Supervisors unanimously approve funeral home
Cesar Dominguez was met with applause, hugs and handshakes as he walked out of the Yuma County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday with a green light to build his funeral home in the south county.
More than 20 friends, family members and other supporters attended the meeting on behalf of Dominguez as supervisors unanimously approved his request for a special use permit for the construction of the funeral home, to be located on the northeast corner of Avenue B and County 16th Street.
The approval comes after the board previously denied the permit on Dec. 1 on a 4-0 vote. And it comes after battling opponents who Dominguez said were either circulating a petition against the mortuary or spreading false information that he was going to build a cemetery and a crematory.
Dominguez told supervisors he walked the streets of the Rancho Mesa Verde subdivision and Orange Grove Mobile Home Park to explain to residents that he was planning to build a mortuary only. He said the residents had misunderstood that he had wanted to build an open-air crematory.
The board meeting took nearly two hours as supervisors listened to comments in opposition to the funeral home from two owners of property near the site and from nine people who spoke in favor of the home.
Supervisors heard comments that the funeral home should be built somewhere closer to San Luis, where there is a need for a mortuary due to the city's rapid growth.
Another resident said already heavy traffic at Avenue B and County 16th would increase with the opening of a funeral home.
Frank Sanchez, civil engineer for the Yuma County Department of Development Services, said in a letter to Dominguez that the county is planning to improve this intersection by installing a four-way flashing red beacon.
Dominguez presented supervisors with letters from the city councils of Somerton and San Luis, Ariz., saying they unanimously approved of the funeral home and that such a service is needed in the south county.
"I thank God I had a lot of community support and that the (board members) listened to the people," Dominguez said after the vote.
Dominguez said it took him 2. years to get approved for a small business loan after taking out a second mortgage on his home and tapping into his retirement accounts from his job as a firefighter/paramedic for the city of Yuma.
He added friends and family helped him and that he used every credit card to purchase the 10-acre parcel of land where the funeral home will be built. He has spent the past nine months seeking approval for the special use permit, he said.
"The community and friends came together for me," Dominguez said. "Especially since it's going to be a family-oriented funeral home."
Dominguez said construction should start in about two months and is scheduled to take about eight months.
Supervisors Chairwoman Lucy Shipp said she had been concerned about the location of the funeral home since the board received the application, but she decided to vote for the funeral home because of the need in Somerton and San Luis.
"There is no doubt we need a funeral home in south county," Shipp said.
Jacob Lopez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6872.