By Alyssa Schnugg
After years of allowing the public to use its parking lots outside of church events, the First Baptist Church gained permission Monday from the Oxford Planning Commission to make their parking lots gated-entries.
According to a letter written to the Planning Commission by Robert Allen, administrative pastor, with the city’s intent to expand paid parking into the current free parking lots, more and more people are parking in the church’s lots.
“Some of the public use of the church’s parking lots includes university students who park and then walk or ride their bicycle to campus, employees of businesses on the Square, federal court attendees, lunch and nighttime uses by patrons of the Square, vendors detailing and washing cars, parking for special events on the Square, and other area uses,” Allen wrote. “On Sunday mornings, cars are routinely left in the parking lots from the night before.”
Allen said the public’s use of the parking lots has often prohibited its members from parking in the lots.
“Attempts to put up movable barricades to control parking have failed as people easily move the barricades to enter the lot,” Allen wrote to the commission.
The church plans on using a parking-control arm at the entrances off Van Buren Avenue. No access to the parking lot on the corner of Van Buren and South 9th Street will be allowed.
Gates and the emergency operation of the gates must be maintained at all times. Two instances reported to the planning office within a 12-month period of inaccessible gates by the city police, fire or public works will result in the revocation of the permit.
The commission approved the request unanimously as part of its regular consent agenda Monday evening and no comments were made by the commission or the public.