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New London pursues rezoning

Funeral home needs storage, second parking lot

By Scott Bellile

The city of New London is working to rezone a property so Cline and Hanson Funeral Home can add on to its business.

Cline and Hanson, 209 W. Cook St., purchased the home to its east, 415 Smith St., back in February. If the rezoning process is completed, then Cline and Hanson plans to demolish the house this spring and add on garage stalls and a 15-space parking lot in the summer or fall.

A 20-stall parking lot on the building’s west side now fills up during funeral wakes, forcing other cars to park along Cook Street, according to Cline and Hanson owner Kent Rusch. He said the proposed east-side parking lot “won’t take all the traffic off the street, but it’ll relieve some of the congestion, we’re hoping.”

As for the need for additional storage space, Rusch said, “We’re kind of stretched to the limit. In fact, we keep our hearse out at Ebbens’ storage shed … because we just don’t have enough garage space.”

The parcel at 415 Smith St. is currently zoned as a Single Family Residential unit. It needs to be rezoned to a Commercial unit before Cline and Hanson can begin building on it.

On Thursday, March 31, New London’s planning commission recommended an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan’s Future Land Use Map. This amendment will change the parcel along with two others across the street from Single Family Residential to Commercial.

A public hearing on this amendment will be held at the May 10, 2016 Council meeting. After the public hearing, the Council will adopt a resolution approved by the planning commission and then adopt an ordinance approving the amendment.

The next step then is a rezoning of 415 Smith St. Once the property is rezoned, an addition to Cline and Hanson may be constructed. In the meantime, demolition of the vacant house on the property can take place.

The 102-year-old funeral home had been trying to acquire 415 Smith St. for over 30 years, Rusch said.

Another business Rusch is involved with, Amazing Low Prices Furniture Store next to the Wolf River Plaza, plans to build on a storage space for inventory beginning as soon as this summer.

“We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now,” Rusch said. “I think that’s good for New London to see people doing stuff and improving on the city.”

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