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Old 01-15-2008, 10:36 AM   #1
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Courtesy Parking Proposal

I “manage” an outreach facility owned by my church. It was formally a small church congregation of the same Lutheran synod as ours. Unfortunately, the membership dwindled and bills increased forcing them to shut down. The membership, facility, and responsibilities were turn over to us.

Although the building is only about 3,000 s.f., it is currently being used as a very active food pantry and for a growing Spanish free-Methodist church service three times a week. Additionally, we have a very nice outdoor chapel that seats over one hundred for summertime services.

Perhaps the best asset of the facility is its lot size. It is about five acres. It breaks down to about two acres of grass, and three of woods. This church is located in a middle-income residential neighborhood in Lorain, Ohio. It is a few blocks from Lake Erie between Cleveland and Cedar Point.

We are looking for ways to increase usage of the facility. This year we will be starting a community garden. I’m also considering what it would take to set up some courtesy parking. The nearest family-safe campground is at least twenty-thirty minutes away.

What do I need to do this? Would something like this get used? I suspect I could provide water and 30A power. Any examples of something like this? Would I need some kind of liability waiver?

Please give me your thoughts, suggestions and ideas!

-DanB
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Old 01-15-2008, 12:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB
We are looking for ways to increase usage of the facility. This year we will be starting a community garden. I’m also considering what it would take to set up some courtesy parking. The nearest family-safe campground is at least twenty-thirty minutes away.

What do I need to do this? Would something like this get used? I suspect I could provide water and 30A power. Any examples of something like this? Would I need some kind of liability waiver?

Please give me your thoughts, suggestions and ideas!

-DanB
How many churches are in your community? Maybe you can get them to share the cost of installing the utilities, in exchange for free parking for their RVing missionaries.
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Old 01-15-2008, 12:49 PM   #3
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Perhaps you have got this covered already but you might check to see if local land use codes allow an RV park type use on your site. If you are truly just doing "courtesy parking" on a casual basis and not providing any amenities or charging a fee it may not be a problem. As you may know, many juridictions allow this type of casual overnigth RV parking at Wal-Marts, but some do not.

However, if you intent to create sites with water and power hook-ups, advertise their availability and charge a fee, even if nominal, then I would suggest that you check with the local jurisdiction (city if in an incorporated community, or county if not) to determine if the local land use codes allow for this type of land use.

You might want to do this in a manner that does not draw attention to your specific property if possible. I suggest you find out the land use designation of your property from the local county (or city) official zoning/land use map and then call the jurisdiction and ask if, and under what circumstances, the overnight parking of RV's would be allowed in that district.

I think it is unlikely that the occasional courtesy parking of RV's on the site would draw the attention of the regulators unless a neighbor were to complain. However, the routine use of the site for overnight parking of RV's especially if unrelated to the primary use of the site for church activities, would likely be noticed by the jurisdiction at some point in time, especially if you were to advertise the availability and charge a fee. If the use is not allowed, it is likely that you would be required to cease operations and any investment you have made in improvements such as water and power hook-ups would be lost.
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Old 01-15-2008, 12:52 PM   #4
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I'm afraid that you'd be listening to choking sounds once they hear the cost of the utilities. And, of course, the local government would just love to collect all they can in the process.

Better might be to try to find some places on the internet that list free places to overnight. I know I've visited these kinds of sites, but don't have them among my bookmarks.

Just be a bit careful about it. As soon as you set it up, you'll find your parking lot populated by effectively homeless folk who've found themselves a "hunter's special" RV (i.e., nothing works) and need a place to live.


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Old 01-15-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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My thoughts are something like 2 spots with 4 to 7 day max per year
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