Family one step closer to funeral home business in Chocowinity

Published 7:49 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — The Board of Commissioners is set to review possible new Chocowinity businesses in the next month.

Owners of Rountree Family Mortuary and Cremation Services has asked the Board to amend rezoning text to pave the way for a funeral home in town.

The amendment includes language that would allow for funeral home to be a “conditional use” in the B1 district.

Keith Mason, town attorney, said there is no prior language in town ordinances to allow that service as either conditional or permitted use.

“Right now, the zoning ordinance in Chocowinity does not allow that type of business as permitted or conditional use.

“Permitted use means they don’t really have to ask questions or jump through additional hoops. Conditional use can only be allowed under conditions,” Mason said.

The family defined a funeral home as “a facility used for the preparation of the deceased for burial and for visitation and for the conduct of memorial and funeral services.” A member of the public asked if the funeral service would include cremations, and Terence Rountree, owner of the funeral service, explained that the funeral home would offer the service, but not in Chocowinity. The cremations will take place in Greenville.
“There wouldn’t be any cremations done here in Chocowinity,” said Rountree.

Mason suggested that since a cremation service would require many more licenses and the Rountree’s have no intention of doing on-site cremating, that the text amendment be changed to specify that the funeral service would exclude cremations.

“That carries a whole lot of other things, and they aren’t trying to cross that bridge just yet,” Mason said.

Ben Rogers, planner at Mid-East Commission, also outlined a parking plan for the funeral service. He suggested that the funeral service have one parking spot per three spaces for the viewing room, and Commissioners agreed with the plan.

The Board of Commissioners approved the rezoning amendment with the addition of two changes: that the amendment excludes cremation and that it adheres to the parking plan.

Next, the Rountree family heads back to the planning board to be approved for a conditional use hearing before the Commissioners.

“Now, they file an application for the conditional use permit, go before the planning board, and assuming [the planning board] recommend that the permit be approved, next month we will have a conditional use hearing,” Mason said.