Making Democracy Work

Know Hamilton County

Table of Contents

County Structure
Special Districts
County Finances
    Administration of Justice
Health & Human Services
Safety Services
Development & Housing
    Environment & Infrasturcture
Regional Affiliations

Development & Housing

Department of Planning & Development

The divisions of the Hamilton County Department of Planning and Development are as follows

  • Department of Building Inspections is responsible for issuing Building Permits within the unincorporated townships of Hamilton County and eight contract jurisdictions.
    Building Inspections website.
  • Community Development Division provides housing, community and economic development to disadvantaged families and individuals in Hamilton County. The Division administers the following federal grants for Hamilton County: the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), the Neighborhood Stabilization Programs (NSP)1,2 and 3, the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) and the Emergency Shelter Program (ESG). The primary purpose of the CDBG Program is to fund projects in participating communities of Hamilton County that either benefit low to moderate income populations, eliminate slum and blight, or address a particular urgent need.
    Community Development website
  • Regional Planning Commission((RPC) The Regional Planning Commission provides advisory planning services to the unincorporated areas (12 townships) of the County. It also provides services upon request to 37 county municipalities that are members of the Commission and pay annual fees.
    Planning Commission website.
  • Storm & Water Supply approves storm water management and flood protection for all new developments, regulates water line installation, installs and repairs fire hydrants, storm sewers, and investigates storm water drainage concerns.
    Storm and Water website
  • Rural Zoning Commission (RZC) serves the Board of County Commissioners by administering and enforcing zoning in four townships, or parts thereof, and by providing contract services to a number of townships and villages in Hamilton County.
    Zoning Commission website


Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority

CMHA is a political subdivision of the state of Ohio. It provides quality, affordable housing for residents of low-to-moderate income throughout Hamilton County through both a Public Housing and Rental Assistance Program. The Authority is a separate entity that is controlled by a board of commissioners. Composition the Board is set by sate law. It includes:
  • Two members are appointed by the City of Cincinnati (one must be a public housing resident)
  • One member appointed by Hamilton County Probate Court
  • One member appointed by Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas
  • Three appointed by the County Commissioners (one nominated by the Township Assoc. and one by the Municipal League)

The Housing Authority operates or administers three separate programs.
  • CMHA owns and manages an inventory of about 5,000 housing units, which includes large family communities, scattered-site housing and housing for elderly and disabled. CMHA is the property owner for the public housing units and is responsible for leasing, maintenance, rent collection, etc.
  • CMHA administers a Housing Choice Voucher program which is tenant-based and often referred to as "Section 8." The housing subsidy follows the tenant, allowing them to find rental housing in the private market in a Hamilton County neighborhood of their choice. The Voucher program, which is market-driven, offers a broad range of housing choices and allows low-income residents to integrate more into the mainstream of society. CMHA currently administers about 10,000 rental assistance vouchers.
  • The authority operates several hundred units of affordable rental housing.
    Housing Authority website.

Hamilton County Home Improvement Program (HIP)

HIP is an initiative of the Hamilton County Commissioners and the Hamilton County Treasurer. The HIP loan allows homeowners in Hamilton County communities to borrow money to repair or remodel their home or rental property at interest rates 3% below the lowest rate a bank would normally offers. Loans may be used for specified purposes.
HIP website

Planning Partnership

The Planning Partnership is a collaborative initiative of the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission. The Partnership is an advisory board that works to plan for the future and takes a long-range, comprehensive approach to planning. The regular membership of the Planning Partnership is open to all political jurisdictions in Hamilton County. Jurisdictions join the partnership by adopting the Resolution of Cooperation and payment of an annual fee.
Planning Partnership website.

Port Authority

The Port Authority is a governmental entity authorized by the Ohio Revised Code. It is a public agency that collaborates with private corporations, non-profits and government agencies to encourage economic development. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors; half appointed by the City of Cincinnati and half by the County.

As an independent government unit, it may conduct the traditional water, air and other transportation activities, as well as own property and provide financing for local economic development initiatives. Ohio law defines the "authorized purposes" of a port authority (and provides various powers to port authorities to further those authorized purposes) as follows:

  • Activities that enhance, foster, aid, provide, or promote transportation, economic development, housing, recreation, education, governmental operations, culture, or research within the jurisdiction of the port authority.
  • Activities authorized under Sections 13 and 16 of Article VIII, Ohio Constitution (permitting aid to private enterprises to promote economic development and housing in Ohio).
    Port Authority website