RANCHO CUCAMONGA -- The Planning Commission has formally denied plans by a Houston-based company to build a mortuary on Etiwanda Avenue.
The Wednesday night vote finalizes a 3-2 vote by commissioners on July 25 to deny the project after scores of residents argued that the building of a funeral home in their neighborhood would lower property values, increase traffic and cause psychological distress.
Service Corporation International has 10 business days to appeal to the City Council.
Company officials are considering an appeal, but a formal decision has not been finalized, said Dann Narveson, director of real estate for the Service Corp. International.
"We are certainly considering it and I fully expect it to be the case that we would be filing," Narveson said.
SCI officials had sent a letter to the city asking the commission to postpone its Wednesday vote since Commissioner Lou Munoz was expected to be absent.
"As far as the denial for the extension, thank goodness (the Planning Commission) actually did deny that ... it's really good to hear that the city is acting in the community's best interest and is listening to the community," said resident Joe Russell, who lives on Crawford Place.
Residents are keeping their fingers crossed that there won't be an appeal, Russell said.
If there is, "we're ready to do battle for that and we've already spoken to some lawyers preparing for that if need be," he said.
The mortuary - a 6,911-square-foot, one-story facility - would have been built on vacant land just northwest of where the 15 Freeway and Etiwanda Avenue meet. A U.S. Post Office is located just south of the parcel and Etiwanda Gardens is across the street.
SCI officials described the proposed funeral home as an "attractive, state-of-the-art, full-service facility with accommodations designed to meet the changing needs of families today, including reception space, larger visitation rooms and multimedia capabilities."
Commissioner Ray Wimberly, who voted in July to approve the project because it was consistent with the city's development plan, abstained from voting Wednesday.
Commissioners Richard Fletcher, Frances Howdyshell, and Francisco Oaxaca voted against the project from moving forward.