BROOKVILLE — The Brookville Borough Council were approached by local Lance Carrier about making an amendment to the Office Commercial Zone in the ordinance to include a funeral home, as he would like to open his own business in a building currently zoned OC (Office Commercial District).
Carrier said he is a licensed funeral director and embalmer for the state of Pennsylvania, and he would like to open up his own funeral home in Dr. Jivanial Patel’s old office building on Maplevale Road. Both of the entrances are off of Allegheny Boulevard.
“I don’t want to change the zoning of OC, I just want two words added to the permitted uses, which is ‘funeral homes,’” Carrier said.
He has lived in Brookville all his life, only leaving to go to Pittsburgh for three years for his education, earning a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree in business, and his diploma in funeral directing and embalming.
“That’s what allowed me to come back to my hometown to do a year internship, where I had to do a bunch of requirements and everything to get my license. From there I pretty much went and built my own trade business where I service a multitude of funeral homes across, anywhere from three to five counties on a good month,” Carrier said.
He has been in contact with Bill Kulbacki and Luke Sicard with the county, who told him the building and location would work as a funeral home.
The issue Carrier has run into is what a funeral home is considered in the code. He approached the zoning hearing board, and was denied. The zoning board said that while a funeral home is not specifically designated a permitted use in the OC District, it is essentially a personal service and a professional office activity, which are permitted uses.
“I want to provide goods and services to families at a very vulnerable time in their life, and I think it’s extraordinarily important to our community, a funeral director and how they stand in the community,” Carrier said.
Funeral homes are currently permitted in Downtown Commercial and Transition Zone, but not in Office Commercial. After being denied by the zoning board, Carrier was told to come directly to council to request the amendment to the zoning code.
“I want to have my business here. I went away to school, I had opportunities to go all over the place, and I came back to Brookville because Brookville is my town,” he said.
Carrier also approached all the business owners whose properties adjoin his, and they see no problem with such a business there, according to Carrier. He also had about 200 signatures showing support for his business.
His mother, Jacquelyn Carrier, also addressed the council, saying that her son had known “since he was a teenager what his calling in life was meant to be.” She said he has also shared that he feels “honored and privileged” to be able to do what he has chosen.
She also spoke about how important she believes it is that her son returned to Brookville, and wants to stay here, as many don’t once they finish college.
Jefferson County Coroner Brenda Shumaker also attended the meeting to speak in favor of Carrier and his goal.
“I think that Lance will bring choices, professionalism, and a much needed trade to the Brookville area for many generations to come, not just currently,” Shumaker said. “He’s got the heart, and he’s got the drive. I’ve never seen anybody work as hard as Lance.”
The council showed interest in granting the amendment, and moving the process along, but could not adopt such an ordinance during the meeting. The council approved amending the ordinance, which started the process of Solicitor Jim Dennison drafting the amendment. The drafted amendment will then be brought back to council to approve, which will then have to be advertised.
The possible amendment will appear on the agenda for the first July meeting, which will be an open hearing.