city parking lease

Cincinnati council and administrators spent much time last year negotiating and defending in court a parking lease with the Port Authority.  Now a new Council is ready to vote on a motion to undo that plan and replace it with something different.

City Council will likely vote Wednesday on a couple motions related to parking in the city.  The Neighborhood Committee approved the items Tuesday.  

Council member Kevin Flynn supported the proposals.

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said Friday discussions are still taking place on the future of the city's parking system.  He announced his plan earlier this week that would keep the city in charge, upgrade all meters and use the additional revenues for basic services.  

Cranley said the first step in the process is dropping or revising the previous parking lease agreement with the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority.

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati Council could be asked to vote on the latest version of a plan that will impact parking in the city.  There's a motion that would officially end the prior parking lease with the Port Authority that's been on hold since November.  

The new proposal would upgrade city parking meters and garages, but the city would maintain full control of all assets instead of leasing them to the Port, which in turn would have turned day-to-day operations over to private contractors.    

Mayor John Cranley said there'll be local control of all decisions.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley is asking council members to sign off on a motion related to the parking lease with the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority. The measure is currently circulating among council members. It would make major changes to the original plan between the city and the port.

Cranley could publicly release details of the plan Wednesday.

The WVXU news team provided extensive coverage throughout 2013 of a Cincinnati proposal to lease most of the city's parking assets to a public/private partnership.  City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

 UPDATE:  The OKI board unanimously approved the funding plan at its meeting Thursday morning.

The OKI Regional Council of Governments board will vote Thursday on a first-of-its kind financing plan to rebuild the Interstate 71/Martin Luther King interchange.

OKI Director Mark Policinski says the plan calls for a loan from the state infrastructure bank.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

At the urging of Mayor-elect John Cranley and seven members of the new council, the Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati has agreed to stop the controversial lease of Cincinnati’s parking meters and five city garages.

Cranley and seven members of the council that will take office Dec. 1 wrote a letter to Port Authority president and CEO Laura Brunner Monday night saying it is “not in the community’s interests or the long-term interests of the Port Authority to proceed.”

The City of Cincinnati picked up another win in its battle to outsource parking operations. A judge Thursday dismissed an injunction request filed by the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST).

The group charges the city manager changed the lease without getting council approval. But the city says the city manager acted within his duties.

City attorney Terry Nester further argued COAST had no standing to bring the case.

Ohio Supreme Court won't hear parking lease case, restraining order denied also

Sep 4, 2013

The Ohio Supreme Court has declined jurisdiction in the Cincinnati parking lease case.  City Solicitor John Curp confirmed that in an e-mail Wednesday morning.

The case involved whether city voters had a right to place the issue on the ballot.  A Hamilton County Common Pleas judge said it could go on the ballot, but an Ohio appeals courts overturned that decision.  The appeals court said the city could pass the parking lease as emergency ordinance and avoid referendum.

The Supreme Court decision should end the case.

Just as the Port Authority is putting finishing touches on Cincinnati's parking plan, the organization opposing it, COAST, has filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order.

Spokesman Chris Finney says, "When the decision came down from the Court of Appeals, and the City Manager signed the lease, he made material changes to it without Council approval." Finney says he is not permitted to do this so "council either needs to re-vote, or the lease must be enjoined." (stopped by judicial order)

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority has unveiled a series of recommended changes to Cincinnati's controversial parking lease.

You'll have to pay until 9pm if you park in this grid:

(OTR Zone)

  • Central Parkway to Liberty
  • Elm St. to Walnut

(Downtown Zone)

The residents who opposed Cincinnati's controversial parking lease are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to hear the case.  

Attorneys filed a notice of appeal Monday and a motion asking for an expedited schedule for the matter.  

In June, the Ohio First District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Cincinnati on the proposed parking lease to the Port Authority.  In a two-to-one opinion the panel said the lease agreement Council passed in March is not subject to a voter referendum, because it was passed as an emergency ordinance.  

Mayoral candidate John Cranley, along with several city council members and candidates, are calling on the Port Authority to put an end to the city's parking lease deal based on a memo from the city's parking lease consultant that says the costs will be excessive.

