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Parking Problem Pits Mega Church Against Neighbors

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Fort Worth mega-church Christ Chapel Bible Church had moved homes off of its property near its main campus in the 2600 block of Montgomery Street to expand its parking lots into the surrounding Arlington Heights neighborhood. Even though the church promised a reenforced grass surface, neighbors weren’t happy.

People like Bailie Duncan, who lives across the street from the mega-church, said spill-over parking is already a nightmare and the parking lot expansion would make it worse. She would have parking immediately next to her house behind a six foot tall fence.

“To wake up every Sunday morning and be blocked in front of the house and have cars on either side — it’s like, I picture some of those movies where you see a whole city build around that one little house that’s left over,” Duncan said.

The area’s council member stepped in and told the sides they needed to a find a compromise.

The church didn’t have anybody available to comment to us today. But they have told us in the past they would do what they could to make this less of a parking lot and more of a park space.

The councilmember who brokered the deal says that’s exactly what they’re going to do — and then some.

Fort Worth Council Member Dennis Shingleton said the church will give up some parking spots to create a park-like buffer between the lot and homes on its north side. And, under a 40 year agreement, there will be no more expansion into the neighborhood. The church could buy neighboring homes that come onto the market, but the homes could only be used as residences, Shingleton said. Its a deal both sides made grudgingly.

“I’m making a few phone calls today,” Shingleton said. “There are folks that are, um, the degrees of happiness range from unhappy to moderately happy. Let me put it that way.”

Neither side loves their neighbor right now, but it’s a deal that has earned the city’s blessing and will allow construction of the parking lots.

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