The Environmental Division was created by the Ohio General Assembly in 1991 as a specialized, housing-focused court to streamline the judicial oversight and adjudication of housing code violations.
Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr. was the first judge of the Court, taking office on January 8, 1992. Judge Pfeiffer presided over the Environmental Division for eleven years, before taking office as the City of Columbus' City Attorney.
Harland H. Hale was appointed to take the bench on February 14, 2003 and served ten years as the Court's jurist.
Judge Daniel R. Hawkins was appointed to the bench on July 29, 2013, and was elected by the citizens of Franklin County to complete the unexpired term ending in 2015. Judge Hawkins was elected to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in November of 2018
Judge Stephanie Mingo was appointed by Governor John Kasich to take the bench in December of 2018 and is the presiding Judge of the Environment Division.
The Environmental Division has exclusive jurisdiction over civil and criminal actions pertaining to local building, housing, sanitation, fire, zoning, property maintenance or safety codes/ordinances/regulations. The Environmental Division also exercises concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Common Pleas with regards to actions related to air, water, ground pollution, and administrative appeals, including felony criminal actions. Unlike many other Municipal Courts, the Environmental Division has an unlimited monetary cap on its civil cases.
The geographic venue of the Environmental Division encompasses all of Franklin County, including those portions of the City of Columbus outside of Franklin County. The Court regularly hears cases from the 17 townships and 26 municipalities within Franklin County; in addition to certain cases brought by the Ohio Attorney General's Office from communities outside Franklin County.