The Rancho Cucamonga city council on Wednesday upheld an earlier planning commission decision to deny a conditional use permit to build a funeral home in
The Rancho Cucamonga city council on Wednesday upheld an earlier planning commission decision to deny a conditional use permit to build a funeral home in the Etiwanda area of town after a large number of residents expressed opposition to the project. (Photo by Neil Nisperos/Staff)
RANCHO CUCAMONGA - Residents who fought against having a funeral home in their neighborhood are basking in victory.

City Council members on Wednesday night upheld the Planning Commission's denial in July of the project put forth by Houston-based Service Corp. International.

The single-story funeral home would have been at the southeast corner of Candlewood Street and Etiwanda Avenue, but area residents pushed back against the proposal for months.

"We're just really happy with the outcome and we're really happy it's not (going to) happen," resident Jesse Ortiz said.

Council members echoed the findings of Planning Commission members who argued a funeral home wasn't the right fit for the neighborhood and that the plan had caused enough distress to a large number of residents to warrant denying a conditional use permit.

Hundreds of people attended the council meeting and dozens spoke against the project. The council reached its unanimous decision about midnight.

Members of the council cited the impassioned testimony of residents who spoke against the project on Wednesday night.

Council members said their concerns ranged from what opponents said would be a decrease in home values, increased traffic and psychological harm from having to encounter the thought of death and mortality on a daily basis.

The decision came despite a costly effort by Service Corp. to sway public opinion through public-relations work and the release of new studies related to the impacts on traffic and home values.

Several residents spoke to the council in support of the project, arguing it would be an economic benefit to the city and provide a convenience to residents.

Dann Narveson, Service Corp. real estate director, said he was "very disappointed in the decision."

Narveson said the company would consider its options , although he offered no specifics.

In response to a question about whether there were any other opportunities to build a funeral home elsewhere in the city, Narveson said Service Corp. would have to give the idea "a great deal of consideration."

Last week, the company released a pamphlet countering concerns raised by residents. Titled "We Want to be a Valuable Addition to Your Neighborhood," it argued home values would not fall and traffic would not be significantly impacted.

Service Corp., owns funeral homes in Upland and Ontario and elsewhere in the country.

The funeral home was an allowable use with a conditional use permit under the city's zoning code for the land parcel.

neil.nisperos@inlandnewspapers.com

909-483-9356, @RanchoNow