Woodstock/Towne Lake, GA

I live in Towne Lake/Woodstock, GA, in a master planned community, with 13 subdivisions.  A group of investors have purchased a plot of land right at the edge of our neighborhood with the intention of building a funeral home/crematorium.  At first glance the reaction of many has been the displeasure of this type of business being placed right at our doorsteps.  However upon further investigation, a concern is growing over the safety of our children, pregnant mothers, and really all of our residents.  If the proposed plans are approved, the crematorium would be roughly 200 yards from a community pool.  200 yards from a church with a preschool and playground that faces the proposed sight.  We have two schools about 1/4 of a mile from the proposed site with numerous outdoor facilities.  Not to mention businesses, 2 senior living facilities and an abundance of homes.  We need help organizing a fight against this!  We need to keep our community safe.

The investors have already received zone approval from our Board of Commissioners.  I am not sure what we can do at this point, but any and all advise you can share would be greatly appreciated.

http://www.cherokeega.com/applications

We have been made aware of a funeral/crematorium scheduled to be built across from our neighborhoods, high school, middle school and a major grocery store. Please advise.

We have also been made aware the owner of the funeral home is one of our County Commissioners.

There is a Facebook page for the group:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Towne-Lakers-Against-Poole-Funeral-Home-and-Crematory/523035164517047

There is also a petition that has already gathered over 600 signatures.

https://www.change.org/p/commissioner-poole-chairman-l-b-ahrens-keep-poole-funeral-home-out-of-towne-lake-the-residents-of-towne-lake-are-not-in-support-of-another-funeral-home-in-woodstock-or-its-proposed-location-corner-of-eagle-drive-and-rose-creek

FUNDRAISER set up to raise funds for legal fees.

http://www.youcaring.com/citizens-of-woodstock-ga-376895#.VYjqFlegN1g.facebook

Residents of Towne Lake and Woodstock, Georgia seek funding to stop a crematorium and funeral home planned for our neighborhood. This business poses a health hazard to nearby residents. The proposed site is already plagued with severe traffic issues, and this business will only add to the problem.  There are schools and day cares less than a half mile from the site, and children stand to lose if this business is built. Zoning is already in place to allow the funeral home and crematory, so legal action will be needed to challenge the state laws which allow the crematory within 1000 feet of a residential subdivision. By donating to this cause, you could be a part of affecting change that may prevent this type of business from arising in your community. All funds collected will go toward legal fees associated with our fight.

Funeral Home to open early next year; Neighboring residents voice their objections to plans for crematory

by Carolyn Mathews
June 21, 2015

Read more: Cherokee Tribune – Funeral Home to open early next year Neighboring residents voice their objections to plans for crematory

Neighbors in Towne Lake, especially in The Arbors and Wellesley, are upset about a planned crematorium to be built on Eagle Drive, as part of the new Poole Funeral Home at Towne Lake.

Construction of the facility is set to begin in about two weeks, and the opening is slated for early next year, said funeral home owner and District 3 County Commissioner Brian Poole.

All the appropriate zoning is in place for the funeral home and crematory and has been in place since the late 1990s, said County Zoning Administrator Vicki Taylor Lee.

“Funeral Homes are allowed in General Commercial and Neighborhood Commercial. Crematorium requires the GC zoning. The subject parcel is split zoned GC and NC with the funeral home on the NC and the crematorium on the GC,” she said.

No one now on the county Board of Commissioners was serving when the zoning on the property was approved.

Poole has worked for several years as a funeral director and was employed by Woodstock Funeral Home when he was elected to the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners in 2012. He represents much of the southwestern portion of the county, but the area the funeral home will be located in is in District 4 Commissioner Scott Gordon’s post.

The $2.5 million facility is headed by Poole, and his board of directors consists of state Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-Cartersville), who represents the western portion of Cherokee County, as well as John T. Mroczko.

When contacted by email Thursday, Thompson said he was out of the state and was not aware residents were upset.

Poole has been planning to open his own funeral home for more than a year, he said Thursday, and looked at sites for the facility with appropriate locations in mind.

“I did my homework on everything and zoning was the first question,” he said. “I didn’t want to get a rezoning like I was trying to get a favor.”

Poole plans a 12,000-square-foot facility with a chapel, visitation rooms and reception rooms. “It will be state-of-the art,” he said. “It will be the nicest funeral home in north Georgia.”

The objection most neighbors have to the new business is that it includes a crematory, said Cindy Crews, a Wellesley resident and spokesperson for those protesting the venture. The group has sent up a Facebook page, “Towne Lakers Against Poole Funeral Home and Crematory,” and has set up a petition site at change.org, which had 504 signatures at press time.

“It’s the crematory that upsets me. I can live with the funeral home,” Crews said. She said she and other residents are upset by possible toxins the crematory may emit.

“The most concerning thing to me is mercury poisoning from dental fillings,” she said. Crews said Wellesley will hold a meeting this weekend only for the subdivision’s residents. It plans more community meetings in the future.