The June 20 memo, from Walker Parking Consultants, was delivered to the city administration the day before City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. signed an agreement with the Port Authority to lease out the city's metered and garage parking to private companies.

We learned something about Cincinnati City Council this week.

The mayor is not the absolute monarch inside city council chambers.

Except, that is, when he is.

Since December 2001, Cincinnati has had a directly-elected mayor who is not a voting member of council but chairs the meetings and controls the agenda. If a council member tries to raise an issue on the floor of council that the mayor doesn’t want to deal with, he or she can simply rule the council member out of order, proclaiming that it was a subject not on the council agenda and that was that.

Mayor Mark Mallory used some parliamentary wrangling at Wednesday's Cincinnati Council meeting to successfully knock down an attempt to repeal the city's controversial parking lease agreement.

Council member P.G. Sittenfeld, a Democrat, came into the council meeting believing he had five votes to scuttle the agreement, which city manager Milton Dohoney signed Monday.

City Manager Milton Dohoney signed the parking lease agreement Tuesday afternoon that will bring a $92 million up-front payment to city coffers, but council may still make some changes to the agreement.

Tuesday, two Cincinnati council members - Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and Yvette Simpson - were circulating motions  asking the city administration to come up with a new plan for use of the $92 million in up-front money from the parking lease agreement.

Update 6/17/13 9:50 PM:  Hamilton County Judge Robert Winkler signed an order Monday dissolving permanent injunction in the Cincinnati parking lease case.  Judge Winkler also entered a judgment in favor of the city and against the plaintiffs.  Costs to be paid by plaintiffs. With permanent injunction dissolved, city officials should have "green light" to sign the parking lease agreement with the Port Authority.

The Ohio First District Court of Appeals has refused to issue a stay in its decision on the Cincinnati parking lease case, possibly clearing the way for the city administration to move forward with the controversial plan.

But Curt Hartman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs who brought the original lawsuit against the parking lease ordinance passed by council in March, says they will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to hear the case "as soon as possible."

So, it appears there will be no referendum on the city of Cincinnati’s parking lease agreement on the ballot this fall.


Unless, that is, in the unlikely event that the Ohio Supreme Court decides to take up the appeal of the decision made by the Ohio First District Court of Appeals this week saying the agreement is not subject to referendum because it was passed in March as an emergency ordinance.


But nobody on either side of this really expects this to happen.

Sarah Ramsey

UPDATE: 6/13 5:40 pm

Cincinnati lawyers have filed a brief with the appeals court objecting to the plaintiffs' request for a stay in parking case.  The first two paragraphs from the city's request:

The fate of the city of Cincinnati’s parking lease ordinance – and whether or not citizens can put a referendum on the November ballot – is now in the hands of a three-judge panel of the Ohio First District Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments from both sides Monday morning.


The three judges – Penelope Cunningham, Patrick Dinkelacker, and Pat DeWine – heard from lawyers from the city and for the plaintiffs who filed the common pleas lawsuit against the parking lease plan in a half-hour hearing.

It is entirely possible that, this November, two immovable objects will collide on the ballot in Cincinnati.


There is, unless the appeals court intervenes, every likelihood that the referendum to repeal the parking lease passed by Cincinnati City Council will be on the ballot – opponents of the lease plan came up with thousands more signatures than they needed to qualify for the ballot.


And there is a Cincinnati City Council election, with all nine seats up for grabs.

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and other officials held a round table discussion with reporters Tuesday to talk about the benefits of the parking lease for the city.  

They talked about several things including rates, hours and enforcement.  But none of the information was new.  

Mallory was asked why he decided to hold the session now?  He says to get the facts out.

“Particularly when there’s so much misinformation out there about how this plan works,” Mallory said.  “So we can’t talk about the facts enough.”

A three judge panel of Ohio First District Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Monday in a case concerning the city's parking lease.  

The city argues a Hamilton County Judge made an error when he declared all city ordinances are subject to referendum.  It also argues the plaintiffs who brought the case don't have standing to bring their claims.  

The lawyers who filed the lawsuit for the taxpayers submitted their brief to the appeals court Monday.