Bethany OK


Crematory White Paper Bethany OK

Bethany Residents Concerned Over Plans Of Crematorium
Posted: Dec 31, 2014 5:35 PM EST
Updated: Dec 31, 2014 5:35 PM EST
By Christy Lewis

BETHANY, Oklahoma – Neighbors in Bethany expressed concerns about a funeral home and crematory possibly being built near their homes.

The president of Mercer-Adams Funeral Service asked the City of Bethany to rezone the plot of land at 4107 N. Council Road. The land is between what will be a new Sears home store and an assisted living facility.

A fence separates the Brownsville neighborhood from the back of the property where the business would be built.

Paul Andrews said his home would basically be in the backyard of the new facility. He said he and other homeowners support crematory services, but not on that land. “We just feel that a crematory is way too intense of a land use issue here next to all these homes, particularly next to an elderly assisted living facility,” he said. “It’s just a bad location.”

City officials said the land is currently zoned for commercial retail. The request was submitted to change the land’s zoning to specifically allow a funeral home and crematory to be built on it.

Andrews said he’s worried about a possible odor from the facility and a possible change in property values. He said he has been passing out fliers to residents in the area. “I wanted people to be aware of what’s actually going to go in over there,” he explained.

Gary Mercer, the president of Mercer-Adams, said the new business wouldn’t be anything to worry about. Ironically, Mercer lives in the area near the proposed business, too.

“The odor is actually non-existent. There is a little bit of smoke when the cardboard container that a person is in initially catches fire in the cremator, but beyond that, you hit 1700 degrees and everything is re-burned essentially and there is virtually no smoke,” Mercer told News 9.

Efforts to speak with the regional Oklahoma office of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Cremation Association of North America were unsuccessful Wednesday.

The motivation for a new facility for Mercer was in response to cremation rates, he said. They have tripled in the last 25 year, according to Mercer. He said it would be beneficial for the business to have its own crematory, instead of contracting with a third party.

But what Mercer considers good intentions are not good enough for Andrews and his neighbors. Andrews said he plans to continue to protest the possibility of rezoning the land at the next hearing. “It’s important to air on the side of safety when it comes to our public health,” Andrews said.

The next planning and zoning hearing for this issue is set for Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. Andrews said a preliminary opposition hearing is scheduled for Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at Bethany City Hall.
Full story here:

News 9: Bethany Residents Voice Concerns Over Proposed Crematorium At Public Meeting Published: January 16, 2015
Posted: Jan 16, 2015 12:47 AM EST Updated: Jan 16, 2015 12:47 AM EST
BETHANY, Oklahoma – Neighbors in Bethany push back against a plan for a new crematorium. They say it would be too close for comfort, and now they’re speaking out in front of the city and the company. This isn’t the first time this new proposal has been brought up, and won’t be the last either.

The place was packed, and there was standing room only. Many Bethany showed up to express their interest and concern about the second item on the agenda, a proposed crematorium in the 4100 block of North Council road.

It’s the first time the public had a chance to chime in about the matter, but before a spokesperson for the residents spoke, the crowd heard from Mercer-Adams funeral home proposing the crematorium. There are 10 places in the metro providing the services.

Raising more concerns was some of the information shared by the Tulsa based company that manufactures crematoriums. During that presentation folks in the attendance learned that there are no state requirements or certification for crematorium operators, and that there are no inspections by the state of individual crematoriums once they are in place.

Other details about the set up include two crematorium chambers reaching temperatures up to 1800 degrees. What human remains don’t turn into hot gas and exit out the top of the stack fall to the bottom. Each stack, which is the chimney like structure, has to be at least 13 feet tall to operate properly, but code requirements in this case call for 15 feet.

