October 7, 2010
Village of Hartland
210 Cottonwood Ave
Hartland WI 53029
I would like to take this opportunity to express our position relating not only to the current request for a conditional use permit for a crematoria but for any request in the future.
The petition that we had submitted for consideration for direct legislation, as you are aware, has been denied. It is my understanding that it was denied due to previous case law stating that we, Hartland Residents Speak, were asking to essentially circumvent the Plan Commission. What was not noted by the village attorney’s office was the case Smith v. Dogeville Mutual Insurance Company. In this case it was decided that “municipalities are charged with enacting zoning ordinances which promote the health and safety, morals and general welfare of their communities” (section 62.23 (7)(d)). Enclosed you will find many documents stating the health risks of crematories located in and around residential neighborhoods. We feel that allowing a crematory within 1,000 feet of residential homes and parks and schools and day care centers and water ways, is not promoting the health and safety and welfare of the community.
Our intention in drafting this petition and walking the streets of the village was to find a voice for the residents of Hartland. In only 9 days, five women were able to attain 604 signatures supporting the language expressed in the petition. I say this to inform you, the decision makers of the village, that the residents of the village of Hartland are very concerned for the health and safety of their families and loved ones. It does not stop there. In addition local businesses are concerned about the impact a crematory in a downtown neighborhood would have on their business. Further, the Hartland/Lakeside school board is interested in this particular case as they not only have the children of Hartland attending their schools but children from other municipalities as well. In essence, the people who live here and those who visit our great village are very concerned. It must also be noted that we are not the only village dealing with this issue. There are towns throughout the United States, from Jordan, Minnesota to Anderson, South Carolina that share our same concerns. Maine, Minnesota and Colorado have all begun working to regulate mercury emissions from crematories. They have reached out to us to support our efforts as we all share the same voice.
We, Hartland Residents Speak, also want to make it clear that we have no malice or ill will against Ms. Evert. We appreciate Ms. Evert’s desire to expand her business. We respect her desire to provide a service for the residents of Hartland and surrounding areas. We do require, just as we would require from any other business or industry, that if they are going to operate in the village it must be done with safety as the highest priority.
On a personal note, I grew up near Niagara Falls, New York and the infamous Love Canal. Ten years after the incident, New York State Health Department Commissioner David Axelrod stated that the Love Canal would long be remembered as a “national symbol of a failure to exercise a sense of concern for future generations.” Please heed his message and take caution when deciding if backyards with pools and swing sets, school children going for walks to the library and families enjoying picnics at the park are an appropriate backdrop for a crematory.
Hartland Residents Speak
To contact the Hartland CAN! Group, Hartland Residents Speak, email firstname.lastname@example.org