CONYERS - Scot Ward Funeral Services got an initial recommendation to move forward on plans to build a new funeral home on American Legion Drive.
Ward presented plans for the new facility during this month's meeting of the Conyers-Rockdale Planning Commission where he requested changing the zoning of the 3-acre lot from R-1 residential to O-I office-institutional.
Because the lot is situated between Green Meadow Memorial Gardens and a mausoleum, the planning commission unanimously recommended approval for the change.
The rezoning request goes next to a public hearing by the Board of Commissioners on Thursday. The BOC will vote on the request in another public meeting.
Ward said he plans to continue operating out of the Harry L. White Chapel on Milstead Avenue and move into the new building once construction is completed. Ward has leased the building and 7 acres from the Bowen family since he started his business in 2005.
Ward said the new funeral home will be unique from others in the area and will allow his business to offer various funeral services and merchandise at one location.
Also, he said, the site located near Ga. Highway 138 and Interstate 20 was desirable for attracting customers from outside the county.
"This funeral home is designed to handle the traditional funeral services from our past years as well as more contemporary services that are coming in our future," Ward said.
Cremation services will be offered, but Ward said the funeral home will not house a crematory. A reception hall for visitations, funeral and memorial services will be part of the building. A grief library providing resource material for the grieving process will also be included in the new funeral home.
Ward's family had been in the funeral service business since 1958. They sold the Horis A. Ward Funeral Homes to a corporation in 1993. In 1999, Ward and his father, Richard Ward, founded Scot A. Ward Funeral Services. They purchased the Harry L. White Funeral Home business and Green Meadow Memorial Gardens on American Legion Drive from the Bowen family almost four years ago.
Ward said the Milstead Avenue will be redeveloped into something other than a funeral home, but no plans have been announced.
Jay Jones can be reached at email@example.com.