After the Tri-State Crematory incident revealed the lack of any regulations requiring crematories to be licensed and inspected, one might expect the United States to have some of the strictest laws on the books. Unfortunately that is not the case, there is still lax regulations and lax enforcement. Begs the question: Who is watching the only entities legally authorized to incinerate human bodies?
Residents formed Community Awareness Network (CAN) to protest a crematory addition to a local funeral home. After learning of the Special Use Permit applied for by the owner, hundreds attended the Planning Commission meeting on September 7th, only to leave disappointed when the vote was tabled to Nov 3rd. Rather than sweeping the matter under the rug, the importance of this issue forgotten, delaying the vote only strengthened the opposition’s resolve.
Our message to the Planning Commission, and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, was this: It is incomprehensible to us for them to approve that request to operate a crematory in our residential area. The decision was handed down by the Planning Commission on November 3rd, to recommend denial of the permit. Then on November 16th, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to deny the permit.
While we celebrated our clear victory on November 16th, we realize that in order to make sure crematories adopt best practices possible to eliminate the environmental hazards they pose to the communities around them, there is going to have to be changes in our legislature at the State and National levels. There needs to be comprehensive zoning rules to restrict where crematories are allowed to locate.