PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A church’s plans for a piece of property across the street has some neighbors concerned, but the church says there’s no reason to be.

For several years now, Allison Park Church in Hampton has had staff members park on a piece of property across Duncan Avenue. Now, they’ve been able to buy that property and would like to do something more permanent.

“On large Sundays, we have some of our staff park over there to free up space so that when guests attend church, they have a place to park next to the building over here,” said Jeff Leake, the church’s lead pastor.

Neighbor Diane Stritzinger isn’t opposed to the plan, but she says: “I’ve lived here for over 40 years. I’ve had my backyard as my little sanctuary back there. I have my wildlife. We have bonfires. We have picnics, and I just don’t want to lose my privacy.”

But the church also submitted a possible plan to build a much larger parking lot of 400 spaces down the line if it decides to eventually expand its auditorium.

“That’s going to be a real fiasco,” said neighbor Ron Greer, who worries about added congestion and people crossing the busy street. “It’s real busy. Somebody’s going to get hurt.”

But Pastor Leake says they’ve actually taken that long-term possible plan of a bigger lot off the table.

“We have withdrawn those long range plans and said to the township that before we would do anything of a larger nature, we would come back with a much fuller plan,” he said.

But that doesn’t make Greer feel any better.

“I know eventually they’re going to do it,” he said.

Pastor Leake says for now they just want to build a small lot for staff to park like they’ve been doing on busier Sundays, and also an area for kids to play.

As for the busy road, he says they provide a shuttle to take people across the road and back.

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David Highfield