Peachtree Corners, GA

Peachtree Corners neighbors fight proposed crematory
By Tony Thomas Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Dozens of Peachtree Corners residents are fighting to keep a local funeral home from adding a crematory to its property.

The residents fear the addition will impact their health and property values, but the funeral home owner says he knows of no such dangers.

Christy Creedon is leading the effort to convince the Peachtree Corners City Council to reject the zoning change request by the Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Directors located on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

“It is such an uncomfortable idea to have a commercial incinerator that close to our property and our home and where our children spend their days and their evenings,” Creedon said.

The Crowell Brothers want to add the crematory inside the back portion of their existing facility.

Owner Jeff Crowell showed Channel 2’s Tony Thomas an architect’s drawings of what the addition would look like. Basically, it would add only a chimney-like smokestack to the top of the building.

By agreement with the city, if approved, the crematory could only be operated during business hours and Crowell Brothers could only provide services to their own customers.

“The demand for cremation is becoming greater and greater every day and we are trying to offer that service,” Crowell said.

Crowell said his company offers cremation services, but does it offsite through another company. Crowell says 44 percent of the families coming to Crowell Brothers request cremation, and that number is only growing.

Crowell told Thomas he understands many people still find the idea of cremation, especially when it’s being done near their homes, to be creepy.

“We are battling perception, and 99 percent of most cases is because people just don’t understand the process of cremating someone,” Crowell said.

Neighbors say they are fighting for more than just to keep a crematory out of their neighborhood. They also feel making the zoning change would go against why the new city was formed less than three years ago.

“They really don’t have the right type of property and it doesn’t fit with the neighborhoods or the businesses locally in this community,” said resident Harry Frazer.

“There are so many lovely areas of this city where this could happen as well,” Creedon said.

She warns other residents on the other side of the city that if this is passed, in her view, any commercial property in the city is then fair game.

Residents planned to pack a city council meeting Tuesday night, where a first vote on the question was planned. A final vote won’t be taken until late October. Crowell said if the change is approved, he hopes to have the crematory installed and working by sometime in April.

Peachtree Corners makes unanimous vote against crematory

Posted: Oct 21, 2014 8:13 PM EDT Updated: Nov 18, 2014 9:25 PM EST
By Rodney Harris

After an hour of public comment and questions from the city council, Peachtree Corners city leaders voted against allowing Crowell Brothers Funeral Homes to build a crematory in addition to the property it currently uses as a cemetery.

Jeff Crowell, the owner of Crowell Brothers Funeral Home, did not want to talk on camera after the decision and only said, “I am very disappointed.”

Crowell said the company has been in business for 56 years. He asked city councilors for a special-use permit to open the crematory on his property since the city is not currently zoned for his plans.

“Forty-four percent of our business is asking to be cremated,” said Crowell.

Hundreds attended the meeting in protest of the crematory. Many wore red shirts and held signs. One child wore a gas mask.

The main concern for community members was that the chemicals emitted through the incineration of bodies would release harmful chemicals. Specific information and studies shows that mercury is released.

“They are very real fears that is what the newest research is documenting,” Christy Creedon said.

Creedon led the charge in her community against the crematory. Creedon said there is too little information available to prove the mercury released is harmful long term. She said Tuesday night was a major victory.

“It is a zoning issue pure and clear, and the zoning protects the citizens from all those issues from the health, from the environmental impacts, from the resale value impacts and the city upheld its zoning laws tonight and I am very grateful,” Creedon said. “I am grateful for local government grateful for a city where we can have the constituents voices be heard and honored.”

Crematory application denied in Peachtree Corners
By Chris Stephens Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PEACHTREE CORNERS — More than 200 residents crammed into City Hall on Tuesday as the Peachtree Corners City Council heard arguments from both sides on a proposed re-zoning to allow for a crematory within the city limits.

#The proposed crematory was set to go on the property of Crowell Brothers Funeral Home at 5051 Peachtree Industrial Blvd.

#The public hearing portion of the proposal allowed for 20 minutes for each side to speak, doubled from 10 minutes normally given to each side during a public hearing.

