It is now Crematorium 1, Opponents 1. While I am disappointed about the denial by the Board of Commissioners Tuesday, it was not a surprise and certainly not the end of this pursuit.
Participating in this was as if I was in Europe before people realized the world was not flat. Fear of the unknown was rampant, extending even to the BoC.
The biggest disappointment is the way the BoC handled this controversial issue as well as my surprise at the opposition’s apparent willingness to make their children pawns in a political process. They accomplished their goals, but at what price. I guess we are all entitled to our parenting styles.
This was not about health concerns, as residents and BoC members stated. It was just a “not in my backyard” mentality and in the case of BoC, who knows, political constituent pressure, conflict of interest, the issues here are numerous.
The meeting was bizarre, beginning with an invocation clearly out of line by an opponent to my zoning request invoking God (my God also) to give the BoC the wisdom to make right decisions, protect citizens, etc. I was so blown away by this, I knew it couldn’t be being recorded (and of course it wasn’t) or a lawsuit bigger than anything I could bring would be in the works.
When we moved on to discussion and vote on my zoning request, Commissioner Brian Poole, who is in the funeral industry, told us how he could vote without a conflict of interest. On which planet. Of course there was a conflict of interest, and he should have recused himself.
Next, Commissioner Harry Johnston, the only commissioner to meet with me and, along with Chairman Buzz Ahrens, even respond to email requests, went on to explain how conflicting data warranted his acting with caution, even after our meeting where I shared pictures of 12 crematoriums in the metro area in more densely populated areas than my request by a factor of 2 to 1 or greater.
I was most disappointed in his position and vote. Johnston, as an employee of potentially one of largest and most dangerous emitters of toxins in Georgia (if not for technology to eliminate that risk), knows the technology is safe.
With his wife as editor of the Cherokee Tribune who has written opposition opinion pieces, I expected him to recuse himself as well. He didn’t.
Lastly, Johnston made some reference to state denying licensing. No application for a license has even been made, so I’m not sure where that little nugget came from. One has to apply before being denied.
For two of the commissioners to disclose their voting intent a week before vote, not even giving me the time to educate them or time to even fully understand issues was an atrocity.
The risk of cancer from carcinogens and obesity and other major health issues from consumption of processed foods is so much greater than any risk posed by crematorium that once again health is not concern, but an excuse and issue to hang over BoC.
So, if health and property values declining is not the real issue, then I must conclude the real issue is “not in my backyard.”
I appreciate the work of the commission and their service. In this case they bowed to the pressure of a small number of opponents, disregarded facts, and the recommendation of planning team (in fact never even mentioned that approval as I recall) and made the wrong decision.
What makes this country great is that we always have recourse when wrong decisions are made.
Macedonia Memorial Park owner