Arlington Heights Village Board Denies Funeral Home Construction Near Waterman and Euclid


The proposal to relocate Lauterberg & Oehler Funeral Home from its current location on Northwest Highway to Memory Gardens Cemetery at the corner of Euclid and Waterman was rejected at a Village board meeting Monday night.

The village board voted 6-2 against an ordinance that would have allowed the construction project to begin at the west end of Memory Gardens Cemetery. Thomas Hayes and Helen Jensen voted for the project’s approval. A preliminary vote July 20 to allow the ordinance variance was 7-1 in favor of Lauterburg and Oehler Funeral Home.

Service Corporation International, owner of both the cemetery and the funeral home, was seeking a zoning variance to build in the cemetery, but the plans failed because SCI, which owns the cemetery and the funeral home, would not agree to move the funeral home further east.

Service Corporation International options are to move the project further east, at additional expense, or find another property location.

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1 Comment

  1. Regarding the funeral home issue, the project was denied because SCI did not meet the 3 essential criteria, in particular the hardship criteria needed to allow for a variance. According to village and IL law, ALL 3 criteria would have to be met. It was very evident that their hardship, described as not being able to generate a reasonable return on the 2.4 acres involved, was self inflicted. SCI claimed that the parcel of land is not being used for burials and is therefore not generating income. They further went on to say that it would be more than 200 years before people would be buried on these acres – assuming these were the LAST 2.4 acres to be used out of the remaining 34 available acres on their property. The village attorney said it best when he stated “this is the farthest reach” of an explanation for hardship he had ever heard.

    The board also expressed their concern for the lack of upkeep of the property, citing issues with fencing, mausoleum decay, trash pickup, and landscape condition. While SCI has been attempting to “fix” some of these issues leading up to this board meeting, the reality is where has the upkeep been for the past 12 years?

    The board was being kind, and possibly incorrect, by implying that SCI could build this project if they moved it 100 ft to the east away from the residents. This option was presented several times by different board members and each time SCI claimed they had no interest in doing so due to additional cost. SCI still has an approved variance, issued in 2001, allowing for an addition to their building in the center of the cemetery that they could potentially exercise turning it into a funeral home, but SCI clearly stated in the proceedings that this option did not fit with their current business model.

    Based on village code and IL law, SCI would still have to prove that their return on the land was not good based on it’s current zoning. This begs the question, could the board really allow such a development to take place 100 ft east if the hardship criteria still cannot be proven?

    In the meantime, Lauterberg-Oehler Funeral Home (also an SCI property), which was to be relocated to this new parcel, has other options. They could improve their current facility, find another piece of property in town (Arlington Market?), or make a third attempt to make something happen at the cemetery. At least, for the moment, the corner of Waterman and Euclid still has its 220 trees and “forest preserve” feel – something that the neighborhood has come to appreciate that much more.

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