Zoning board shuts out Open Door's plan to build parking lot - FOX34 Lubbock

Zoning board shuts out Open Door's plan to build parking lot

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LUBBOCK, Texas -




"We have to deal with the aftermath of all this magnet that's drawn all this chaos into our neighborhood," Brad, a neighbor, said.

At Thursday's planning and zoning committee meeting, the proposal for a parking lot near 13th street and Avenue T was overshadowed by passionate objections to the Open Door Church.

"We've all been deceived," Travis Wares, who runs a nearby law firm, said. 

Neighbors say the non-profit has done more good than bad. 

"This has made it way, way too convenient for the entire homeless population to remain right there next door to the Open Door Church. I've picked up heroin needles from my property countless times," Josh, a nearby property owner, said.

"We've seen people being hit with baseball bats, we regularly call on lewd behavior in the park. And the last 3 months we've had a person grab a child...a 5 year old child," Trey Hayes, Co-Aquatics Director at Lubbock ISD, said. 

"I am apologetic for the people in that neighborhood who are having to deal with those issues, I very much am," Jaime Wheeler, Community Advocate for Open Door said. "But this is us coming alongside saying we just want a parking lot so we can continue to make things better."

The overwhelming resistance to the idea reflected the board's vote of 4 to 1 against the proposal.

"It's disappointing to me, it's very disappointing what happened today. It just shows you how frustrated people are with homelessness in general. That there would be such opposition to a parking lot," Chad Wheeler, Executive Director of Open Door, said.  

The vacant lot at 1920 13th street will remain vacant now, for the time being.

Wheeler says the organization may use the land to build more housing, which it is already approved to be used for.

It can help further their mission of getting people off the streets permanently.

"The reality is, the homeless are here. They will be here whether this parking lot is built or not," Jim, the founder of Carpenter's Church, said. 

Some opponents of the parking lot were on-board for the space to be used for transitional housing.

"I'm ready to write a check for that. I think that's a grand idea," Zach Brady, President of Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees, said. 

According to the latest count, almost 300 people are homeless in Lubbock.  

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