Second time is no charm for OTR parking plan

Posted at 3:57 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 15:57:45-05

CINCINNATI - The second time was supposed to be the charm for an Over-the-Rhine parking plan.

But the proposal failed again at Cincinnati City Council on Wednesday, after supporters could not gather the six votes needed to overturn a promised veto by Mayor John Cranley.

This was the second failure for the controversial plan – which would have set aside 450 parking permits for residents in this rapidly revitalizing neighborhood.

Cranley first vetoed the plan in May. But Vice Mayor David Mann revived the proposal in December, believing he had the support of Council Member Charlie Winburn. This would have added a sixth vote and made the plan veto-proof.

But that didn’t happen at Wednesday’s council meeting.

“I will not be put in a position to override the mayor’s veto,” Winburn said. “I am not going to undermine the mayor.”

This comes weeks after Winburn said he met with OTR Community Council President Ryan Messer and listened to residents of Republic Street in OTR complain about lack of parking.

Winburn said he was willing to change his vote to allow residential permit parking only on Republic Street, and not for the entire neighborhood.

But his fellow council members did not believe his explanation and accused him of switching his vote.

“You came to Vice Mayor Mann and said, ‘I changed my mind,’” Council Member Chris Seelbach said.

“Clearly the support we thought we had, is dead,” said Council Member Yvette Simpson.

The plan promised parking spots for residents at a cost of $108 per year. Low-income residents would have paid $18 per year.

Council voted 5-4 to pass the parking plan, but without Winburn’s support, it lacked the six votes necessary to override the promised veto.

Cranley said he would support residential parking for low-income residents at no cost, but doesn’t believe permits should be offered to owners of expensive new condos in OTR.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” he said.