Schaumburg trustees Tuesday allowed on-site cremations at funeral homes in the village providing they apply for and receive a special-use permit.
The change in the zoning code came at the request of Ahlgrim & Sons Funeral and Cremation Services, which saw cremations exceed half of all its funeral services in the past year.
Though the fourth-generation funeral home has long provided cremations by outsourcing them to a reputable business in East Dundee, that arrangement hasn't been meeting the needs of the entire community, co-owner Jim Ahlgrim said.
There are families in the greater Schaumburg area whose ethnic or religious customs call for them to be present at the start of the cremations, he explained. This was not possible when the cremations were taking place at a different location, Ahlgrim said.
Hoffman Estates resident Linda Hayford said she and other residents of the neighborhood behind Ahlgrim & Sons on Golf Road were initially concerned when they first learned of the proposal. She said they were particularly worried about emissions from the cremation equipment.
But she said many of these questions and concerns were addressed by a "very informative" hearing before Schaumburg's zoning board last month. The zoning board recommended approval of the zoning change and most neighbors' fears were allayed, Hayford said, even though they would continue to monitor the situation.
No residents spoke about the zoning change before its approval Tuesday.
Ahlgrim said he would probably apply for the required special-use permit within a week. But he said the time needed to install the equipment and train employees would delay the start of cremations until near the end of the year.