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City: Church near The Rave needs permit to charge for parking

Posted at 9:51 PM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 23:15:39-04

MILWAUKEE -- Central United Methodist Church thought they were being creative when they started asking people going to concerts at The Rave for donations in exchange for parking in their lot.

"That money I see as an investment in the community. We've been able to put up 21 fruit and nut trees this year, we have two community gardens," said Pastor Rob Odum, Central United Methodist Church.

The church has been charging music fans to park in their lot during concerts for eight years. Central United Methodist is about a block from The Rave. The pastor says people park in their lot regardless of whether or not they have to pay.

The spokesperson for the City Department of Neighborhood Services Todd Weiler says the city is stepping in now because they've received three complaints.

"The city says that we're not legally allowed to park cars here and that's the issue right now," said Pastor Odum.

The church isn't commercial property, and that's why the city says they're required to get a special permit in order to sell parking spots. The license costs $50, but the church pastor says they've spent about $600 in the process.

"This is costing us money to really stand up for our right to do something in the church parking lot to raise money for the church and the community."

On a busy night the church would bring in about $400.

"We are going to be here regardless of whether we park cars or not... I think we have a mission in this corner to serve this community," explained Odum.

Alderman Robert Bauman says the church needs to get the permit.

The Rave ignored our request for a comment. The church suspects the complaints are coming from the music venue.

The church plans to go before Milwaukee Zoning Appeals Board in October.