Monday night, the Arlington Heights village board will vote on a proposal to build a new Lauterberg & Oehler funeral home on cemetery land at the corner of Euclid and Waterman streets.
"They should use their other opportunities and not try and force this one down our throats," said Traxler, who wants a single-family house to be built on the property.
At a May plan commission meeting, Larry Michael - who works for Service Corporation International, or SCI, which owns the cemetery, called Memory Gardens, and a funeral home at a separate site - said the company has tried to sell the corner property unsuccessfully for over 10 years, due to soil and drainage problems.
Jim Murray, manager of the funeral home, said he has amended his plans in response to community concerns and he does not believe the company has other options.
"We've worked with the village staff to meet whatever changes they have asked us to do," Murray said.
In the original proposal there was parking on the west side of the funeral home. After residents expressed concern, the building was moved to the west so all parking is now on the east and south sides. A garage and three additional layers of landscaping have also been added to the plans.
"That is in direct response to the neighbors' concern," Murray said.
The current funeral house, 2000 E. Northwest Hwy., was constructed in 1958 and Murray said repairs would be too costly to be economically feasible.
At the plan commission meeting, residents Ed Godberry and Holly Grossman said they think the funeral home would decrease home values. Increased traffic has also been a concern for neighborhood residents.
At the May meeting, resident Tom Waltrich said the intersection at Waterman and Euclid is "a bear" to deal with.
Greg Schmidt of RJ Schmidt & Associates in Arlington Heights said his firm conducted a study for the funeral home of housing markets near funeral homes and found no decline in housing value.
A local Realtor took a somewhat different view. While being near a funeral home can be a detriment, a cemetery is just as likely to keep potential home buyers away, said Mary Temme, a sales agent from Century 21 Temme and Temme Inc. in Palatine, when asked for her professional opinion on the issue.
The traffic analysis conducted for the project showed no significant impact on congestion, said Matt Dabrowski, development planner for the village, who has been in charge of reviewing the proposal.
In an e-mail, Arlington Heights resident Jim Grossman said he believes SCI is setting the stage to develop a crematorium, which he said would decrease home values.
Murray said there are no plans for a crematory. Village officials said the owner would have to go through the same extended process to get approval to operate a crematorium as is required to open the funeral home. SCI has agreed to a regulation that prohibits a crematory on the site, spokeswoman Jennifer Brandino wrote in an e-mail.
At the planning commission meeting, Arlington Heights resident Bob Hess stressed his support for the project, saying the corner plot is ugly and poorly maintained.
Also backing the project is the Rev. Thomas R. von Behren of the Clerics of St. Viator, on Euclid Street.
"We're supporting their determination and judgment that they need a new facility in order to meet the current needs of the clients," he said, adding he would hate to see Memory Gardens leave Arlington Heights.
"They've been a good solid member of the Arlington Heights community and a solid contributing business within our community," he said.