Citizens voiced concerns over a decrease in property values which effect revenue for the school system. The matter will be heard by the city council on February 17. FEB 3 2015

Property owners oppose plans for Bethany crematorium
Bethany property owners oppose the construction of a crematorium and new funeral home. Some don’t like the crematorium being built next to an assisted living home. Planning commissioners will make a recommendation at a meeting Thursday.
by Diana Baldwin Modified: February 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm • Published: February 3, 2015 NEWS OK

BETHANY — More than 245 letters have been sent to city hall protesting the rezoning of land to build a crematorium and new funeral home next to an assisted-living home.

Homeowners are concerned about their property values, air quality and appropriateness of a crematorium. The building is planned at 4107 N Council Road by Mercer-Adams Funeral Service.

Julie Shannon, Bethany’s community development director, said the application is to rezone vacant commercial shopping property to allow the crematorium.

The city’s planning and zoning commission held a conceptional meeting Jan. 15 where there was strong opposition to the rezoning. No vote was taken at that meeting.

Planning members will make a recommendation to the city council when they meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the council chambers, 6700 NW 36. The council is expected to make a final decision on Feb. 17.

In her recommendation, Shannon said the funeral home has a long track record of maintaining an attractive and reputable business in Bethany.

“However, the last (planning and zoning) meeting was full of community members who opposed this rezoning proposal,” Shannon said. “The purpose of public meetings is for the public to have a voice in land-use decisions. They are expressing strong opposition.”

Opponent Jane Foreman told city officials a crematorium should be built outside the city limits.

“The homeowners need to be taken into consideration,” Foreman, 7925 NW 40, wrote in her letter to the city. “We have a lifetime investment in our homes and when we bought, did not expect zoning to be open for this type of business.

“We will have to look at it, smell it and breathe the air that comes from it.”

“I am concerned about the toxicity and quantity of the emissions,” Kathleen S. Wyche, 7708 NW 28 Terrace, wrote in her letter to the city.

Karol Shepherd, Bethany Sterling House executive director, located next door to the proposed crematorium, is against the project.
The crematorium will have an adverse psychological impact on the residents who live within 100 feet of the proposed funeral home. The 23 residents are between the ages of 70 and 104, Shepherd said.

“We try to create an environment for our residents that focuses on possibilities rather than limitations and provides a foundation for a positive aging experience,” Shepherd said. “We are greatly concerned that the presence of a crematory will undermine this.”

She said crematories emit smoke and other pollutants, such as mercury.

Gary Mercer, president of Mercer-Adams Funeral Service, said people are misinformed due to information found on the Internet.

“The most disturbing thing is people are finding things on the Internet that are not thoroughly researched,” Mercer said.

He said the information being circulated is not true.

“Other communities have crematories,” Mercer said. “You don’t even know if someone is being cremated.”

Edmond, Midwest City and Del City have crematoriums operating in city limits.

The Mercers plan to construct a $1 million, 10,000-square-foot building with a second chapel and reception area. Now, they have to take bodies at their funeral home to be refrigerated and cremated elsewhere.

“We want to make sure we have control,” Mercer said.

They plan to keep their funeral home and chapel open at 3925 N Asbury in Bethany.

Big Turnout At Bethany City Council Meeting Regarding Possible Crematory
Posted: Feb 17, 2015 11:18 PM EST Updated: Feb 17, 2015 11:18 PM EST

BETHANY, Oklahoma – A meeting to decide whether a metro funeral home director can build a crematory near a Bethany neighborhood lasted at least three hours Tuesday night.
The city council was set to give a final answer on rezoning a plot of land near an assisted living facility and several homes.

The topic has been met with considerable protest from residents, regarding potential smell or contamination of the air and possible change in property value.

Mercer-Adams Funeral Homes said it hoped to keep up with increasing demand by building a funeral home and crematory at 4107 N. Council Road.

Bethany residents concerned about proposed crematory

OKLAHOMA CITY — Residents are outraged at a proposed funeral home and crematory on North Council Rd. It would be just feet away from a neighborhood and right next door to a senior living center.

“If I knew a crematorium was going in there, I would have never bought a house here,” John Flynn said.

