Zoning ordinance approved for First Presbyterian columbarium

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, July 9, 2012

The Planning Commission, in GreerToday, approved First Presbyterian Church's request for rezoning (BZ-U) for a business with special use permit to build a columbarium with five units and 288 spaces. The church is at 100 School Street.

Glenn Pace, City Zoning Coordinator, said the zoning ordinance has been cleared to allow the use with special exception.  “The staff believes this use would not adversely impact the surrounding neighbors,” Pace said. “Therefore our staff recommends approval of the ordinance with special exception.”

A columbarium is a place for the respectful and public storage of urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains.

Leland Burch, a member of First Presbyterian told the commission members, “We urge your approval of this schematic. People passing by walking or driving won’t be able to notice (the columbarium),” Burch said.

There was no other comment in favor or against the measure.

Commission chairman T.D. Campbell asked Burch if the “Older members of the church gave its approval.” Burch confirmed they did and there was no controversy.

Burch said the columbarium will be handicapped accessible, made from brick and will not distract from the area. The structures will be built in a courtyard-style setting, some double stacked and some double faced.

First Presbyterian members have begun putting their names on a list to purchase the storage cells when pricing is finalized.

The cost of the project and individual units were not disclosed. “I’m not anxious to be the first one, myself,” Burch said with a laugh.

Members voting for approval were Thomas McAbee, Michael Montgomery, Kevin Tumbler, new commissioner Lynn Stewart and Campbell. Loan Nelson and Glendora Massey (on vacation) were absent.

Greer City Council will give two readings before the columbarium is approved. Council meets at 6:30 Tuesday and may give first reading to the measure.

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