Churchgoer parking puts homeowner in tight spot - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Churchgoer parking puts homeowner in tight spot

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Love thy neighbor?  One homeowner is not feeling the love from Broadmoor Baptist Church.

The church is expanding and wants to build more parking around Judy Smith's home.  The first plan was rejected by a zoning board.  So the church is now trying to reach a compromise with neighbors.

But that job may have gotten more difficult.  

"There's my house and there's some of the cars," Smith says, pointing to a snapshot of cars seemingly parked very close to a fenceline by her home. It was taken on Sunday, June 8th.  

Judy Smith says she gets the picture.

Since speaking out against the church's plans to pave new parking around her house, she says some churchgoers are parking closer than ever to her home on a grassy lot the church owns.

"In fact, so close, that they had to climb across the console, get out on the passenger side, 'cause they couldn't open the door," Smith says.  "But that was to say, 'We'll park where we please.'"  

Pictures show more cars park on Clingman Dr. in front of Smith's house during church. Meantime, a video from the website forward-now.com from last Sunday showed there were lots of available spaces in nearby church parking.

"What bothers me is that they would want to disturb my peace. They would want to if possible hurt my feelings," Smith says of the churchgoers near her property.  "They point and snicker."

But Donny Durr, BBC's Minister of Business Administration, denies that church members are trying to intimidate Smith.  He says the church has asked members to be considerate of all the neighbors when they park.

"Our people have been parking there in that same spot for years," Durr says. "And some of those who are parking are 80 year old people who were parking in the south because it was closer." 

The "south" he refers to was a parking lot where the church is nowbuilding a 1,200 senow buildingrary worship center. 

So they need new parking.  And they want it around Smith's home.

"That gives us the biggest opportunity to get spaces off street, which is what we're trying to do for the safety of our members, for the safety of the neighbors, for fire and rescue, all of that," Durr says. 

The church is changing its original plan. They say they no longer do they want to pave a 'U'-shaped parking lot around Judy Smith's home. Instead it would be more of an 'L' shape with five lots. Homes on some of those lots would have to be moved or leveled. Other lots would be used in back of Smith's home.

The grassy double lot on the south side of Smith's home would remain virtually untouched. 

Durr admits, church members may still park on that grassy lot.  But he says the church may put up "screening" so that neighbors don't look out directly on a parking lot.

"Could be a fence. Could be a hedge. Could be trees," Durr suggests. He says an architect is still putting ideas together.

But Judy Smith will be a tough sell.

"They don't care how I feel. They don't care what I want. They don't care that I live here," Smith says. 

She's determined to stay in the home that's sentimental to her family.  It was built identical to her childhood home nearby. A wreath hangs on her front door with a sign from her young grandchildren that says, "Ginny's House" and "no won els!"    

"They call me Ginny since that's what came out when they tried to call me Granny," Smith explains.

Smith has refused to sell her property to the church.  

Meantime, Broadmoor Baptist pushed back its zoning appeal before the city council until July 22nd, giving them a little more than a month to work out a deal to please the council and as many neighbors as they can.

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