Mercer-Adams Funeral Service says it needs more room and a crematory, which would be built on the back side of the building.

“The cremation percentage has increased to the point where its economically feasible to have our own,” Gary Mercer said.

But a group of neighbors say they don’t want the smell of death floating in their backyard. They are also concerned about mercury being released into the air.

“If you have mercury amalgams in your mouth from dental work there will be mercury emissions, and many older people do,” Lucinda Ritchey said.

Residents also worry their property values could decrease. President of Mercer-Adams Funeral Service, Gary Mercer, says those are just fears.

“There’s no place here in the metro area that has a crematory nearby properties in the northwest quadrant of Oklahoma City that has been negatively impacted by a crematory,” Mercer said.

So we asked someone who currently lives near one. One woman says she was originally opposed to a crematory being built across the street from her in Edmond, but after it was built she says nothing changed, and there is no smell.

But that doesn’t change the minds of some Bethany residents.

“The entire community is against it, and we’re counting on our city council to protect us like they promised they would when we elected them,” Kevin Davis said.

The Department of Environmental Quality says crematory emissions are not high enough for them to need a permit.

Bethany City Council Approves Crematory Near Homes
Posted: Feb 18, 2015 10:24 AM EST Updated: Feb 18, 2015 10:47 AM EST

BETHANY, Oklahoma – A standing room only Bethany City Council meeting ended with a 5-4 vote in favor of a zoning change, and many upset residents.
Mercer-Adams Funeral home wants to build a funeral home with a crematory on a plot of land on the 4100 block of Council Road, just south of the 39th Street Expressway.

The owners said they want to keep up with requests to provide cremation services instead of using a third party.

Matt Schinske said he was able to gather 300 signatures against the proposal. Many people say they are concerned about potential smells, possible exposure to mercury, and decreasing property values.

“It’s right by Sterling House of Bethany, a senior adult living center. 6 of their residents will be looking out at it, sipping a cup of coffee and realizing they see a person going up in smoke. It’s emotionally devastating for that person,” said Schinske.

The Bethany City Council meeting lasted four hours.

Concerned residents pack Bethany City Hall over crematorium debate
Posted: Feb 18, 2015 12:08 AM EST
Updated: Mar 11, 2015 1:21 AM EDT
By: Rebecca Schleicher, Primetime Reporter FOX 25

Staff from a family business in Bethany squared-off against hundreds of neighbors at a Bethany city council meeting Tuesday.

Staff from the Mercer-Adams Funeral Home were on hand at the Bethany City Council meeting Tuesday to ask the city for a zoning change in order to build a crematorium on Council Road, near the 39th Expressway. The new crematorium would back up to dozens of homes in the area and neighbors showed their displeasure with the plan at the meeting. After nearly five hours, the council voted in favor of the re-zone 5-4.

Plans for the crematorium include a new building, a second chapel and a crematorium. Staff says the new change is to keep up with demand from their client families. Cremations now make up more than 30 percent of their burials and they are having to contract business to another home.

Nearly 300 neighbors wrote to the Bethany asking council members to oppose the rezoning request. The neighbors worry about health, more traffic and the possibility of a smell.

Karol Shepherd with the Sterling House, an assisted living home right next door, says she upset with the plans.

“It will become a three-story neighborhood icon that regularly spews smoke and though there are claims that it will not smoke, there is no evidence backing up those claims,” Shepherd said.

Funeral Director Tim Adams says the crematorium will not put off any smoke.

“There is no smell, no smoke of any kind. There could be with larger individuals, so that’s something we would do out of house,” Adams said.

72 percent of residents who live within 300 feet of the lot in question wrote officials to vote against the proposal. They were told by the city that if more than half of the nearby residents official opposed the plan, they would need a supermajority within city council to pass the proposal. At the meeting Tuesday, the city attorney said he found a case that showed that legal argument would not hold up in district court.

