Crematory request withdrawn, funeral home planned in city of Loudon

Hugh G. Willett

After several postponements, the city of Loudon Board of Zoning Appeals has approved a request for a funeral home to be located in the old United Community Bank building at state Highway 72 and Maremont Parkway.

The board voted Wednesday to grant Larry Click of Click Funeral Homes a special exception to operate a funeral home at the location.

Click also signed an agreement that withdrew a request to operate a crematory at the location.

Click said he was pleased he can build the funeral home.

“It’s going to be a first-class facility,” he said.

The BZA voted in April and May to postpone a decision on the request for a zoning exemption for the crematory to allow the Loudon Air Quality Task Force to gather more information on the possible environmental and economic impact of the facility.

The Loudon City Planning Commission also voted last month to form a committee to draft a proposal for an ordinance regulating the location of funeral homes in the city. No such regulation exists.

According to Russ Newman, Loudon County planning director, the decision to grant the funeral home permit does not deny Click from making the request to add a “retort” or crematory furnace to his facility in the future. The decision may rest upon the results of the planning commission committee’s recommendations, he said.

Loudon resident Aileen Longmire said she and others opposed to a crematory have collected over 500 signatures on a petition that asks the BZA to deny any future permitting of a crematory or addition of a “retort” to the funeral home.

Click also told the board that he has entered into a lease/purchase agreement for the historic Carmichael Inn in downtown Loudon. The facility, which was operating as a restaurant until it closed about six months ago, will be used to hold funeral services and other gatherings including birthday parties.

Click said he also would like to see the facility provide catering services and to perhaps reopen the restaurant for business during lunch or on weekends.