Hilliard Northwest News

Planning and zoning commission

City's second funeral home authorized


A second funeral home is expected to open in Hilliard after the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 9 approved a conditional-use permit for Newcomer Funeral Homes to open a mortuary on the west side of Trueman Boulevard, just south of Davidson Road.

Tidd Funeral Home on Norwich Street has been the only mortuary in Hilliard for most of the approximately 30 years of its existence.

One resident opposed the conditional-use permit application.

SuAnn Rio, of Ridgewood Drive, said the proposed funeral home would be visible from the family's residence.

"It disturbs my (8-year-old) daughter ... having a funeral home 200 feet away," Rio said.

Rio asked the commission to postpone a decision until her family could get a legal opinion about whether they could block the funeral home from building at the site.

Responding to Rio's query about recourse, Glen Dugger, an attorney representing Newcomer Funeral Homes, said he did not have the consent of his client to seek an alternative site.

Hilliard Law Director Tracy Bradford advised Rio that unlike a rezoning application, which provides a means for a referendum, a mortuary is an existing conditional use for the planned-unit development plan for the property in question.

Following the decision, Rio said, it appeared she had no means to challenge it and is considering selling the residence and moving.

In other action Jan. 9, commission members approved the rezoning a 0.5-acre parcel at 4579 Avery Road from low density residential to multifamily residential.

Glenmont, a Christian Science-based nursing center at 4599 Avery Road, owns the parcel, which includes a century-old farmhouse used as a facility support center for Glenmont's staff.

Cheryl DeVere, of Taylor-Lane Avenue, expressed concern to the commission that the single-lot parcel, if rezoned, could be developed into low-income housing.

"There is a 1800s farmhouse there," DeVere said. "I don't want to see it razed."

Mayor Don Schonhardt, who also sits on the planning and zoning commission, said the property owner is "well aware of the city's desire" to maintain the farmhouse.

"We share your concerns," Schonhardt said.

Commission Chairman Chris Lewie said the applicant has yet to make known a specific plan.

But Dugger, who also was representing Glenmont, assured commission members that low-income housing was not on the radar.

Ben Buoni, a member of the Northwest Franklin County Historical Society, offered to help find a site for the farmhouse, if there were a desire to relocate it.

Commission members also approved a final plat for seven lots and 53.8 acres of green space on 73.8 acres within the Heritage Lakes subdivision, and a final plat for 19 lots on 9.7 acres of land within the Estates at Hoffman Farms subdivision.

Lastly, Butch Seidle, director of public services, presented the city's five-year capital-improvements plan to commission members. No formal action was required.