Residents Upset After Bethany City Council Approves Crematorium
Posted: Feb 18, 2015 5:25 PM EST Updated: Feb 18, 2015 5:25 PM EST
BETHANY, Oklahoma – Despite watching Youtube video that some may find disturbing, the Bethany City Council approved a plan to build a crematorium.
A standing room only Bethany City Council meeting ended with a 5-4 vote in favor of a zoning change. (See Youtube video here:

Mercer-Adams Funeral home wants to build a funeral home with a crematorium on a plot of land on the 4100 block of Council Road, just south of the 39th Street Expressway. The owners said they want to keep up with requests to provide cremation services instead of using a third party.

Those opposed to the plan showed council member a Youtube video of OKC Mortuary Service off NE 23rd near the Capitol captured last year. It shows thick black smoke coming from the facility.

You can also hear an employee’s explanation for the black smoke. The worker is heard saying embalmers brought in an obese lady.

“Usually, if they are obese they have a darker smoke,” the OKC Mortuary Service employee is heard saying.

OKC Mortuary Service told News 9 the smoke caught on camera is an extremely rare occurrence. The facility completes 250 to 300 cremations a month and only one or two a year will produce black smoke like the one seen in the video according to the owner.

Mercer-Adams contracted out 110 cremations last year. Owner Gary Mercer said the cremations at their facility will have no odor and produce very little smoke.

“It’s right by Sterling House of Bethany, a senior adult living center. Six of their residents will be looking out at it, sipping a cup of coffee and realizing they see a person going up in smoke. It’s emotionally devastating for that person,” said Matt Schinske, who is opposed to the rezoning.

The Bethany City Council meeting lasted four hours. Mecer-Adams hopes to break ground in the spring.

The Lost Ogle: Bethany is finally getting a crematorium … Feb 24, 2015
Looking for another reason to never move to Bethany? Today’s your lucky day.

Over the past few months, the sleepy, white, conservative, Nazarene / Baptist community in the northwest metro that continues to elect Sally Kern to office has been embroiled in a heated controversy over plans to build a crematorium next to one of the city’s few remaining upscale neighborhoods, Brownsville.

Well, at least I think Brownsville is still upscale. If you’re a loyal reader to this blog, you may be aware that I spent my torturous middle school and high school years right outside of Bethany near NW 16th and Council Road. Back then, Brownsville was the fancy neighborhood where all the “rich” popular kids who got new cars for their birthday lived. Flash forward 20-years, any my parents – two lifelong state employees – now call the neighborhood their home. Something tells me the rich kids don’t live there anymore.

Anyway, the new crematorium has some people in the area, especially my dad, really fired up. I guess this is because not everyone wants to live next to a business that burns human flesh.

Via News 9:

“A standing room only Bethany City Council meeting ended with a 5-4 vote in favor of a zoning change, and many upset residents.

Mercer-Adams Funeral home wants to build a funeral home with a crematory on a plot of land on the 4100 block of Council Road, just south of the 39th Street Expressway.

The owners said they want to keep up with requests to provide cremation services instead of using a third party.

Matt Schinske said he was able to gather 300 signatures against the proposal. Many people say they are concerned about potential smells, possible exposure to mercury, and decreasing property values.

“It’s right by Sterling House of Bethany, a senior adult living center. 6 of their residents will be looking out at it, sipping a cup of coffee and realizing they see a person going up in smoke. It’s emotionally devastating for that person,” said Schinske.”

Okay, I feel sorry for my parents and all their neighbors who will soon get to watch the smoke from the dead rise into the air as their property values dive into the ground, but they have to build crematoriums somewhere, and I can’t think of a better place to build one than in Bethany, Oklahoma.

Seriously, it’s a perfect match. Here are three reasons why:

1. The crematorium will fit in very well. Bethany is an old, depressing, town and could actually use a local business that wants to be there.

