COLUMBIA — The Planning and Zoning Commission approved a request Thursday night by Millard Family Investments to add a 2,508-square-foot addition to the Warren Funeral Chapel building and increase the size of its parking lot.
Millard Family Investments, which owns a number of funeral homes in Central Missouri, bought the building from Warren Funeral Chapel Inc. at the end of March.The funeral chapel has been closed since July 30 because of a court injunction stemming from a lawsuit filed by then-Attorney General Jay Nixon, according to previous Missourian reports. That lawsuit, filed July 25, accused the Warren Funeral Chapel and its owners, Harold Warren Sr. and Harold Warren Jr., of unsanitary conditions and improper storage of bodies.
Michael Berendzen and Nicholas Recker of Marshall Engineering, who are both working on the design of the funeral home located on Ash Street, addressed the commission.
They told the commission that the plans call for removal of existing parking lot pavement in order to replace it with pervious pavement to reduce storm water runoff. A letter from Marshall Engineering to the Planning and Development Department also mentions the possibility of building a rain garden to absorb runoff.
A neighboring business representative suggested adding more lighting in the area to discourage drug activity and said the funeral home's lighting plans would help. The funeral home's designers said they will make sure to have ample lighting on the site.
Commissioner Doug Wheeler said he was thrilled to see this project underway. The other commissioners echoed his sentiments.
However, Commissioner Ann Peters wanted to make sure the water drainage and lighting were going to be addressed in the construction. Recker said they would be. The commission then voted unanimously to approve the building plans.
“The Millard family will be pleased with the results," Berendzen said. "They are looking at this to be a good investment to their business.”
Because the commission voted unanimously to approve them, the building plans will be placed directly on City Council's consent agenda for its June 15 meeting.