A decision on the fate of the proposed Jerry Spears Funeral Home in Hilliard could come next month.

Hilliard City Council on June 24 postponed until July 8 a decision of whether to approve the planned-unit-development rezoning necessary for the funeral home to operate in a former church building at 5505 Hyde Park Drive.

The vote was 5-0, with council President Kelly McGivern and Les Carrier absent.

July 8 is City Council’s final regularly scheduled meeting before its summer recess.

The applicant requested the legislation to be tabled “to allow more time to review revised plans,” council Vice President Pete Marsh said.

Council members did not discuss it further.

Bob Spears Jr., one of three family owners of Jerry Spears Funeral Home at 2693 W. Broad St., on Columbus’ Hilltop, attended the June 24 meeting but did not speak.

After a lengthy public meeting June 10, Spears said he would amend the development plan to increase the number of parking spots, relocate the parking-lot entrance and add more landscaping.

Those changes are expected to be part of a revised development plan City Council received June 25 for review prior to the July 8 meeting, according to council member Andy Teater and council clerk Lynne Fasone.

“I want this to be over,” Spears said June 25, but he still wants City Council to have ample time to review the revised plan and avoid any kind of “procedural error.” A “procedural error” derailed the rezoning application in February until it came to light that a member of the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission “did not vote properly,” per commission member Bill Uttley.

Spears said the revised plan is the result of meetings he had with residents, and it takes into account the concerns of all but a few residents with whom compromise can’t be achieved.

The plan increases the number of parking spaces from 70 to 80 or 90, relocates the driveway 24 feet to the east from Hyde Park Drive and adds more landscaping and buffering, he said.

More than 30 people addressed City Council on June 10 during a public hearing for the second reading of the rezoning ordinance, but only one resident spoke June 24.

Ray Watford of Hyde Park Drive said he opposed the funeral home’s opening because it is in a residential area, unlike the city’s only other funeral home, Tidd Family Funeral Home on Norwich Street, which has other nearby commercial uses.

Notices are required to be sent to any property owner living within 400 feet of a property whose owner is seeking a rezoning, according to David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.

In the instance of Jerry Spears Funeral Home, notices were mailed to about 80 property owners who live within 400 feet of the former Parkside Community Church, he said.

Notices are required to be sent for rezoning applications heard by the planning and zoning commission and for public hearings, Ball said.

The proposed funeral home is adjacent to the Brookfield, Hyde Park and Westbriar subdivisions.

Residents from the subdivisions have been present at meetings of the planning and zoning commission and City Council since February.

On Feb. 14, commission chairman Scott Movshin and members Chris Lewie, Tracey Nixon and Uttley issued a negative recommendation for the rezoning. Mayor Don Schonhardt, Brent Bergefurd and Jay Muether were absent.

On March 14, Uttley, at the direction of Movshin, asked for reconsideration and said that one member, whom he identified as Nixon, “did not vote properly” and in light of a “procedural error,” the application should be reconsidered. That measure was approved 4-0 with Bergefurd, Lewie, Muether and Uttley voting in favor of it. Movshin, Nixon and Schonhardt were absent.

Nixon said March 11 she could not comment and since then has not responded to inquiries about the matter, including for this story.

Ball has explained the “procedural error” as a commission member casting a vote based on a reason other than conditions included in the city code.

“When we were informed that there might have been a procedural error, the law department called Movshin to inform him (of it),” Ball said. “When voting, commission members are required to follow (city code). If a vote does not align with that (code), it is considered a procedural error that can result in a case being reconsidered.”

The part of the code being referenced is section 1107.02, which outlines the qualifying conditions for proposed PUDs, according to Ball.

In this instance, a commission member gave thought to the reason for a vote and informed the chairman the decision was not based on that code, he said.

“There was no discussion of which conditions that commission member felt had not been followed,” Ball said.

On April 11, the commission voted 3-2 in favor of the rezoning application. Schonhardt, Bergefurd and Muether voted for it; Movshin and Lewie voted against it. Uttley was absent and Nixon abstained.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo

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Previous story:

Hilliard City Council has postponed until July 8 a decision of whether to approve the rezoning necessary for the Jerry Spears Funeral Home to operate in a former church building on Hyde Park Drive.

The 5-0 decision was rendered Monday, June 24. Council President Kelly McGivern and Les Carrier were absent.

July 8 is City Council's final regularly scheduled meeting before its summer recess.

The applicant requested the legislation to tabled “to allow more time to review revised plans,” council Vice President Pete Marsh said.

Council members did not discuss it further.

Bob Spears Jr., one of three family owners of Jerry Spears Funeral Home at 2693 W. Broad St., on Columbus’ Hilltop, has been the primary visitor to council for the the planned-unit-development rezoning application. He was present at the June 24 meeting but did not speak.

After a lengthy public meeting June 10, Spears said he would amend the development plan to increase the number of parking spots from 70 to 80 and relocate the parking-lot entrance about 25 feet to the east.

Additional landscaping also would be added to the development plan, Spears said.

Those changes are expected to be part of a revised development plan City Council is expected to receive Tuesday, June 25, according to council member Andy Teater and council clerk Lynne Fasone.

More than 30 people addressed City Council on June 10 concerning the funeral home during a required public hearing for the second reading of the ordinance, but only one resident spoke June 24.

Ray Watford of Hyde Park Drive said he opposed the funeral home’s opening because it is in a residential area, unlike the city’s only other funeral home, Tidd Family Funeral Home on Norwich Street, which has other nearby commercial uses.

Read the full story in the  June 27 edition of the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo