City parking
5:04 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Cincinnati Council approves parking plan; opponents file restraining order

Cincinnati's controversial plan to lease most of its parking facilities is now moving to a courtroom. 

A Hamilton County judge has issued a temporary restraining order stopping the plan and has set a hearing for March 15th. Read the full complaint.

City council Wednesday approved the lease agreement and a spending plan by a five-four vote. 

Yes:  Roxanne Qualls, Laure Quinlivan, Yvette Simpson, Cecil Thomas and Wendell Young

No:  Chris Seelbach, P.G. Sittenfeld, Christopher Smitherman, Charlie Winburn

Member Yvette Simpson said the Council cannot continue to reject the city manager's plans for balancing the budget.

“So what I would say to the community is, you have to say yes to something,” Simpson said.  “And this proposal allows us to use an underutilized asset in a way that we can’t use it.  And yes prices will increase, inevitably everything increases and we have to make sure we know that that's real.  But this is reasonable.”

Member Chris Seelbach used his opposition to again pitch his alternative proposal introduced last week.

“I just simply think there's a better way to do it, and I think that ‘Plan S’ is that way,” Seelbach said.  “Plan S would balance out budget without police are layoffs, without leasing parking, and by making some tough spending cuts.  So my no vote is a no not because it's the end of the world, but because I think there's another way.”

The Greater Cincinnati Port Authority and four private companies would manage most of the city's parking garages and lots and all the parking meters.  The city would get $92 million by the end of June and about $3 million per year after that. 

The ordinances to enact the parking lease arrangement contain emergency clauses, which make the plan immune from a voter referendum.  That's why opponents are going to court to stop the plan.