FUMC Driveway Update

LMNA has been following the development of First United Church’s master plan.  They are requesting a modification to a previously approved driveway that would connect the new parking lot on Vistabula Street to Chiles Street. Below is a message from John Curtis, architect for First United Methodist Church, updating LMNA on revised plans since meeting with us last month.

Since we met with the neighbors on April 29 the Church has been at work on revised plans for the Conditional Use modification.  Attached is a drawing that depicts where we would like to go.  We studied options  that “flipped” the desired parking to the east side of the lot and created a larger buffer, but ultimately inspired by what we heard at the meeting we have taken parking out of the plan altogether and now propose only a concrete paver driveway connection through to Chiles Street.
Because we propose no new parking we will not seek to construct the direct driveway connection into the Museum end of their parking south of Chiles.  Such a connection would consume five or six parking places.   With no offsetting gain of convenient parking spaces in that vicinity the connection into their lot is not easily justified.  We will seek to work with the Library/Museum to enhance the existing pedestian access from their parking to the sidewalk south of Chiles Street.  This access occurs at an existing island in their lot just about 30 feet west of the end of the new pedestrian path that First UMC just constructed.
741 Vistabula Street continues to be included as part of the CUP insofar as the proposed driveway cuts across the SW corner of that lot.  The residential use of that lot will continue unchanged and First UMC will request that the conditions of use reflect the single family status of 741 Vistabula.   The City also wants us to include the property on which the present pedestrian path is built into the conditional use so that all church-owned property is part of the conditional use plan.
Addition of a four way stop at the intersection of Vistabula Street and Michigan is supported by First UMC as a traffic management solution that will contribute to traffic calming as well.  The Church also believes it prudent to do the standard City traffic calming study for Vistabula Street after the new stop signs have been installed.  While we do not support the need for a specific traffic study to evaluate the taffic circulation from our Vistabula Street parking lot to the Library/Museum lot  we would be willing to pledge money that would have been spent on that study to help offset the cost of any traffic calming measures that are indicated by the City study and desired by the local residents.   Our intent would be to pay for one half the cost of the traffic calming with the total cost to the Church not to exceed $5,000.
Bill Tinsley, Don Jeffares and I met yesterday with the City to review this new plan and will be submitting it to them later this week.  My understanding from that meeting is that  no action will be taken on our request at the May meeting of the Planning and Zoning Board but that the hearing will be “continued” and heard at the June meeting.
Hopefully we have addressed most of the residents requests in an acceptable manner.  Let me know if there are any questions.
John Curtis

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