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.

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.

The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority has released details of its “substantially completed” agreements with two private companies to operate Cincinnati’s parking meters, five downtown garages, and three surface parking lots.

The Port Authority’s agreement with Xerox State & Local Solutions is for 10 years, with a provision to extend it for up to two 10-year periods thereafter. Xerox will operate and maintain 4,900 parking meters in downtown Cincinnati and the city’s neighborhoods.

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.

The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority has released details of its “substantially completed” agreements with two private companies to operate Cincinnati’s parking meters, five downtown garages, and three surface parking lots.

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.  

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.

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.  

Cincinnati lawyers are making two major arguments as the city appeal’s a judge’s decision that let opponents of the parking lease place the issue on the November ballot.  

In a brief filed Friday with the Ohio First District Court of Appeals city lawyers argued the trial court erred by declaring that all city ordinances are subject to referendum and that the plaintiffs have standing to bring their claims. 

Not surprisingly the attorneys who successfully challenged the Cincinnati parking lease in court are opposed to the city's request for a judge to stay his decision from last month.  

Lawyers Curt Hartman and Chris Finney filed a response in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Thursday.  

Sarah Ramsey

Opponents of Cincinnati's parking lease plan have enough valid signatures to place the city ordinance on the November ballot.

Hamilton County Board of Elections director Amy Searcy said election officials have checked about two-thirds of the 19,803 signatures submitted by opponents of the plan to outsource Cincinnati parking meters and garages and 8,727 signatures were from registered Cincinnati voters.

Opponents of the parking lease needed 8,522 signatures to place the ordinance on the ballot.

Cincinnati is asking a Hamilton County judge to stay his decision on the city's parking lease while the case is appealed.  

The city said the judge's decision has made it impossible for Council to pass a law that takes effect immediately.

The city argues the First District Court of Appeals has already ruled a stay in favor of the government applies even in referendum cases.  

Judge Robert Winkler issued an opinion two weeks ago barring the city from moving forward with the lease until residents get a chance to vote.  

An appeals court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Cincinnati's parking lease May 6th. 

The First District Court of Appeals released a filing Wednesday with the schedule for the case.

The city will have to have submit its brief by April 19th and lawyers representing the residents who oppose the parking plan will have to respond by April 29th. 

The court also said those briefs could be no more than 20 pages long.  That split the difference between the two sides.  The city had suggested a 15 page limit and the opposing lawyers wanted 25. 

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati's Mayor and the five Council Members who voted for the controversial parking lease proposal are asking residents to get the facts before signing petitions to put the measure on the ballot.  

Cincinnati is asking the Ohio First District Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments concerning the city's parking lease plan on either April 18th or 22nd. 

The city would like a decision by May 1st. 

The city is proposing to file its brief with the court next Monday and for the opposing lawyers to provide their response by April 15th. 

A lawyer for the other side said in a filing they can agree with that time schedule although there is a disagreement about how long the briefs should be.  The city wants a 15 page limit, opposing attorneys are asking for 25 pages.

A Hamilton County judge is granting a permanent injunction stopping Cincinnati from moving ahead with its parking lease plan until voters have a chance to decide the issue. 

Judge Robert Winkler writes the essential issue in the case is whether the city's emergency clause in the lease ordinance precludes a referendum.  He concludes it does not.

Here's how it works:

The magic number is 8,522.

That is how many valid signatures of voters in the city of Cincinnati that opponents of the ordinance to lease out Cincinnati parking meters and garages need to place a referendum on the ordinance on the November ballot.

The petitions are filed with the city finance director. Amy Murray, a Republican city council candidate who is one of the leaders of the petition drive, said they plan to submit their signatures to the finance director on Tuesday of next week.

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.  

Sarah Ramsey

A Hamilton County Judge could decide next week whether Cincinnati residents will have a chance to vote on the city's plan to lease most of its parking facilities to the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority.  

A Hamilton County Judge will hear arguments Friday morning before deciding whether to issue a permanent injunction that would prevent Cincinnati from moving forward with a parking lease Council approved last week.    Judge Robert Winkler issued a temporary restraining order just minutes after the council vote.

Sarah Ramsey

A Hamilton County Judge will hear arguments next Friday to decide whether to issue a permanent injunction preventing Cincinnati from moving forward with a parking lease Council approved Wednesday.  

Judge Robert Winkler denied a city motion Friday to dissolve a temporary restraining order he issued just minutes after the council vote.  

Attorney Curt Hartman, representing the citizens who filed the complaint, said there are a couple issues for the judge to decide.

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.

Cincinnati Council will be meeting Tuesday evening to likely give a second reading to the legislation needed to let the city lease most of its parking facilities to the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority. 

Council rules say ordinances must be fully and distinctly read by title on three different days unless three-fourths of the members suspend the rule.  It takes seven votes to do that and it nearly always happens.  But not with the controversial parking issue. 

The Council is likely to vote on the issue Wednesday afternoon during its regular meeting. 

City website

Update: Cincinnati Council Member Chris Seelbach Friday released a different plan to balance the city's budget without leasing the city's parking facilities. 

He posted the plan on his Facebook page.

His plan includes nearly $5 million in spending cuts, redirects anticipated casino revenues to help the troubled general fund, and puts two issues on the ballot for voters to consider. 

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