New rules in Baylor stadium neighborhood allow parking in yards, not on streets

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Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 12:01 am

Football fans will be allowed to park in driveways and yards in the East Waco neighborhood around McLane Stadium, but not on the streets, under a policy Waco City Council approved Tuesday.

The council voted to allow “temporary parking facilities” on private property on days when nearby event venues, such as the stadium, draw crowds of more than 5,000 people.

Such property owners would be temporarily exempt from the usual zoning requirements for commercial parking, such as a paved surface.

For the same events, the city traffic engineer would be authorized to designate no-parking zones for the streets around the venue. Streets in the residential neighborhood around the stadium will be designated no-parking zones on game days, city officials said.

The amended zoning ordinance passed 6-0 on first reading, with a second and final reading scheduled next month.

The policy also will apply to neighborhoods around venues such as the Extraco Events Center, but the impetus for the change was Baylor University’s new stadium.

City Manager Dale Fisseler said the ordinance reflects the stated wishes of the stadium’s neighbors to be able to charge for parking on their properties.

“It was clear people wanted to be able to do this,” he said. “That’s where this comes from.”

Wannika Muhammad, a resident of East Calhoun Street who attended Tuesday’s meeting, said she knows dozens of neighbors planning to offer parking on game day. She, too, aims to take full advantage of the traffic coming into her neighborhood.

Muhammad is planning 50 parking spaces on a lot she owns at 909 E. Calhoun St., along with eight to 10 food trucks. With stadium and campus parking sold out, she said Baylor fans already are scoping out her temporary parking oasis.

“They’re shopping every day,” she said. “At one time, they were shopping for property. Now they’re shopping for parking.”

Muhammad said she appreciated the city passing the ordinance amendment and working with her to get all the necessary permissions for an outdoor food court.

“The city has been very helpful,” she said. “They have sat down with us — the mayor, the city manager, and of course (Councilman) Wilbert (Austin) is always a support.”

Austin said the amendment allowing temporary commercial parking is a “win-win” for the needs of the stadium and the neighbors.

“These people have the opportunity six times a year to have a little income,” he said.

In other business Tuesday, the council approved $100,000 in startup funds for the Greater Waco Collective Impact Initiative for the remainder of 2014.

The new organization will have an executive director, board and support staff to begin implementing the goals of the Greater Waco Education Alliance and the city’s antipoverty initiative, called Prosper Waco.

Other funding institutions include the Rapoport, Cooper and Waco foundations, local hospitals, school districts and higher-education institutions.

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