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Cremation service given mixed message at council

Updated: December 11, 2012 1:58PM



CROWN POINT — The City Council voted 4-3 on Dec. 3 to uphold a Board of Zoning Appeals decision not to grant a use-variance in an industrial zone for a cremation service business.

Richard Sallie, petitioner, went to the Board of Zoning Appeals last month wanting to locate a cremation service business in an industrial zone. The original petition asked to allow his cremation service as a variance of use at 850 Madison. Sallie’s original petition requested the variance because a funeral home is not allowed in an industrial zone.

His original petition to the BZA included the fact that he might be holding bodies in a state-required embalming room for one or two days.

At the time the petitioner told the BZA that he would not be doing any embalming at that location, even though he is a licensed funeral director and is capable of providing that service to the families of the deceased.

Sallie told both the BZA, and on Dec. 3 the council, that he was required to have a funeral home license for the property in order to sell the cremation services he wants to offer.

After a lengthy commentary council members and Mayor Dave Uran wanted to make sure that they sounded business friendly and wanted to welcome new businesses to the city. Some of the council members were trying to find ways to allow the cremation service business to be granted the variance.

City Attorney David Nicholls reminded the council that it only had two possible votes on this issue. It came to them from the BZA with a negative recommendation. The council could either vote to affirm the recommendation of the BZA and deny Sallie his requested variance of use, or the council could deny the recommendation of the BZA and grant the petitioner the variance he was requesting.

The motion was made to affirm the recommendation of the BZA and its findings of facts, which would deny Sallie his variance. A yes vote meant that the council upheld the BZA decision in denying Sallie a Variance of Use.

The council vote was 4-3 with Councilmen Bill Feder, D-at large, Councilman Andrew Kyres, D-3rd, and Councilwoman Laura Sauerman, R-4th, voting no. They wanted to grant the variance.

After the vote Sallie was told that to put just a sales office in the industrial zoning area would not require his reapplying to the BZA. If that location were used for anything but a sales office it would be in violation of the zoning code for that area.



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