Clifford H. Ashburner


Cliff understands that successfully handling a client’s development project isn’t just knowing the law, sometimes it means getting his hands dirty. If that means touring a condemned building with a structural engineer or walking a neighborhood to take decibel readings as part of a report on noise pollution, so be it.

He practices real estate and development law. His experience includes advising and representing clients in appearances before planning commissions, zoning boards, city councils and courts. He is proficient in development issues and has successfully handled development projects from acquisition through entitlement and financing to construction.

Cliff thrives on guiding a project along the shortest possible route through the entitlement process. Sometimes this is a lengthy rezoning effort, but, often, there are alternatives that can save clients time and money. He believes his success stems from an ability to understand both his client’s needs and concerns held by city officials or prospective neighbors.

That’s why when neighborhood residents were concerned about a client’s plans to remove a historic structure that wasn’t habitable, he toured the building with a structural engineer to make sure he understood the issue. And when another neighborhood was concerned about a client’s plans to add a bus company workshop and dispatch facility near their property, Cliff took decibel readings himself and presented the results to the local planning commission. After proving the additions wouldn’t add any significant noise to the area, the plan was approved.

Cliff has authored several zoning regulation and code amendments in different jurisdictions to aid clients and industries, successfully challenged property assessments, which meant a reduction in property tax, and drafted subdivision covenants and condominium master deeds. Along with his development-related work, he has represented borrowers in development financing transactions and drafted access easements and operating covenants for commercial developments.

He is the first Kentucky attorney to obtain the LEED Accredited Professional accreditation.


  • University of Kentucky College of Law  (J.D., 1998)
  • James Madison University  (B.A., 1995)
    • English

Bar Admissions

  • Kentucky


  • Greater Louisville, Inc., Board of Directors
  • Urban Land Institute, Management Committee
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation, Board of Trustees
  • Louisville Metro Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, co-chair
  • Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville, Land Development Committee, affiliate member
  • Kentucky Bar Association 
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • Leadership Louisville
    • Bingham Fellows Program, Class of 2010, 2020
    • Focus Louisville Program, Class of 2010
  • Vision Louisville, Energy Team, chair
  • Leadership Kentucky, Class of 2011
  • Kentucky Commercial Real Estate Conference, co-founder


  • LEED Accredited Professional
  • Peer Review Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Chambers USA®: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Real Estate
  • "Top Lawyers" in the area of Land Use & Zoning Law by Louisville Magazine
  • SPIRE Award for “the greatest positive impact on Kentucky commercial real estate in 2011”