Bronswood, Oak Brook discuss cemetery rules
Updated: July 23, 2012 7:09AM
Oak Brook’s Zoning Board of Appeals will need more time to discuss how the village could regulate cemetery use.
The Zoning Board, following a nearly two-hour debate Tuesday, continued a public hearing on cemetery regulations until August.
Community Development Director Bob Kallien and the village staff had crafted what he called a “reasonable proposal,” and representatives from Bronswood Cemetery voiced their support and concerns about the draft Tuesday.
Three of Oak Brook’s four cemeteries are zoned residential, while Bronswood is zoned institutional. The goal of regulation would be to clean up the zoning, but the key issue is the regulation of any future structures built within cemetery property.
Attorney Norm Chimenti, representing Bronswood, said Bronswood officials would support village regulation and hoped to work with staff to come to an agreement on an ordinance. Bronswood Cemetery was officially sold to StoneMor LP in April.
Chimenti said the cemetery’s concerns included the village’s proposed setbacks. The cemetery proposed its own limits, suggesting 10-foot high burial structures built 25-30 feet from the cemetery property line, 25-foot high burial structures if they are 50 feet from the property line and burial structures 45-feet or more in height if they are more than 100 feet from the property line.
“The visibility of larger structures from off the cemetery site is taken into account,” Chimenti said, adding the mausoleum that started the discussion would not have been permitted if their proposed ordinance was in effect.
The Zoning Board did not discuss what structure regulations it was proposing publicly Monday.
Zoning Board member Steven Young asked staff to look into other regulations of burial structures, including lighting, decorations and seasonal lights, to protect the village in the future.
The board planned to meet with cemetery officials and continue researching regulations in other communities.
“Right now there is a lot of unknown,” Kallien said. “It may be beneficial at some point for the cemeteries to have a neighborhood meeting to share what the ideas are. I think we’re going to need that time.”
Both sides agreed to work together to come up with a clearer proposal in time for the public hearing to be restarted in August.
Cemetery regulation arose after a mausoleum was built late last year a few feet from the Bronswood Cemetery property line on Adams Road. Area residents claimed the structure was too large and too close to the fence for their liking.
Village staff determined the state allows communities to regulate cemeteries within their boundaries, but Oak Brook had no such regulations. After a three-month discussion with the Plan Commission, the matter was sent to the Village Board, which sent it back to the Zoning Board to host the public hearing Tuesday night.
“We’ve been very careful,” Kallien said. “We want to make sure we do this right. Our goal is to create a reasonable set of standards that provide some certainty as we move forward.”