COLUMBIA — The commercial rezoning of an abandoned church on East Texas and North Garth avenues to accommodate a funeral home was approved by the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday.
City staff also recommended the approval, in a report prepared by senior city planner Chuck Bondra.
Peter Anger, spokesman for the Parkade Neighborhood Association, spoke against the rezoning of the church to commercial zoning. He said he wants the zoning rules to be changed to allow mortuaries without crematories to be allowed in office zoning.
"I don't have a problem with the funeral home without a crematory in (the lot)," Anger said. "I know it takes a little more time, but zoning is forever, and businesses are not forever."
Dan Simon, attorney for Carr-Yager Funeral Home, said the funeral home cannot and will not wait for the city to change it's ordinance.
The rezoning specifications stipulate that the funeral home may not make any structural changes to the property, which is now an abandoned Church of God and parsonage. Landscape and cosmetic changes, such as planting bushes and painting the buildings, are allowed.
Commissioner Glenn Rice suggested changing the office zoning rules and having Carr-Yager come back to the commission to request to rezone the property to office zoning. However, it would cost time and money to Carr-Yager.
The commission said it is going to look into changing the office zoning regulations in the future.