Brighton, CO

Hi folks,
We’re working to stop a crematory proposed in Brighton, CO. We have done quite a bit of research and just recently came across your site.
We have a short time-line – with our presentation to City Council in less than 2 weeks – August 7.
If you have any organizational ideas or things that you have seen effectively used in other campaigns please send those to me. Or any specific information about crematory issues in the state of Colorado.

Anything you found very effective would be helpful. Our planning and zoning commissions have already decided that a crematorium isn’t a problem for our community. It would be located one block off of a main thoroughfare in our town and is surrounded by residential – with the closest home less than 100 feet and a small apartment building (8 units) only 50 feet away.

We appreciated the website and thanks for the references – if you have anything else we’re open to ideas.

Thank you in advance!

We were able to convince enough city council members to stop the crematory that was proposed for Brighton, Colorado. However, they have done nothing to bar it’s approval in the future when there are council members change and may be sympathetic with the business that was trying to open one.

I would like to speak with you, and see if there has been any additional progress in this area of banning crematoriums from residential neighborhoods since we did our research in 2012.

Discussion of Brighton crematorium hearing pushed to August
By Crystal Nelson
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BRIGHTON — Although more than 100 residents turned out for city council’s July 17 meeting, council decided in a 5-4 vote to continue the discussion on whether to allow a crematory at Tabor-Rice Funeral Home to its Aug. 7 meeting.

Council members Lynn Baca, Cynthia Martinez, Wilma Rose and Kirby Wallin were opposed to the continuation and would have preferred the discussion to have occurred during the July 17 meeting.

Associate Planner Hazel Leem said the city had received information from a citizen on July 16 that referenced eight different news articles pertaining to crematory. She said the applicant and owner were also notified on July 17.

Jeff Bernard of Bernard Custom Construction requested the continuation on behalf of the applicant.

“We feel the best use of your time, the applicant’s time and the citizen’s time is to fully address those questions with written documentation and not just hearsay testimony,” he said.

A motion to discuss the ordinance during council’s July 17 meeting failed 5-4 with Mayor Dick McLean, Mayor Pro-Tem Wayne Scott, councilman J.W. Edwards and councilman Chris Maslanik opposed.

Rose said she was disappointed the council could not continue with the hearing.

“I do feel with the number of people here representing the neighborhoods that this would still be an excellent time to go over this. I can’t imagine that bringing a PUD (planned unit development) for a crematorium, that you have not have time to look at what the drawbacks of that might have been,” she said.

Scott believed it was fair that the applicant, who just got the information the day before, be given the time to respond to it so “no one will be able to say there wasn’t a fair hearing.”

McLean said Councilman Rex Bell set the tone correctly when he said this is America and everyone has the right to speak.

“If the applicant just heard from the group that’s opposing him, then I think he has the right to respond,” he said.

Crematorium “revote” deemed invalid; Brighton City Council to reconsider vote Sept. 4
By Christopher Harrop
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

BRIGHTON — In the interest of “harmony, understanding and respect,” Brighton City Councilman Rex Bell asked his fellow council members Aug. 8 to reconsider the much-debated crematorium proposal after a controversial “revote” at the previous night’s meeting was ruled invalid.

The marathon Aug. 7 session of council came to a close just as opponents of a proposed crematorium finished applauding a 5-4 vote by council to defeat the ordinance on first reading. The “revote” came immediately after Mayor Dick McLean announced passage of the ordinance by a 5-4 vote, which prompted Councilwoman Cynthia Martinez to claim her vote was registered incorrectly.

City Attorney Margaret Brubacker read from a memorandum sent earlier in the day to council and city staff, explaining that after examining the previous night’s proceedings, the “revote” was not a formal, binding action by council and that the previous vote — in which the proposal passed — was the only formal action taken.

Councilwoman Martinez spoke multiple times about her desire to apologize for the confusion her desire to change her vote caused, and even asked a letter from the applicant disputing the validity of the “revote” be read aloud during the meeting for all in attendance to hear.

“I make mistakes,” Martinez added.

Councilman Chris Maslanik offered pointed criticism of the previous night’s proceedings throughout council’s discussion.

