers in development of suburban and urban hotels
  • Represented country and social clubs in connection with real estate and zoning matters
  • Represented hotel operator in disposition of hotels
  • Represented sit-down and fast casual restaurant chains in lease negotiations
  • Represented national lender in foreclosure of urban hotel and attached retail facility

Condominium Experience

  • Represented condominium association on amending declaration and by-laws in Ohio
  • Advised clients on condominium conversions in Ohio

Social Service and Continuum of Care Projects

  • Assisted multiple clients in obtaining zoning and development approvals for independent/assisted living developments in Southwest Ohio
  • Represented nonprofit client in obtaining zoning approvals for addiction treatment/mental health facilities in Southwest Ohio
  • Consulted with local government clients across Ohio on updating their zoning ordinances, including ordinances related to social service and continuum of care uses
  • Represented local government in assisting multiple social service agencies relocate in Cincinnati
  • Represented multiple nonprofit community service facilities in rezoning of property for facility expansions in Cincinnati
  • Represented local government in defending social service facility zoning in Cincinnati

Building Code

  • Represented doctor group in fire code appeal before Ohio Board of Building Appeals
  • Represented law firm in building code appeal before City of Cincinnati Board of Building Appeals
  • Represented developer clients in obtaining building permits
  • Advised numerous clients on building and fire code matters

Historic Preservation

  • Represented preservation associations in opposing demolition of historic building
  • Represented property owner in ancillary building demolition
  • Represented large city historic conservation board
  • Acted as lead draftsman of large city historic preservation ordinance
  • Represented large city in defending emergency demolition permit
  • Serve as Preservation Committee Chair for the Over-the-Rhine Foundation

Administrative Appeals and Litigation

  • Represented large city client in defending issuance of sign permit
  • Represented large city client in defending against administrative zoning appeals and constitutional claims
  • Represented clients in large commercial foreclosures
  • Represented property owners and large city client in property takings cases
  • Represented property owners and lessees on administrative zoning appeals
  • Represented property owners and lessees on administrative building code appeals
  • Represented property owners on real estate tax administrative appeals
  • Represented clients before Ohio state courts of all levels
  • Argued before trial and appellate courts in Ohio

Real Estate Taxation Experience

  • Represented Duke Energy Convention Center in tax valuation appeal
  • Represented Cincinnati Recreation Commission in tax valuation appeals for seven municipal golf courses
  • Successfully appealed Ohio Tax Commissioner determination before Ohio Board of Tax Appeals
  • Advise commercial real estate clients on real property taxation
  • Experience with special purpose property tax valuations

Professional & Community

Professional & Community

  • Urban Land Institute (ULI) Cincinnati District Council, Past Management Committee Member
  • 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. 

  • Ohio Economic Development Institute, Site Selection Course, Presenter (2020)
  • Congress for the New Urbanism Midwest Debates, Debater (2020)
  • &Co. Webcast, Featured Guest (2020)
  • Cincinnati Town Hall by CBRE, Cincinnati, Ohio (2020)
  • National Association of Home Builders, 2019 LANDS Committee Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana (2019)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2019 Ohio Planning Conference, Cleveland, Ohio (2019)
  • America Walks National Summit 2019, Columbus, Ohio (2019)
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2019 DesignDC Conference, Washington, D.C. (2019)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2019 Central Ohio Planning Conference, Columbus, Ohio (2019)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2018 Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio (2018)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2018 Cleveland Zoning Conference, Cleveland, Ohio (2018)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2018 Northeast Ohio Zoning Workshop, Conneaut, Ohio (2018)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2018 Central Ohio Zoning Workshop, Columbus, Ohio (2018)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 National Conference, New York City, New York (2017)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Ohio Conference, Athens, Ohio (2017)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Indiana Conference, Lafayette, Indiana (2017)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Tennessee Conference, Memphis, Tennessee (2017)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Cincinnati Zoning Workshop, Cincinnati, Ohio (2017)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2017 Cleveland Zoning Workshop, Cleveland, Ohio (2017)
  • Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN) 2017 Annual Conference, Petoskey, Michigan (2017)
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Municipal Law Day 2017, Cleveland, Ohio (2017)
  • Heritage Ohio 2016 Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio (2016)
  • Legacy Cities 2016 Conference, Detroit, Michigan (2016)
  • Form-Based Code Institute 201 Faculty, 2016, Columbus, Ohio (2016)
  • American Planning Association (APA) 2015 Pennsylvania Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2015)
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI) Cleveland Zoning Workshop, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Legacy Cities 2014 Conference, Cleveland, Ohio (2014)

News & Events



Licensed In

  • Ohio   
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

"Sean Suder 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.'"
Chambers USA 2020

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