by Sandy Park, Broadmoor Resident
In 2000 Broadmoor Baptist Church filed a Master Plan with the City of Shreveport now referred to as BBC Master Plan (BAC-73-00) and was the long-term expansion plan for the BBC into the adjoining Broadmoor Neighborhood. At the time the BBC owned only 6 of the 25 residential lots they needed in order to realize their vision.
I didn’t live in Broadmoor at the time, and I don’t confess to understand how Master Plans work but didn’t anyone notice that 19 families would be moved out of the neighborhood? In Dr. Pourciau’s recent interview with Henry Harbor he wrote, “Almost 15 years, Broadmoor Baptist Church had a decision to make. Do we remain at our present location on Youree Drive or do we relocate to a newer part of the city? We decided that God had called us to the Broadmoor neighborhood, and we would be going against His will to leave.”
Hey, Doc, did you ask God about those 19 families? Did you have a meeting with homeowners on Finley and Clingman that had the proposed Family Center right on top of their houses before you filed your Master Plan? Yes, yes, yes, I know your plan has changed. Note though no change has been filed with the City.
The BBC in 2002 presented a request to close off one block of Atlantic from Youree to Clingman By then they had bought off another 6 lots, three on Ockley and one on Atlantic west of their current parking lot and two more on Finley. At that July 2002 council meeting, Dr. Pourciau said in part, “…And over the past 2 ½ years we have purchased a million and half dollars of property, gone from 12 to about 16 acres, torn down unsightly buildings and tried to dress up the property…” The BBC’s request was denied.
Since 2002, the BBC has picked up another six lots, one each on Ockley and Atlantic and three on Clingman. With this pick up they have the desired contiguous west block of lots on Ockley/Atlantic that adjoins their main parking lot and “The Forest” as it is noted on the master plan.
If only they could budge the lady on lot 23 on Clingman and get a zoning variance they would have 9 contiguous lots on the corner of Finley, Clingman and Atlantic to develop into another parking lot. And with control of that entire block there would be no opposition to another request to close the one block from Youree to Clingman. Or would there?
In May 2014 the BBC put in another appeal, in part to build two additional parking lots where the master plan once had the Family Life Center. Minutes from that meeting include in part:
The Church already has 5 ½ acres of paved parking and the additional 2 acres of parking will be in the neighborhood.
The neighbors don’t oppose the expansion of worship center. They just don’t want further encroachment into the neighborhood with the parking lots.
By the Church’s own admission, they only utilize 85% to 95% of their parking spaces even on their busiest days. These additional lots are for convenience only.
Let’s see – let’s weigh the issue. On one hand you have “convenience” for additional parking you really don’t need versus homeowner’s right to quiet enjoyment of their homes. BBC was denied the zoning variance.
After this bit of research on the BBC it became apparent, at least to me, why the parking behavior next door to Ms. Judy had become so aggressive. I spoke with one of the last Clingman residents this last week and asked about the parking habits of the BBC membership.
Angela has lived here for 53 years. Parking on Sundays has always been an issue as long as she can remember but residents shrugged it off since it was only for 3-4 hours on Sundays. But over the last few months since her family sold her house to the BBC, the parking has become more assertive next to Ms. Judy’s house.
The evidence was so blatant, and after local media coverage and social media postings of photos, the BBC this last week erected two barriers leading into the south lot next to Ms. Judy’s house. This morning BBC staff placed cones in front of Ms. Judy’s house and stood waiving off folks away from her house and to the church main parking lot. As the 11:00 service started 50-75 spaces were still available in their main lot.
But the BBC aggression is not limited to trying to intimidate one lady with parking shenanigans. Their purchasing of a few lots in the area is reminiscent of the early to mid 2000’s when Broadmoor sales rocketed and multiple bids were often the norm. The only difference is the BBC was raising the prices to entice heirs and homeowners to sell, sometimes pitting heirs against each other.
One resident was pitted against her family when the BBC kept raising the bid on her family home until she could no longer stand against her co-heirs. The sales price on the 3 bedroom, 1 bath frame home in average condition was 170k. Heirs on another property garnered 200k. Well above what this real estate broker would consider “fair market value”.
To be fair, Dr. Pourciau addressed property values in his Harbor interview. “A dozen years ago, we were able to purchase homes on the block behind our church for $50 per square foot. In the intervening years, we have greatly improved the looks of our property as we have grown. Evidence of our being good for the Broadmoor community can be found in the fact that the last home we purchased on the same block was at a price of over $100 per square foot.”
Truth be known, “fair market value” is defined as what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller for a property. For the folks on Clingman and Finley the only willing buyer would be the BBC. No knowledgeable potential homeowner would buy a home embroiled so closely with the development of parking lots in the immediate vicinity.
So what does the future hold for the remaining 5 families that own the 7 lots the BBC want BAD?
Option One – Sell out to the BBC. I recommend you hold firm on minimum $200 per square foot.
Option Two – Buy back the lots on Clingman and Finley. Since they are all residential lots 8-12k would be reasonable since the cost to rebuild homes is roughly $100 per square foot. Maybe as neighbors the BBC will give you a good price.
Option Three – Get the Broadmoor community, and for that matter Shreveport residents in general, to support your efforts to block the BBC from getting a zoning variance for their residential lots.
Much of the chatter on the street is that the BBC has a new plan. Is it a new master plan? Is it a secret? The only information this community has about the “plan” is Dr. Pourciau’s interview.
According to Dr. Pourciau, there has been some unfair coverage of the situation as it unfolds. “A blog post appeared on a website accusing Broadmoor Baptist of being a bully for seeking permission to pave these lots,” Pourciau writes in a letter recently released. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he continued. “We think we are going about it the right way. Before the request was sent to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), we sent a letter to our neighbors explaining what we were seeking and asking them to express any concerns. We then went door to door to talk with them about concerns. For the most part, any initial concerns they had were eliminated when we explained what we were doing. We heard no serious opposition until the meeting of the ZBA. The ZBA denied our original plan. Therefore, we will present another (different) plan to the City Council. But we will do so only after meeting with our neighbors and coming up with a plan that meets our needs and addresses their concerns.” (Harbor Interview)
Homeowners counter. None received a letter. None had visits where their concerns were laid to rest. None are aware of the details of a different and new plan.
The BBC had planned to appeal to City Council for the zoning variance in June. It was then pushed back to July 21st and 22nd so the BBC could work with homeowners on a compromise.
Pastor Pourciau did have one point he wanted to emphasize: “We will not be re-presenting the same plan that was rejected by the ZBA. That’s a story that’s having difficulty finding its way into all this publicity.”
One of the remaining five families will be contacting Dr. Pourciau or Donnie Durr tomorrow. The goal is to set up a meeting with the BBC and the remaining residents on the targeted block, as well as neighbors in the Broadmoor area, to hear what the BBC’s new plan is all about.
The original 2000 Master Plan never should have been submitted or approved by the City without the signed consent of every homeowner that had ownership of a lot included in the plan. The filing of a new, revised Master Plan is long overdue.
So Dr. Pourciau you now have the publicity you seek. We are all ears to the details of your “new plan.”