Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Long-time Sexton Home at Louisville's St. Michael's Cemetery to be Sold, Possibly Rezoned as Duplux

Archdiocese wants to sell former caretaker's house
(Archived article @ ProQuest ~ Courier-Journal archives available with Louisville Free Public Library card)
Martha Elson ~ Courier-Journal (Louisville) ~ 12/8/2010

A large house that once served as an office and caretaker's residence for St. Michael's Cemetery in Germantown would be rezoned as a duplex and sold under a proposed plan by the Archdiocese of Louisville.

The shotgun-style house, with a two-story section in the rear, is owned and rented out by the Archdiocese.

It sits in an unusual spot on Charles Street beside the cemetery entrance gates and extends into the cemetery at the end of Texas Avenue. The 0.2-acre property would become a separate lot, and the zoning would be changed from R-1 single-family to R-6 multifamily under the proposal.

"We have no use for it for cemetery purposes," said Javier FAJARDO, director of Catholic Cemeteries, which oversees St. Michael's from offices in Calvary Cemetery.

The Archdiocese thinks the house would be more appealing and salable as a duplex, said Kenny POPP, the cemeteries' director of operations. "It's a big, big house," he said. "It's a lot of house to heat."

A new owner might want to live in one part and rent out the other for income, or the second residence could be used for another family member, he said. The archdiocese improved and rewired the house and enclosed a back porch, he said.

Kathleen YATES, who has lived across the street from the house for 50 years, said last week that she's concerned more cars might park there if it's a duplex. "The parking's bad anyhow," she said. She also wants to make sure there's not too much activity or commotion - "nothing disrespectful" - next to the cemetery.

"It's such a traditional place," she said. "All my family's buried back there and most of my husband's."

The house on the other side of the entrance gates at the end of Texas is owned by the Metro Housing Authority.

St. Michael's was established in 1851, and Catholic Cemeteries took it over in the 1980s. The house was used as a residence for cemeteries' employees until a couple of years ago, POPP said.

Before that, the cemetery was operated by the parishes of St. Boniface, St. Martin, St. Vincent De Paul and, starting in 1906, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. A large family had been living in the house and operating a small cemetery office in the back, POPP said.

Catholic Cemeteries also oversees Calvary, St. Louis Cemetery on Barret Avenue and St. John Cemetery on Duncan Street in Portland. A second entrance to St. Michael's is on Ellison Avenue.

Comments from agencies about the rezoning request are due this week. A review of the case by the Metro Planning Commission's land-use committee would likely be scheduled for early next year, metro planner Mike WILCHER said.

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