Public View Ordinance

Eden Park, Cliff Drive overlook

Eden Park, Cliff Drive overlook

Cincinnati is blessed with spectacular public overlooks, many of which were established generations ago by forward-thinking civic leaders. The Hillside Trust is devoting the majority of its efforts this year towards adopting a measure called the Public View Overlay Ordinance that would preserve the scenic quality of 50 overlooks throughout the City. What is your view about this?

Eric Russo
Executive Director

Message from the Director

From the time I was a young child, I have always enjoyed our hillsides. Whether it was feeling their imposing grandeur as they tower over the Ohio River and downtown basin, or taking in distant views from their commanding overlooks, I believe the hillsides are a dramatic part of our landscape. It is my sincere pleasure to serve an organization like The Hillside Trust that advocates the thoughtful use and preservation of this wonderful natural feature.

Share your stories about the hillside overlooks with us.


  1. Carol Striker
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Eric–Received the excellent card via the mail, and it sent me to this site. The information here is sketchy, even for one who has a great interest in preserving views. What should we as citizens be doing? Whom should we effectively contact about this vote on an ordinance? When is that to happen? Who is pro/con? What is Hillside Trust doing to coordinate this effort?


  2. Posted May 3, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Hi Carol. The Hillside Trust is interested in accomplishing several things here. For starters, we want to let the public know that there is in fact a proposed public view ordinance measure in place that is awaiting Council consideration. The vast majority of residents are unaware of this measure, nor are they aware of which overlooks are involved (please see the gallery). Besides mass mailings like the one you received, I am making presentations in front of various community councils to raise awarenes, and I have testified at City Hall. The Hillside Trust is also trying to raise money in support of its efforts to adopt this measure. Procedurally, we need a majority of five votes for it to pass. Those currently in favor are Qualls, Quinlivan, Thomas, and Young. Those against are Bortz and Ghiz. Winburn has chosen not to vote either way. Those undecided are the two new councilmembers, Wayen Lippert and Amy Murray. You and other interested persons could best serve this measure by letting either Mr. Lippert and Ms. Murray know that you support them in their support of this measure. Both of these candidates are interested in being re-elected. The Hillside Trust’s goal is to have this measure passed before a new council is elected, otherwise it would have to start all the way back to the beginning of the adoption process which could take several more years.

  3. Dieter Schmied
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    What is my view of the ordinance?

    Well,I haven’t seen the ordinance. Why is it not being posted?

    I would think the stabilization of the hills is important; why is there nothing on the geology aspects published here?

  4. Posted May 3, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Hello Dieter. Thank you for asking why the ordinance is not posted – great suggestion. I will have it up and available for viewing before the end of this week. As far as the geological aspects of our hillsides, The Hillside Trust has been involved for years in helping shape policy decisions around this at the City and County levels in Ohio and more recently in Northern Kentucky. I certainly welcome further discussion on this important and timely topic as well. Our region ranks near the top in terms of annual per capita damages due to landsliding. With record-setting rainfall in the month of April, and continuing precipitation kicking off the month of May, we are highly vulnerable to landslides right now. I have received a steady stream of calls from homeowners asking who to call and what to do because of slides they have experienced in the last couple of weeks.

  5. Barbara Gardner
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    So the ordinance would be an improvement, yes? (reducing height to max 22′ from 35′). Is the Hillside Trust is asking us to support the proposed ordinance? The postcard isn’t clear and w/o details the ordinance, it’s difficult to determine the intent. Please clarify, Thanks!

  6. Posted May 17, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Yes, the proposed ordinance is an improvement. The Hillside Trust is seeking to build certainty into future hillside developments. In 95% of the cases, future growth can occur on hillsides and not block out any public views. In 5% of the cases, however, if future development occurs on hillsides, where it is permitted to extend to the 35 foot high maximum allowed by zoning it could degrade views from our public overlooks. By dropping the height in these areas to 22 feet, essentially a full story, the public view would not be impacted. Or, a developer could visually demonsrate that his or her buildiing would not have a negative impact if built to the maximum height allowed under zoning. The Hillside Trust is seeking public support of this effort to demonstrate to City Council that the public is behind a measure to preserve the visual integrity of our public overlooks.

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