In August our church office was contacted by an automobile leasing company regarding the use of our parking lot located between parsonage 1 and parsonage 2.   They wanted to lease up to 5 parking spaces to use as pickup/return locations for vehicles being rented.  The renters would mostly be travelers from BWI and local residents who needed a vehicle for the weekend.  Most pickup/returns would be between 6am and 8pm. 

This lot is vastly underutilized (average of 4 vehicles on 29 spaces) and it has ongoing maintenance costs. Rental of this lot would provide ongoing funding for our ministries and have minimal impact on traffic (9 rentals in two weeks).  Based on these considerations, the trustees entered into a trial agreement with the leasing company with the intent of assessing any impacts. 

Within two weeks of the trial start one of our neighbors posted a negative comment on a community message board.  That comment generated a large thread of comments, many of which portrayed our church in a negative light.  As a result, on Friday, Dan Hiltz and I visited every house in the 200 and 300 block of School Lane to listen to our neighbors’ concerns.  Although most of our neighbors did not have concerns and some were positive, there were two neighbors that expressed very strong opinions about how the lot was being used.  They were extremely worried about safety and neighborhood integrity.  We discussed ways to address those concerns (cameras, lighting, etc.) but were not able to resolve their concerns. 

We believe that our church has been, and should continue to be, a valued part of our neighborhood and that means working together to listen and respond to each other’s needs.  As a result of hearing their sincere concerns, the trustees are terminating the trial with the leasing company.  We have communicated our decision with the most concerned neighbor and received his thanks for listening and responding to the concerns.  I have high expectations that this action will resolve any lingering community concerns .

Roger Wilson – LHUMC Trustees