Judge extends restraining order on Cincy parking lease

Mar 20, 2013

A Hamilton County judge is extending a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing Cincinnati officials from signing a proposal to lease most of the city's parking facilities to the Port Authority.  

Judge Robert Winkler issued the order Wednesday extending the TRO until April 3.  

He heard oral arguments last week from both sides on a permanent injunction.  But Winkler in his order states his court is presently dealing with a jury trial in an aggravated murder case and is not able to finalize a decision in the parking matter.  

His ruling will decide whether Cincinnati residents will have a chance to vote on the parking lease.

The residents who filed the lawsuit and city officials are at loggerheads over whether the lease plan is subject to referendum.  The plaintiffs say the city's charter gives residents the right to challenge any ordinance Council approves.  But the city counters citizens cannot challenge legislation passed with an emergency clause.  

The city wants to lease the parking facilities to generate revenue to stabilize the city budget and to jumpstart major economic development projects to grow the city's tax base.  

Opponents fear such a plan will result in higher parking rates.  

The losing side will likely appeal any ruling.