By Hannah Curran, Editor
TRUSSVILLE — Serra Hyundai in Trussville plans to extend its parking lot to the property line it shares with a local funeral home, a decision that has unsettled at least one family who has loved ones buried in Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home and Gardens.
Jennifer Bowen took to Facebook to voice her concerns about the parking lot extension. She stated in her post that the car dealership “decided to fill in the creek, tear down the beautiful bridge to walk over, and the beautiful row of peaceful trees that lined the side of the gravesite.
“I don’t think anything can be done to make this right in my eyes,” Bowen stated. “It’s just as simple as this should’ve been handled differently.”
Bowen stated she had reached out to parents whose children are buried along the property line.
“One parent said they had family keepsakes hanging from a tree by their son’s grave and it was all ripped apart when they tore the tree down,” Bowen stated. “A simple heads up could’ve prevented a lot of hurt for these parents.”
Bowen also stated that at the time of the tree removal they were given not a plan on how the cemetery and car dealership were going to be separated.
Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home and Gardens cemetery manager Eric Frederick, was present when workers contracted by the dealership began removing trees on their property to potentially extend the parking lot to their property line. Frederick spoke with the project manager responsible for removing the trees, then reached out to the Serra dealership before speaking with Serra’s attorney.
Frederick said he was trying to enlighten the dealership that families of those buried along the property line may need to be notified before significant changes happen. Frederick noted that after families expressed their concerns regarding the extension he spoke with Serra’s attorney who said they had discussed potentially building a privacy fence between the properties.
“I did ask them what their plans were, and their plans are to expand and put asphalt to the property line,” Frederick said. “But now, they also are planning on putting up a privacy fence. We’ve talked to somebody else in their organization that said they’re planning on doing some things and maybe putting up a privacy fence.”
Several years ago, Mayor Buddy Choat said that Serra asked for the property to be re-zoned for a used car lot, but the council denied the request. Choat explained that Serra recently came back and asked for the property to be re-zoned so it could be turned into another Serra dealership, and the property rezoning was approved.
Related Story: Trussville denies rezoning of Eastminster property
Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home and Gardens General Manager Eddie Seal said they are working with Serra Hyundai to improve the situation.
The Tribune has reached out to representatives of Serra Hyundai for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publishing.