March 24 2016

Planning Board Recommends Zoning Change for New Funeral Home Parking Lot

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend a zoning change for Burlington’s only funeral home during its most recent meeting. 


Kevin Sullivan of Sullivan Funeral Home was at the meeting to get the recommendation to change the zoning of a parcel of land across the street from the funeral home from residential to general business. The purpose is to allow Sullivan to build a 24-space parking lot to handle spillover from the business’s main lot during large funerals. The lot would have one curb cut on Harriett Avenue but would not have one on Ardmore Street. 


The lot had a house on it that was recently demolished. Sullivan said it was a “house of squalor” that did not have working sewage despite someone living there. 


When asked if he would put up screening to lessen the visual impact on the neighborhood around the parcel, Sullivan said he would. 


“Definitely,” he said. “The resident behind the lot has a white fence but we’ll add trees. We want to be good neighbors and if anyone has a request we’ll try to accommodate them.” 

Members of the Planning Board seemed to support the project from the outset. Chairman Barbara L’Heureux said she thought the project would benefit the neighborhood by moving overflow parking off the street. Vice Chair Jack Kelly said the Burlington Police Department report stated the new parking lot would improve safety. 


Not everyone was in favor of it, however. Two neighbors spoke against the proposed project. 


One neighbor said he would like the parcel to remain zoned as residential and said he believes a new parking lot would have an adverse effect on neighbors. 


“It will decrease the value of the neighborhood and will only increase his business,” he said. “Parking is not my problem or the neighborhood’s problem, it’s his problem.”


Another neighbor said she was afraid that if the funeral home were sold another business would move in that would have more constant traffic using the lot. There was also talk of a gate on the lot that would only be opened during funerals to stop customers of other local businesses from parking there. 


Members of the Planning Board stressed that the details of the parking lot would be worked out with a site plan review if Town Meeting approves the zoning change. The board voted 7-0-0 to recommend favorably to Town Meeting the change be approved.  


The lot across from Sullivan's Funeral Home (behind Roma's Bakery)



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