“There is not one of us up here … that didn’t know what we were doing,” Maslanik said. Later in the meeting, Maslanik made it clear that he believed the outcome of the vote was clear when the mayor announced its passage and the votes were displayed on the council chamber’s electronic display.

“It was there,” Maslanik said. “There was no question.”

Other councilmembers expressed regret as the discussion continued. Councilwoman Lynn Baca, who voted against the proposal, spoke directly to representatives for the application in stating clearly that council aimed to make right what they had done wrong.

“I think you are due your due process,” Baca said. “I do apologize for this.”

Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Scott went as far as to “apologize … for the sloppiness of this council.”

City Manager Manuel Esquibel further clarified the status of the crematorium proposal by explicitly stating that normal procedure would dictate a second reading for the ordinance given its passage at the Aug. 7 meeting, and that he personally took responsibility for the controversy over the supposed revote.

“We should have caught it last night,” Esquibel said.

Following Brubacker’s advisement, Councilman Bell made the motion for reconsideration after supporting the proposal, though he acknowledged he may have been “tempted” to not do so. Under council rules, only a member who voted with the majority could call for a reconsideration, Brubacker explained, leaving Bell, Maslanik, Martinez, McLean and Councilman J.W. Edwards able to initiate a fresh look at the matter.

Because the proposal is a land-use ordinance, there will be notice of the Sept. 4 hearing for reconsideration 15 days in advance, including notices posted in the neighborhood around Tabor-Rice Funeral Home. Brubacker also confirmed that there will be no public comment on the proposed ordinance itself since the reconsideration is strictly a procedural matter.

Overall, the tenor of the debate alternated from profuse apologies by councilmembers to the more-pointed criticisms of the proceedings and the inattention to proper rules governing council’s actions.

“Everyone has done this kind of revoting … everyone here has seen it happen in the past,” Scott said. “And we’ve chosen to do nothing about it.”

Crematorium proposal up in smoke following council vote to reconsider
Proposal to build onto existing Tabor-Rice funeral home fails by same margin as invalid revote
By Crystal Nelson
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BRIGHTON — In a reconsideration vote Sept. 4, City Council shot down a proposal to add a crematorium to a local funeral home.
The proposal for the addition to Tabor-Rice Funeral Home failed 5-4 — the same margin as the controversial Aug. 7 revote. Council members Cynthia Martinez, Lynn Baca, Wilma Rose, Wayne Scott and Kirby Wallin were opposed to the crematorium. Mayor Dick McLean and council members Rex Bell, Chris Maslanik and J.W. Edwards voted for the proposal.
City Attorney Margaret Brubaker reminded council the reconsideration vote was a new vote on the first reading of the ordinance. Because the public hearing was closed on Aug. 7 prior to the vote, no public comment would be accepted.
“It might be important to remember that because the public hearing was closed on Aug. 7, any phone calls that you’ve received or letters or voicemails need to be disregarded,” she said. “You’re supposed to make your consideration tonight based on the evidence that was presented at the public hearing on the 7th.”
Owner Pat Tabor felt that the vote reflected the opposition’s emotions rather than the merit of the proposal.
“Truthfully, it disappoints me that a few people made emotional decisions without really basing things on facts… They didn’t even bother to educate themselves.”
Tabor said when he started the whole process the planning commission looked at different options and decided this was the best option.
“The planning commission did extensive research. They went to numerous crematories; they even went and witnessed the cremation process. The planning commission did not leave a stone unturned,” he said. “They did a great job. They were supportive of it from the get-go once we decided this was the location to dial in. That’s the part that disappoints me is that they did all of their homework but yet our council didn’t.”
Tabor said his next conversations in the upcoming weeks will be with City Manager Manuel Esquibel and Community Development Director Marv Falconburg to put an economical plan together because the city needs a crematorium for the future.
“I’m committed to this community,” he said. “We’ll try to figure something out.”
Tabor wanted to build a crematorium on the northwest corner of the funeral home property. Having a crematorium would have allowed Tabor to reduce his expenses.
Because the proposed crematorium would have been in a residential area, many of the neighborhoods residents voiced their opposition to it during the Aug. 7 public hearing, citing air quality and mercury levels as concerns. The residents also believed a crematorium was not appropriate in a residential neighborhood.


