Dear Loveland City Council Members,

 Citizens for Rights of the Ohio River Watershed (CROW) is an organization that advocates for rights of communities dwelling within the watershed to protect the health, biodiversity, and safety of the Ohio River Watershed ecosystem. Government permits that put the fragile balance of this ecosystem at risk not only affect the functioning of the watershed as a living system, they deprive local communities from exercising their democratic rights to protect their own health and safety.  

CROW joins the Sierra Club Miami Group in urging Loveland City Council to hold a public hearing before Loveland City Council takes a vote on the proposed downtown parking garage. Addressing the parking situation in Loveland should rightfully include all stakeholders in the discussion. 

Some questions to consider:

1. The Little Miami State Park, located within the beautiful and historic Little Miami River valley, has been designated as a federal and state scenic river. It is protected because of its high water quality, panoramic setting, and the many historic sites that can be found along its banks. In accordance with the provisions of chapter 1547 of the Ohio Revised Code, the Miami Valley Scenic Park has an Advisory Council representing local interests. Has this Advisory Council been consulted about the ecological viability of this proposed structure? 

2. The Little Miami River traverses an ecologically vulnerable flood plain. Trail volunteers report the never-ending battle of keeping the trail free of conditions that cause flooding on parts of the trail-clogged culverts, erosion caused by bridge embankments, and other obstacles that interrupt the flow of water away from the trail surface. Even a few inches of rainfall can cause permanent flood damage. With the groundā€™s inability to absorb or impede the flow of water, the consequences can be disastrous. We can further expect Increased microbursts and flooding due to climate change. If you have done a geotechnical survey to study the subsurface conditions of the soil, was this survey conducted before or after a rainfall? Has a thorough environmental impact study been done? How many trees will need to be cut down to make room for this structure? Trees increase the permeability of the forest soils, preventing erosion and flooding. Other potential environmental impacts: Contamination due to increased particulate matter, increased noise pollution in Loveland, the potential increase in stormwater runoff from asphalt surfaces and bulldozed ground, and the laying down of detention basins, new water and sewer lines.

3. If we really need a parking lot for bikers, have alternative proposals for downtown parking been considered? Since the garage would be 100 feet from the Little Miami River bike trail, presenting a potential environmental risk, why not locate the parking garage 1000 feet away from the flood plain? Bikers are fit enough to drop their bikes at the trail head and park their cars 1000 feet away. 

The Citizens for Rights of the Ohio River Watershed (CROW) appreciate your consideration of our concerns, our questions, and our request. 

Signed: Jeanne Nightingale, Jessica Schultz, Jim Schenk, Bill Cahalan, Deborah Jordan, Mary Aguilera, Susan Vonderhaar, Nikki Orlemann, Lynn Hamamoto, Frank Collins, Sue Brungs

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