The East Aurora Village Board, concerned about tearing down buildings for parking, resisted Wood Funeral Home’s bid to demolish a garage and expand its parking from 27 spaces to 40.
“All I want to do is see the alternatives, and I haven’t seen them yet,” Trustee Randolph West said at a meeting Tuesday.
With two board members absent, there were not enough supporters of Wood’s plan for a quorum. The funeral home will come back to the board next month with more options for reconfiguring parking at 784 Main St.
While the 3-2 vote favored letting the funeral home pass its environmental review for the demolition and development, almost everyone on the board complained about losing the garage and its adjoining apartment, signaling that further discussion would be needed for more approvals.
Tax revenue is important from the four-car garage and apartment assessed at $92,000, said Trustee Patrick J. Shea.
“I have to watch out for the taxpayer,” he said.
Trustee Ernest F. Scheer said that he knew of people who needed an apartment and that it was a shame the building wasn’t available for “people who need a place to live.”
The ‘yes’ votes were Trustees Scheer, Shea and Mayor Allan A. Kasprzak. Trustees West and Elizabeth B. Weberg were in the minority with their vote against accepting findings that the tear-down and parking expansion would cause no harm, part of the State Environmental Quality Review.
“I apologize for slowing the process down,” West said.
The funeral home owner and manager said they were surprised by the board’s disdain. They said that parking is in short supply and that renting out the apartment does not fit with the business.
It’s even hard to find a place to put plowed snow, they said.
“We don’t have any room to stack the snow,” said John S. Dengler, owner of seven funeral homes, including Wood.
“We’ll keep our chin up and keep going,” Dengler said. “We’re good neighbors. … We just want to do the right thing.”