Geneva aldermen to consider funeral home request to expand parking lot

Malone’s seeks to add 21 parking spots after demolishing neighboring house

GENEVA – Geneva aldermen are expected to take action Monday on a recommendation to allow Malone Funeral Home, 324 E. State St., a special use to demolish a house next door in order to expand its parking lot – and to allow its continued use of the property as a funeral home.

Funeral homes are allowed by special use in the State Street business district, where Malone Funeral Home is located. But does not have the required special use. Owner Dennis Malone is requesting a special use to bring the existing operation at 324 E. State St. into use conformity with the zoning regulations, according to Planning and Zoning Commission records.

Commissioners last week unanimously approved Malone’s request for a special use to continue as a funeral home – and to add 21 parking spaces to its lot after demolishing a house at 314 E. State St. The funeral home currently has 49 spaces.

Malone requested variations to accommodate the proposal, to reduce the street yard parking setback from 30 feet to 8.5 feet and to increase the lot coverage to 74% from 70%.

Attorney Jim Olguin, representing Malone, told the Planning and Zoning Commission that the funeral home has been operating at that location since 1964.

“From an overall review of what we are asking for – that the existing use be formally approved after 50-plus years,” Olguin said.

As to the expansion of the parking lot, Olguin said its intent is to provide safe parking for the people who go to the funeral home.

“Many are elderly, some are handicapped,” Olguin said. “And to provide a place they can park, we maintain snow removal, making it safe for them to cross, rather than forcing them to park on the street or further away on property we might have parking agreements with.”

Removing the building at 314 E. State St. would improve the visual nature of the area, Olguin said.

“We are removing a structure that does impede the light and air, which is one of the items that is up for consideration,” Olguin said. “We are putting some very aesthetic landscaping and other material … we think will be beneficial for the residents in the area.”

As to an objection from a resident, Dr. Rodney Nelson, Olguin said Nelson’s assertion that Malone’s use as a funeral home is not a lawful pre-existing non-conforming use “is not correct for a few different reasons.”

“It’s been functioning in the city for 50 years. There are various building permits and other approvals from the city,” Olguin said.

Olguin also cited a formal settlement agreement between Nelson, the city and the funeral home in which all were in agreement that Malone’s was a permitted as a non-conforming use in that location.