2. The crematorium will be next to its target market. I’m pretty sure half the population of Bethany is projected to die of natural causes within the next 5 – 10 years, so the crematorium will definitely be near its customer base. As an added bonus, Bethany residents who drive Lincolns they bought at Diffee won’t have to venture into the Metro to see their friends go up in smoke, so it will keep our streets safe.

3. Maybe the new crematorium will finally convince my parents to move out of Bethany. The Sally Kern yard signs that litter their neighborhood couldn’t do it, so I hope this will. It’s about time. They’ve been in and around that town for nearly 20-years-now, which is probably about 20-years too long. Plus, I could use a bigger basement.

Bethany residents continue to fight crematorium

BETHANY, Okla. — Bethany residents are fighting for a vote of the people in hopes of keeping a proposed crematorium out of their neighborhood.

Mercer-Adams Funeral Service says it needs more room and a crematory. They plan to build at North Council Rd., just feet away from a senior living center.

Last month, a majority of the city council approved the proposal.

Residents against the crematorium have started a petition, and have already collected about 400 signatures. If they get 630 by next week, the council’s decision will likely be overturned and a vote will go to the people.

Many residents, against the crematory, say they feel let down by their city council.

“I personally don’t think those that voted for it didn’t have the public in mind. They had business people in mind,” John Flynn said.

“Pretty appalled, and at the same time, as I’m learning more, not as shocked as I should have been,” Matt Schinske said.

Those against the crematorium say it does not fit in their neighborhood.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to have something like that right next door to a senior living center and a restaurant right across the street,” Flynn said.

Other concerns are property values decreasing, and the health of those at the senior living center.

“We’ve barely lived here six months, and if we would have known this was coming, we would not have moved here,” Matt Schinske said.

Schinske is one resident who is asking his neighbors to sign the petition.

“It is not a yes or no vote at this point. All this is saying is we would like it to go to the vote of the people,” Schinske said.

Those at Mercer-Adams Funeral Service say they are surprised at the backlash and they would not do anything to harm their neighbors.

“If we thought it was any type of threat, we wouldn’t put it in that proximity,” Funeral Director Tim Adams said. “If there was any fact about it depreciating property or anything else like that. We’ve looked into all those things.”

To sign the petition contact Matt Schinske at

In order to sign, you must:

1. Be a resident of Bethany, OK.

2. Be registered to vote

3. Live at the location where you’re registered


VOTE OF THE PEOPLE … voters to decide crematory PUD
Matt Montgomery
Staff Writer

In June, Bethany residents will vote on a rezoning application to allow or not allow a local funeral service company to construct a crematory near Brownsville neighborhood on Council Road. The election, June , calls for a citywide special election for the adoption of Resolution No. 1 . However, Gary Mercer, co-owner of Mercer-Adams Funeral Service and applicant of the rezoning application, submitted a letter April 2 to the City of Bethany in regard to withdrawing his original zoning application. Wednesday, Mercer denied submitting anything to the city. The letter, addressed to Bethany City Manager John Shugart, was signed by both Ron and Gary Mercer. Shugart did not return numerous calls to the Bethany Tribune regarding the letter. The letter reads: “This letter is to advise you that Mercer Adams Funeral Service, Gary Mercer and Ronald L. Mercer Trust hereby withdraw their application for the zoning change in regard to Ordinance No. 1 recently passed by Bethany City Council. Mercer Adams has decided it is not economically feasible to pursue this in light of the opposition and litigation costs in this matter. Please consider this letter our formal request to withdraw our application insofar as it pertains to Mercer Adams Funeral Service, Inc. Gary Mercer and Ronald L. Mercer Trust.” A lawsuit was also filed against Mercer-Adams Funeral Service, Gary Mercer, Ronald Mercer Trust and the City of Bethany by plaintiffs JER NHP Senior Living Acquisition and Assisted Living Properties, LLC, the parent company of Sterling House, a senior living center located next to the proposed crematory site. The lawsuit, filed March 1 in Oklahoma County District Court, calls for declaratory judgement and civil relief for more than 10,000. Last Month a group of proponents named the Bethany 00 gathered enough petitions to file and get a referendum petition approved. The ballot will include a yes or no vote on Ordinance No. 1 , which calls to approve or deny the adoption of the ordinance, a rezoning application to Gary Mercer, owner of MercerAdams Funeral Service. Mercer and his business partner, Ron Adams, previously stated at a city council meeting they wanted to expand their business in Bethany by constructing a crematory south of N.W. th Street and Council Road in Bethany. Mercer was granted the rezoning application after the council approved it during the February city council meeting. Brownsville resident Charlie Phillips and other proponents of the petition against the crematory said previously they allegedly felt certain members of the Bethany City Council didn’t take into consideration their comments and research the night they spoke before the city council when the PUD was passed in a -4 vote in February. Additionally, they hired Ryan Dean, an attorney with Bass Law Firm in Oklahoma City, to represent them moving forward. Bethany City Councilwoman Kathy Larsen said she believes the citizens of Bethany have the right to request a vote of the people. “I think that they the proponents have done a really good job,” Larsen said. “I’m very impressed with the way they have been professional in the manner they have put together the petitions and gathered more than enough of the required signatures.” The proponents gathered about 1,200 votes in less than two weeks last month, which was the requirement set forth by the city to get a referendum petition approved. The total number of signatures was based on the last citywide election. Bethany last held a citywide election in 2002 and the 1,200 votes the proponents gathered reflects 2 percent of the total number of votes cast in that election.

