Parking Lot "Closed" Once Per Year

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matthewgrichmond
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Parking Lot "Closed" Once Per Year

Postby matthewgrichmond » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:47 am

Does anyone know why meetinghouse parking lots are "closed" once per year? I've heard this for years, and across different states and stakes, so I don't think it's something local to our current area.

Definitely nothing urgent, or even a problem; just curious...

Thanks!

drepouille
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Re: Parking Lot "Closed" Once Per Year

Postby drepouille » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:58 am

Although I have not seen this done in many years, I had heard we needed to close our church parking lots one day per year to protect our property rights. Although our meetinghouses are open to the public, we are a private organization, and we have the right to close our entrances from the public right of way.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

davesudweeks
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Re: Parking Lot "Closed" Once Per Year

Postby davesudweeks » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:21 am

I had heard of this before and was told it was to prevent someone from claiming ownership of the property through "squatter's rights."
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictiona ... ers+rights

I don't know if the above is a true reason, but have seen situations where a vehicle was parked in a church parking lot for long periods of time and no one seemed to know who it belonged to.

drepouille
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Re: Parking Lot "Closed" Once Per Year

Postby drepouille » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:32 am

I have seen an RV parked in the stake center lot. When I asked the stake president, he said it was a friend of his who asked permission to park there for a week or so.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

lajackson
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Re: Parking Lot "Closed" Once Per Year

Postby lajackson » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:23 pm

matthewgrichmond wrote:Does anyone know why meetinghouse parking lots are "closed" once per year?

The laws vary from state to state, but there is a legal principle regarding using another person's land where, if you use it long enough, you will gain a legal right to continue to use the land. In some cases, depending on local law, you may even gain ownership of that land.

A practical example is a meetinghouse on a corner lot. If the public uses the parking lot to avoid waiting for the traffic light at the corner, and this practice continues for a number of years, the path through the parking lot legally becomes public property, and at that point the Church no longer has private ownership and complete control over it and must allow the public to continue using the property as a passageway.

State laws vary. Some require encroachment for 10 years or so before the passage becomes public. Other states have a much shorter time. By closing off the parking lot every year and allowing no one but the owner to access it, the Church maintains its private property rights and does not risk losing control of a portion of the property under public use laws.

That's the legal theory behind why the Church closes off the parking lot. They probably do it every year because that covers the shortest time at any location where a problem could develop. In an earlier life, I lived in a state where the owner lost access after 10 years, so the Church closed off the meetinghouse parking lots every five years.

More than you wanted to know, and I am not a lawyer.

matthewgrichmond
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Re: Parking Lot "Closed" Once Per Year

Postby matthewgrichmond » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:07 am

Great, those responses all sound very reasonable. Thank you all for the replies!


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