Belen, NM

Good afternoon,

I live in Belen, New Mexico. I have been doing a lot of research on crematories when I ran into some information that you had put
out on the internet.
Your situation sounded so much like the issue that are up against.
The funeral home in our neighborhood is wanting to get a special permit to allow them to install a crematory on their property. This is in a residental neighborhood and across the street from a daycare and pulic park.
The children play in the park and in the summer they have the free lunches program provided at that park. Also we have a farmers market in the summertime.
We live directly across the street from where they want to build.

Please if you can help us in anyway we would appreciate it. Looks like you have been through this and I’m not sure if the outcome was posted.

Thank you so much


We went 3 different times to the City and they were turned down all 3 times. We had just read in the local paper that they were looking at a different property to build the crematory which is away from our area.
Thank you for your help.
Hopefully this will not come up again!

Proposed Crematorium in Belen Spurs Controversy

By   Jan 06, 2014

BELEN, N.M. —A controversy in Belen is brewing over a proposed crematorium.

Some worry the smoke it produces would be dangerous to residents’ health.

The controversy started in May when Noblin Funeral Service first began discussing plans for the crematorium. The community had a chance to voice opinions about it at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The funeral service has been trying to get approval for months.

Some residents are concerned burning bodies can release mercury from cavity fillings into the air and how that may affect children playing at a nearby playground in Belen.

The Environment Protection Agency doesn’t regulate the emissions produced by crematories. However, according to the L.A. Times, the EPA said the amount of mercury produced by crematories is minimal.

No final action will be taken Monday, as it’s just a discussion on the proposal.

The funeral service said if they’re unable to get approval, they may consider resolving the roadblock in court. If it does get approval, the service will begin building the crematory in the spring. Construction is expected to take six months.

Councilors deny building Belen crematory

Councilors deny building Belen crematory.

Posted January 24, 2014

Councilors vote down Belen crematory

BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – It looks like a proposed crematorium in the center of a New Mexico town isn’t going to happen.

For the second time in less than a year, city councilors in Belen denied the owner of Noblin Funeral Services a zone change that would have allowed him to build a crematory on his property.

Residents in Belen are worried about the ash and smell if the crematory were to be built just off Main Street right next to Anna Becker Park.

But Robert Noblin says the emissions aren’t noticeable and the town needs a crematory.

It’s unknown if he’ll try again.

Belen funeral service hopes to build crematory

Belen P&Z recommends crematorium

The third time just might be the charm for Robert Noblin’s plan to bring a crematorium to the city of Belen.

With a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Belen Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the approval a special use zone overlay permit for the purpose of placing a crematorium in an existing structure at 109 S. First St.

The owners of the property, Mike and Mary Merrell, requested the permit with the intention of selling it to Noblin, owner of Noblin Funeral Services.

On two previous occasions, Belen city councilors denied Noblin’s zone change request to place a crematorium at his property on Reinken Avenue, noting that it was too close to Anna Becker Park and residents who weren’t in favor of an operation of this sort in their neighborhood.

The recommendation was approved by the commission Tuesday without any opposition from the audience, and Steve Tomita, the city’s planning and zoning director, said he hadn’t received any letters or phone calls from anyone opposing the zone change.

The issue will now be considered by the city council at its Monday, Dec. 15, meeting.

“My wife and I own the property at 109 S. First St., and we wish to sell it to Robert Noblin,” said Mike Merrell. “When Mr. Noblin approached me, I was a little skeptical about the whole situation. After he gave me all the technical information, I studied it and gave it to my engineer son to know that there’s no fall out or emissions from this thing, I felt better.”

Merrell noted that the other crematorium in Valencia County on Aragon Road is next to an apartment complex, and that he had drove by about four to five other crematoriums in Albuquerque that were near churches, restaurants and other businesses.

“Where we live, we’re right across from the train station, and I can ensure you that those trains with all those diesel engines, they put out a lot more emissions that this would,” Merrell said. “This just makes sense. I don’t see a down side to this.

“Even though my wife and I moved to Albuquerque, because our jobs took us there, we still love Belen and we wouldn’t do anything to hurt Belen.”

Merrell said the large garage on the property would be the structure in which the crematory would be situated.

Noblin also addressed the commission, saying that 65 to 70 percent of his customers prefer cremation. He told the commission he had all the information about the crematory and if the commissioners wanted to go over it again, he would but “We’ve been here before and I don’t want to beat a horse to death over a crematory.”

He also told the commissioners that while he still believes the location on Reinken is the ideal location for a crematory, saying “just because you don’t win the battle doesn’t mean you always win the war.”

Noblin said he will be living on the property and the crematory will be housed in one of the two large garages that are already built.

Tom Greer, the chairman of the commission, said he read all the previous commission and council transcripts regarding the previous location, and said he believes the main objection had to deal with the proximity in the neighborhood and the park.

“In my personal opinion, this new location solves this issue, and it keeps the gross receipts taxes in Belen and it also moves Robert to Belen from Las Maravillas,” Greer said. “So we get him as a resident of Belen, which is a positive as well.”

After Tuesday’s meeting, both Merrell and Noblin thanked the commissioners for their recommendation.

“I’m glad that the planning and zoning commission saw this as a positive for Belen and I think they made the right decision,” Noblin said. “I look forward to moving on to the city council.”

Noblin says if the city council approves the zone change on First Street, the crematory will be in place in about six months.

After the meeting, Commissioner Roderick Storey announced he would be stepping down from the commission after 10 years, saying he had “too much going on” to be able to continue.

Tomita also announced that Commissioner Selma Martinez had also resigned from the commission last week.

Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova announced at Monday’s city council meeting that he will be looking at replacing the positions on the commission.


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