Lake Zurich village board members have given preliminary support to a plan for a funeral home and crematory, allowing it to proceed through an approval process.
Jack Davenport received the early thumbs-up after the village board Tuesday night provided an informal courtesy review of his plan for part of a roughly 5-acre site off South Old Rand Road near Rand Road. He and his wife, Lisa, own Davenport Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, which has locations in Barrington and Crystal Lake.
Davenport said the facility would be a traditional brick structure over nearly 2 acres, similar to the family's Crystal Lake operation. He said it would be a good site for his business, in part, because of its proximity to churches
"More and more families are opting for cremation," Davenport said. "And that provides value and peace of mind to the families that we serve that come to the funeral home and say their goodbyes to their loved one, knowing the cremation takes place right there."
While the crematory part of the funeral home isn't supposed to result in odor wafting to neighboring properties, Trustee Jeffrey Halen asked Davenport to explain the process.
"The crematory itself has the main chamber where the person is placed," Davenport told the elected officials. "The walls are, I believe, a 10-inch-thick brick design with a concrete floor. And so what happens is, there's a burner that actually provides the cremation process.
"And then, the smoke that is manufactured from that process goes through a chamber where it comes in contact with what's called an afterburner. That's another flame that burns up any smoke or odor. That afterburner combusts all of the smoke. So, really, the only thing that comes out of the (building's) stack is heat residue."
Trustees favored Davenport continuing through the village's approval process before the advisory plan commission. After a hearing, the plan commission's recommendation on whether a special-use permit should be granted for the funeral parlor would be voted on by the village board, which has the final say on issues.
Trustee Jonathan Sprawka was among the officials who voiced preliminary support for the proposal.
"I think this is a great addition to the community," Sprawka said, "and definitely, with the addition of the crematorium, it would serve the needs of several folks in our community. It'll be a great option for them."
Sprawka added that Davenport's building, coupled with a new Marathon gasoline station food mart planned at Rand and Old Rand, would enhance the appearance of the village's southern gateway.