Poole said neighbors’ fears are unfounded. He provided the Tribune with several research sources on the possible effects of crematory emissions, including a letter written in 2010 from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to Congress. It states that, in 2005, the total estimate of global mercury emissions was 1,930 metric tons, and of that, cremation accounts for 1 percent.

“Dental amalgam use in the U.S. is gradually declining because the incidence of dental decay is decreasing and because improved substitute materials are now available,” the letter states. “There remains a lack of good empirical data on the magnitude of mercury emissions from crematoria. At this time, no federal or state regulations restrict mercury emissions from crematoria.”

The results from a 1999 EPA study show “crematories are capable of low emissions without the use of additional pollution control equipment,” according to the Cremation Association of North America.

That study, it said, showed the levels of carbon monoxide emitted by crematories was well below state standards, that the level of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide were within acceptable limits and that the average hydrogen chloride emission was 0.15 pounds per hour of operation. Particulate matter emission was so low, the study said, that a scrubber had no effect. Average mercury emission was .23 grams per hour of operation.

The CANA study quotes EPA environmental scientist Alexis Cain as saying “I don’t’ think it’s a risk to people who live near crematoriums.” That study states the average cremation of a body with amalgam emits as much mercury as contained in 156 compact fluorescent lamps.”

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has provided Poole with a letter that states he does not need an air quality permit.

Poole said current estimates show that rate of cremation has risen to “55 to 60 percent” of the deceased in the U.S.

“You can’t afford to build a funeral home without a crematory these days,” he said. He provided a letter from the manufacturer of cremation equipment, which said it operates without smoke or odor and meets all state and local environmental regulations.

“Our equipment operates without smoke or odor,” said Dr. Steve Looker, an environmental engineer with B&L Cremation Systems Inc. He said the equipment has built-in pollution detection equipment and that noise is not detectable from outside the building. Looker said the equipment has “far lower emission levels” than the combustion of an automobile or a diesel truck.

Gordon said he has been flooded with phone calls this week since the sign for the funeral home went up on the parcel, located between Aldi’s and Autumn Leaves of Towne Lake assisted living facility on Eagle Drive.

“I do understand why they are concerned, but the county BoC has no authority to do anything,” he said. “The zoning for this property was more than 20 years ago. A funeral home and crematory are allowed, and there are no violations of any county ordinance.”

Gordon noted that funeral homes and crematories not regulated by the county. There is a state regulation saying that stand-alone crematories are located at least 1,000 feet from schools and residences, but it does not apply to crematories associated with funeral homes.

The county did prevent a crematorium from locating in Macedonia in 2013, but that case involved a rezoning request from agricultural and it was directly across from a school.

The planning commission narrowly recommended approval but the BoC turned it down unanimously, with Poole voting no. Poole said Etowah High School is much farther from his proposed funeral home. It is, however, in sight, at the crest of Eagle Drive.

In 2012, Woodstock Lakeside Funeral Home obtained a conditional use permit for a crematorium on Claremore Drive near Highway 92 from the Woodstock City Council. The meeting stretched past midnight due to an outcry from neighbors, but the council vote was 4 to 2.

Brian Limbocker, a resident of The Arbors, said the idea of a crematory on Eagle Drive was “kind of scary.”

“Property owners are worried about property value and the declining health of our kids,” he said. “There’s a nursing home right next door and there are so many neighborhoods and schools. It’s a strange place for a crematory.”

Crews said she doesn’t think the funeral home and crematorium can be fought as a zoning issue.

“We need to find a hard and fast way to fight it,” she said. “We are not just going to lay down and let it happen.”

Crews said “it would be nice” if Poole would reach out to the community before going ahead with his business venture. “He’s an elected official that lives in this community,” she said.

Poole, however, said his property rights should be respected, as well. He has obtained a Federal Small Business Administration loan for $2.5 million he said, in his own and his wife’s name, through Northside Bank in Cartersville. Thompson is on the board of that bank.

PLEASE VIEW RECORDING FROM 6-23-2015 FOR REBUTTALS TO THIS ARTICLE!

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/613647702454994434

Webinar Recordings

Recording from 6-17-2015 covers the Action Plan and Crematory Emissions Data pages from the No Crematory Website.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/record…/5288713969022916610

Recording from 6-19-2015 covers Who/What Is CAN (Community Awareness Network – No Crematory) How to Organize as A Group (IMPORTANT) and GA Laws on Crematories, Nuisance Laws and Zoning, and Legal Recourse

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recordi…/878788334335276801

Recording from 6-21-2015 Covers Who Regulates Funeral Homes and Crematories, What has been done in GA so far to address the problem, and Myths VS Facts. I had to stop halfway through the last segment, will pick that up on 6-23-2015

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1445455736627953410

Tuesday June 23rd at 8:00 pm EDT covers Rebuttals for Common Claims made by the Industry and Funeral Directors. The link to register is below:

VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION including rebuttals to all the statements made in the news. https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/613647702454994434

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s