Additionally, council rejected a zone change for a planned-unit development.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- City council has moved to repeal a zone change that would have permitted construction of a funeral home with a cremation furnace on North Broad Street.
A new Higgins-Reardon funeral home was slated to be located on the property, which had been the site of the Old North Church.
On Wednesday, council held a first reading of a motion to repeal a resolution changing the zoning for the property from special to residential-office. The motion's final reading could be held at council's next meeting Feb. 19.
City Manager Charles Tieche said the owner of the Old North Church property asked council to repeal the zone change. Council had approved the change, which would have allowed for the construction of the funeral home, in October.
City residents have since collected about 300 signatures on petitions to place the zone change on the ballot. They objected to having a cremation furnace near the North Broad Street residential neighborhoods, Tieche said.
Higgins-Reardon recently wrote an open letter to city residents stating it would ensure that use of the property was "appropriate and fitting given its rich history." The letter added that the property would be the site of a full-service funeral home, and not just a cremation furnace.
In the letter, the funeral home also states that those who circulated the petitions did not attend city council meetings to express their concerns.
The property owner was concerned that petitions had jeopardized the sale of the property to the funeral home, Tieche said.
On the ballot?
Council had not decided if it should hold a special election for the zone change. The next election in the city will be in November.
Tieche noted that even if the zone change is repealed, the property owner can still ask council for a zone change for the funeral home in the future.
On Wednesday, council also did not approve a request for a zone change that would have allowed for the construction of 17 homes on 7 acres between Sawmill Run Drive and Willow Way. The homes would have been part of a planned-unit development.
Council's vote on the zone change was 1-4, with Sam Boak casting the only vote for approval.
Several residents attended a public hearing Wednesday to express concerns that the development would negatively affect wetlands on the 7 acres, Tieche said. Residents also were concerned that homes in the development would be too close to homes on Willow Way, he said.