Local sources provided The Tribune with a copy of a letter signed by Ronald Mercer and Gary Mercer. Gary Mercer, however, told The Tribune Wednesday that he did not produce this letter or submit it to the City of Bethany. As of press time the election is still scheduled on the matter for June.

Mercer Adams letter to City of Bethany

Crematorium fizzles but election will go on
Bethany funeral home plans drew protests from neighbors
By Steve Gust, For The Oklahoman April 18, 2015

BETHANY — A contentious rezoning issue is headed for a June public vote, despite the fact that Mercer-Adams Funeral Service announced plans to abandon its proposed project.

The funeral home was seeking a second location on a lot at 4107 N Council in Bethany. The 10,000-square-foot project would have included a crematorium.

That proposal met with opposition from neighbors, who complained about possible crematorium exhaust and increased traffic.

Members of the Bethany City Council on Feb. 17 approved the plan by a 5-4 vote. That led to a referendum petition drive by opponents who gathered more than 1,200 signatures.

The petition was filed March 17 at the city clerk’s office. Bethany City Attorney David Davis said there were no protests during the required 10-day protest period, and the city council voted last week to set an election for June 9. Opponents are seeking to nullify the approved Planned Unit Development.

“Once the petition is certified it’s out of the council’s hands and the vote proceeds,” Davis said, explaining why the election will be held despite the funeral home’s withdrawal of the project.

On April 10, City Manager John Shugart received a letter from Mercer-Adams asking that the project be killed. The letter said “Mercer-Adams has decided it is not economically feasible to pursue this in light of the opposition and litigation costs in this matter.”

Wednesday, and again Thursday, funeral home owner Gary Mercer denied sending the letter. Friday, Mercer said he would be officially sending a letter to the city Monday, and its public release was “premature.”

Mercer-Adams attorney Mike Loyd confirmed the project is indeed “dead.”

“This is an opportunity missed,” Mercer said. For now, Mercer-Adams will continue operating at 3925 N Asbury Ave. Mercer said he has no plans to consider an alternative site.

Despite Mercer-Adams abandoning its plans, opposition leader Arvel Williams urged residents to vote to overturn the actions of the city council.

The property was rezoned from commercial to PUD — allowing for a crematorium.

