Summary of Today’s Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing

Photo by Pam Sattler

Following the Historic Conservation Board’s (HCB) denial of the proposed demolition of the Dennison Hotel on June 16th of this year, Columbia REI (part of the Joseph Auto Group) appealed the case to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), a case which was originally to be heard and decided upon today.

On September 14th, without prior notice, the attorneys for Columbia REI (Fran Barrett and Tim Burke) submitted a 32-page brief which took issue with many facts of the case, requesting that various pieces of testimony be stricken from the record provided during the HCB hearing. You can read their full submitted brief here.

As this brief was submitted at the very last moment possible, the Cincinnati Preservation Collective and Cincinnati Preservation Association, represented by our attorney Sean Suder of Graydon Head, did not have an opportunity to respond or even entirely review the new information submitted by Mr. Barrett and Mr. Burke.

As such, Mr. Suder requested that the determination ZBA hearing be delayed to allow us an opportunity to respond. As this delay was granted, today’s hearing was one of procedure, including scheduling the time and procedure for the final determination hearing.

It was decided that the determination hearing for the Dennison Hotel will be on Monday, October 17th, 9am, 805 Central Ave., II Centennial Plaza, 5th floor, room 508. The ZBA also decided today on other procedural issues regarding the case. All motions approved and denied today are as follows.

The motions approved today

  • Motion to allow Mr. Barrett to cross-examine Urban Conservator Beth Johnson, if he identifies in advance which specific parts of her testimony (written and verbal) he would like to discuss.

  • Motion to strike Hope Over Homelessness letter submitted by Tiffany Davis because it’s not material to the case. That letter can be found here.

  • Move to strike comments by Deputy Zoning Director Matt Shad from the record as they are not material to the case.

  • Allow additional testimony from witnesses that presented on behalf of Columbia REI at the HCB hearing. Sean Suder may then cross-examine.

  • Motion to strike petition from the record as irrelevant.

  • Allow Sean Suder to respond to brief provided by Mr. Barrett and Mr. Burke in accordance with normal ZBA procedure, no sooner than 5 days before the next hearing.


The motions denied today

  • Motion to strike Beth Johnson’s testimony from the record.


What you can do

As CPC, the Cincinnati Preservation Association and our lawyer Sean Suder of Graydon Head continue this case, our costs increase. We’ve only been able to prevent demolition this long thanks to hundreds of donations from our community, most for less than $30. Please consider making a donation on our campaign page.

We also strongly encourage you to attend the ZBA hearing on October 17th, even if you can only attend at the beginning.

Questions? Want to get involved? Email

John Blatchford


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