Request to build crematory in Westside Neighborhood Withdrawn

Heath Carroll pulls request to build crematory at Longmont funeral home
Carroll-Lewellen owner announces plans to build a new, second facility in the Carbon Valley
by Tony Kindelspire Longmont Times-Call
POSTED: 01/08/2014

Heath Carroll said Wednesday that rather than proceed with his attempt to get a variance from the city of Longmont to install a new crematory at his Carroll-Lewellen funeral home, he’s withdrawn his permit request and instead is taking a bigger step.

“We were going to continue with our application here but we had some engineers look at our building and we just felt it would be more cost-effective to put our crematory in another location, a second location,” Carroll said.

So, while Carroll-Lewellen Funeral and Cremation Services will continue to operate at 503 Terry St., where it has been since 1922, Carroll and partner Bob Sweeney will be building a new funeral home with a crematory somewhere in the Carbon Valley. He said they haven’t settled on whether to build new or convert an existing building into a new full-service funeral home, and are looking at about “four to five” sites in Frederick, Firestone and Dacono.

“We just really feel like the Tri-Town-area needs a funeral home of their own,” Carroll said.

Already his downtown Longmont location draws a lot of business from that area, he said, and the growth going on there makes a second location a financially sound idea.

“We pull a lot of business for the Foothills Gardens (of Memory) from that area, so we’re serving both needs,” added Sweeney, referring to the cemetery north of Longmont that Carroll-Lewellen owns.

Carroll said that aside from offering human cremation services, his new facility also will offer animal cremation, a service Carroll-Lewellen already offers, but it has had to contract with another animal cremation company in Loveland to have it done.

Sweeney added that the plans are to add a “pet garden” area to Foothills Gardens as well.

Carroll said that he hopes to have found a new location and be up and running in it by early 2015.

When he had first proposed putting in a crematory at his Terry Street location, some in the neighborhood had expressed opposition to the idea. Carroll contended at the time that the crematory he would be buying was state of the art and had minimal emissions of any type.

The Carroll-Lewellen facility has never had a crematory where it’s located. A city ordinance passed a few years ago grandfathered in existing crematoriums, but prohibited any new ones being built within 500 feet of a residence.

Carroll said Wednesday that he understood why some neighbors were upset that he was seeking to put one in, but that the opposition had nothing to do with his decision to build a second facility.

“It’s an emotional issue, so you’re going to have opposition,” Carroll said. “We actually had a lot of supporters.”


I’ve been wondering about the financial impact of another crematory in the Westside neighborhood, here is my take.

First, in an article published in the Times-Call last Friday, Mr. Carroll states, “the funeral home has gone from doing about 35 funerals a year when he bought it in 2007 to the about 300 he’ll do this year.” In percentage terms that’s growth of 43% year over year for the past 6 years. Wouldn’t you love to have that type of business growth during the worst recession our country has ever experienced? Denying this variance will cause no economic hardship on Mr. Carroll or his business.

Second, in Colorado sales of vaults, urns, caskets, etc., are subject to state and local sales tax. A casket is the single greatest expense associated with a funeral. Casket prices range from $1,000 to more than $10,000. For cremations, an alternative container made of unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, or cardboard is used at a substantially lower cost. The increase in cremations will reduce sales of caskets and therefore reduce city tax revenue. There is no tax benefit for Longmont to support this variance.

Third, installing a crematory in Longmont’s Historic Westside Neighborhood will adversely affect home values for the residents of this neighborhood. Research conducted by the Department of Economics of Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wyoming show that the closer a home is to a crematory the greater the negative impact on house sale prices. Boulder county taxes are collected on the assessed value of homes in Longmont. These assessed values are reflective of home sale prices. Decreasing home sale prices therefore will reduce county revenues and reduce money available for the school district, maintaining roads, and rebuilding bridges.

If I was a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission or City Council I would have a hard time supporting something that has no tax benefit, reduces funding for schools, bridge, and road maintenance and only serves to line the pocket of one person and his business that is already doing pretty well.


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