Anyone who's familiar with the area near the UNT campus in Denton knows that parking is at a premium. One parking lot, which used to be free, will now cost students. The church which owns the lot says there’s a good reason.
“The amount of time students are trying to find a place to park is amazing,” said John Warren, pastor at The Village Church Denton.
But issues with space, and illegal parking around town, the church says something had to change.
Warren says by charging parking fees, that should lessen the load on the church facilities manager. Instead of working on projects and upkeep at the 1,000 member church building near campus, he had become more of a parking monitor.
“Our church members would show up to eat dinner or to pray and there wouldn't be a place to park,” he said.
In response, the church will charge students to park. A yearlong permit will cost $200 dollars. Permits go on sale Wednesday morning. The lot will be closed to student permit holders during church events, including weddings and funerals.
Some students say they’ll miss the convenience of the free parking spots.
“$200 is really wild,” said UNT student Morgan Williams. “Especially considering school permits are really expensive."
Reserved parking for non-resident UNT students in school lots is $650 dollars a year, so the church lot remains a relative bargain. For residents, permit prices begin at $250.
But the search? It now might mean an extra spin, or two, around the neighborhood.
“There's never enough,” said Simmons of the parking situation near campus. “Honestly, I think there's never enough parking."