Folks along North Cascade Avenue, near First Lutheran Church, have been asking that question for years. They are frustrated over parking disputes with parishoners of the church, which has been worshiping in its present location 50 years. Here is a photo and a map from the church Web site.
Recently, police cracked down during Sunday services, writing more than a dozen tickets to First Lutheran members. Pastor Paul Peel, below, responded with a two-page newsletter informing his flock exactly how and where to park.
But Sunday parking isn’t the only issue. Especially troubling to some is the proliferation of non-church groups using First Lutheran meeting space each day.
On its Web site, the church says 39 so-called “12-Step” groups, such as Overeaters Anonymous, use First Lutheran for their meetings. The New Horizons Band of Colorado Springs is another tenant, practicing at the church at least two days a week. The Friends of Monument Valley Park is another regular user of the church meeting space.
Since streets are public property, it appeared the neighbors had little leverage until the church applied for a construction permit recently. City staff research uncovered a 1992 resolution passed by the City Council.
In the resolution, the council approved a variance for an expansion project the church was proposing. But the church had to agree to nine criteria including limiting the number of non-church groups it allows to use its facilities.
Now, neighbors are asking the city to enforce the usage rule in the resolution. But the two sides can’t agree on exactly what the usage rule means. Is it the number of groups, as the church contends, or the number of people in the groups, as the neighbors say?