Commissioners allow church to become a funeral home

Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Services and Crematory plans to transform the Grace Bible Church in Avon into a Simplicity Funeral and Cremation. A zoning board approve the plans. (Photo by Rick Myers)


By Gus Pearcy

The Hendricks County Commissioners have approved a zoning change that would allow J.C. Wilson Inc. to transform an historic church into a funeral home. Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Services and Crematory hopes to transform the Grace Bible Church building on the east edge of Avon into a Simplicity Funeral and Cremation brand home.

The transformation requires a change in zoning to allow for a neighborhood business. The Hendricks Planning Commission voted to recommend the zoning change with the prohibition of the building of a crematory on the property.

The commissioners heard the petition at the Jan. 26 meeting but asked that the new zoning of Neighborhood Business be restricted from such uses as a pub to just the funeral home category. The amendment was completed by the Feb. 9 meeting.

Still, the commissioners were concerned the commercial uses could be expanded to the neighboring farm land.

Attorney Andrew Kult representing J.C. Wilson on the matter, told the commissioners the zoning change they were approving limited the types of uses that could be done in the new district. Plus, the situation of the mortuary taking over an existing building was unique. The proposal was to change the use of an existing building. Changing the use of the farmland would require constructing a new building on the farm land as part of a larger development.

“It’s not even relevant,” Kult told the commissioners. “It doesn’t set any type of precedent.”

Kult added the comprehensive land use plan would require approval for any future commercial development in the area.

Kult also said the funeral home use in the Neighborhood Business zoning category is a special exception to the zone. 

“Special Exception uses are considered appropriate for the given district, but must nonetheless be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals,” Kult said.

Area neighbors were concerned with traffic and the expansion of businesses on the small county road 1050 E. which runs parallel to the Ronald Reagan Parkway.

The BZA will take up the matter at the February meeting.

If the matter is approved, Simplicity could open as soon as Marc