#In the end, the council voted unanimously voted to deny the application, despite the fact that the city’s planning commission voted to approve the application.

#“This is a major victory for us,” said Christy Creedon, a resident against the proposed crematory. “We’ve worked hard for the last eight weeks in a non-stop effort to get this turned down. This is local government at its finest. It’s one of the reasons why I originally voted to incorporate Peachtree Corners.”

#The proposed application, which had passionate followers on both sides, would have amended the city’s zoning map to allow for the crematory to be located on the property, with certain conditions as recommended by the planning commission. Conditions included the chimney be enclosed, no exterior advertisement for cremation services allowed on the property and limited operating hours, among others.

#Jeff Crowell, one of the owners of the business, said his main reason for wanting cremation services on site was for the families of the city.

#“We don’t want to be restricted from giving them the best services,” Crowell said. “We want this because of the trust factor. Families trust us to take care of their loved ones during one of the hardest times of their life.”

#Tom Bains spoke in support of Crowell saying he understood there was a lot of emotion involved.

#“I know that when I die, I want to be cremated,” he said. “I don’t want to be transported someplace else.”

#Stewart Teague, who represented United Citizens of Peachtree Corners Inc., said this isn’t some overnight sensation that got the residents fired up.

#“The residents have done their research,” he said. “When the residents moved into their existing homes, they didn’t expect a crematory to be next to them. We’re talking about a location that is not appropriate.”

#It’s that location that was the most contentious as there is a mix of commercial and residential lots throughout the area.

#For Stephanie Waters, the research included going to other funeral homes that involved cremation services and getting reactions of people living and working nearby.

#One video showed an interview with a man at a nearby park who said that he could definitely smell the fumes coming out of the building and it didn’t make him comfortable.

#“We can’t use the best case short-term to affect long-term,” Waters said.

#In the end, councilwoman Jeanne Aulbach’s decision came down to two things — “the biggest factor is that it is designated C-2 commercial and is also near residential. Industrial doesn’t fit that. Also, there was overwhelming opposition from residents and I felt the support was made up of (mostly) people who had no skin in the game.”

#Aulbach spoke of the more than 300 emails she received in opposition to the measure, but also noted that she would like to see a crematory in the city.

#“I would like to see one in the appropriate location,” she said. “We do need cremation, just in the right place.”

Peachtree Corners Strikes Down Proposal to Build Crematory
Jeremy Campbell, WXIA 5:27 a.m. EDT October 22, 2014

PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. (WXIA) – A proposed crematorium was struck down by Peachtree Corners City Council after residents fought to keep a crematorium from being built near their homes.

“They could not reassure me about the emission levels and in fact we found evidence to the contrary, so we just couldn’t get comfortable for our families,” said Stephanie Waters.

Many of the homeowners packed a meeting Tuesday evening, said they feel their concerns were brushed aside during an earlier vote before the county’s planning commission. Their goal for Tuesday was to ensure that the number and volume of those in opposition make them impossible to ignore.

Peachtree Corners residents, like Tracy Nowak, planned to turn up the heat in opposition to plans to build a crematorium across the street from their neighborhood.

“As a mother in this beautiful community, it’s really hard to imagine that type of business right here, at our homes,” Nowak said.

The city council voted against a proposal to allow Crowell Brothers Funeral Home to add a crematory to their existing facility. The business owners say the impact on the public will be negligible, and that the building’s design will largely disguise the crematory.

“We are just very disappointed. We are going to have to regroup,” said owner Jeff Crowell.

He says he is going to meet with his team to determine whether to reapply or drop the idea altogether.

“It’s completely out of sight,” said a representative from the funeral home. “The only difference in the structure of our funeral home is that the façade is going to be around the stack, and it’s going to look like a chimney.”

Neighbors who had posted signs in opposition to the crematory, say they feared it would endanger their children’s health and damage their property values.

“I believe in cremation,” said homeowner Claudine Asip. “But not where it could harm children and the air we breathe, and I don’t see where there’s any reason that we should have that there.”

The proposal easily passed the planning commission, setting the stage for the fiery and passionate debate Tuesday night.

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