Williams is also part of a lawsuit seeking injunctions against the city that would prohibit the issuing of any building permits for the property. His lawsuit, as well as another by the Sterling House, has been put on hold in district court pending the outcome of the election. The Sterling House retirement home is near the lot where the crematorium would have been built.


referendum election


WHEREAS, a valid referendum petition No. 2015-1 has been filed calling for an election on the adoption or rejection of Ordinance No. 1893 which rezones property at 4107 N. Council Road, Bethany, Oklahoma in a Planned Unit Development Zoning District to allow the property to be used as a funeral home and crematorium and by law the approval or rejection of the ordinance is required to be submitted to a vote of the citizens of Bethany; and

The undersigned Mayor of the City of Bethany, Oklahoma, hereby calls a special election for June 9, 2015, for purposes of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Bethany, Oklahoma, the Referendum on Ordinance 1893. The ballot title of the Election Proposition shall read as follows:

This is a Referendum regarding Ordinance No. 1893, enacted by the City Council of Bethany, Oklahoma on February 17, 2015. On that date, The City Council voted to allow amendment of the comprehensive land use plan and zoning ordinances of the City of Bethany, Oklahoma, to include certain property within a Planned Unit Development (PUD) Zoning District which rezoning permits a facility for funeral services and a crematory to be constructed at 4107 North Council Road in Bethany, Oklahoma.

Should Ordinance No. 1893 enacted by the Bethany City Council be approved?

□ “YES” vote (allows the ordinance to stand as enacted).
□ “NO” vote (rejects the ordinance).

The election shall be conducted by the Oklahoma County Election Board on a City-wide basis. The precinct officials, polling places, hours, and rules for said election shall be determined by the Oklahoma County Election Board in the same manner as determined by State and County elections.

Absentee ballots will be allowed in the election. Precinct #161 will not be opened since there are no Bethany citizens residing therein.

Dated: April 7, 2015

vote no bethan

Bethany Voters Say ‘No’ To Crematory Zoning

Posted: Jun 09, 2015 9:47 PM EDT Updated: Jun 09, 2015 9:47 PM EDT  BY NEWS9.COM

BETHANY, Oklahoma –

Voters have settled the controversy over a crematory in Bethany in Tuesday’s election.

They voted against a zoning change that could have allowed a crematory to be built near N.W. 39th and Council.

Some residents in that area said they were concerned about property values and air quality if a crematory was built nearby.

Some in the funeral home industry said cremations have no smell and little smoke. However, Mercer-Adams had already withdrew its plans to build at that intersection before Tuesday’s vote.

bethany special vote

Bethany votes against crematorium

Posted: Jun 09, 2015 10:49 PM EDTUpdated: Jun 09, 2015 11:37 PM EDT

Voters in Bethany said no Tuesday to a crematorium near a senior living center.   71 percent of voters agreed that a city ordinance that would have allowed that crematorium to be built on Council Road near NW 39th should be reversed.

Signs were posted across Bethany calling for that “no” vote.  Those against the ordinance worked to get the proposition on the ballot.

Hundreds of people turned out for Tuesday’s special election.  A yes vote would have kept the city council-approved ordinance in place, allowing that funeral home with a crematorium to go up in the lot on Council Road.

“This was not how it was intended to be. We’re all positive about wanting Bethany to grow, and this would have been a great growth opportunity,” said ordinance supporter Tammy Knapp.

But “no” voters worked hard to get that ordinance reversed, and succeeded.  They were concerned with the location chosen: a residential area, the lot neighboring a senior living center.  Their fight against the crematorium started months ago.

At a meeting on February 17th, despite the opposition, city council voted for the zoning ordinance 5-4.

“We just didn’t like the way they did it because we thought it was illegal, unethical at the most, and we were pretty unhappy about it,” said Bethany resident Barbara Cruze, who worked to collect signatures to secure the special election.

Tammy Knapp says the democratic process was already working.

“It’s sad when it comes to this because the decision was made by an elected group of people,” said Knapp.

“Vote no” says many of the 1,400 people who signed the petition to get to this election day not because they were opposed, but they were upset about the city council process.

The votes are not yet official.  The state election board will still need to certify them.


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