DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When Lori Cohen learned her neighborhood would soon see 6 homes replaced by a church parking lot last month, she was stunned. “All of sudden we find out all these houses had been bought already. And it seems like a done deal,” she said.
Thursday evening, she shared her frustrations at a community meeting with leaders of the King of Glory Lutheran Church. “In my mind, I’m thinking – they just want to mow down houses and build parking,” she said.
The church is hoping to replace 40 spaces, roughly 20% of its parking, that it lost to the LBJ expansion project. It’s also building a driveway to allow some patrons to exit through the neighborhood, instead of the busy frontage road. “I was a little disappointed when we learned it was a concern and that neighbors were disappointed with us,” said Pastor John Bustard.
The church has stopped work while it meets with neighbors to find a solution. It’s now planning to add landscaping around the new features. It’s also agreed only to use the driveway during the week and only while LBJ is under construction.
The church has also proposed building a wall or park around the parking lot, but some neighbors still aren’t pleased. “I’ve looked the schematics they’ve shown, and it looks almost like a cemetery wall. Literally. It’s very unappealing,” said Taso Sotirapowlos, whose home would border the parking lot.
Since learning about the project, he’s stopped renovations on his home. “I’m very irate. I’m very upset,” he said.
Cohen, though, said, she’s beginning to come around. “They seem very very open to our concerns,” she said. “If the church presents something that is really beautiful and can enhance the value… if they can achieve that, then I think people would get around it.”