The three recommendations from the planning commission go to the Woodstock City Council on April 23 for consideration and a final decision.
An estimated 50 people turned out for the meeting to consider the requests.
The planning commission voted 4-2, with members Joe Linden and John Szczesniak opposing, to recommend approval of Lakeside Funeral Home’s request to operate a crematorium on site at its facility. Commission member Lee Zell was not present.
The planning commission originally considered the conditional use permit during its meeting in March, but tabled the request until Tuesday.
Kyle Standridge, co-owner and operator of the funeral home, said he was “obviously pleased” with the commission’s decision.
Standridge added he understands the concerns residents who live in adjacent properties have about his plans and has invited them to come by the funeral home and discuss his plans in detail.
“I don’t want you to be uncomfortable,” he told residents during Tuesday’s meeting.
Standridge’s plans have met opposition by some residents of the Villas at Lake Claremore, most of whom noted the potential health and quality of life problems and a potential negative impact on property values were their driving concerns.
Szczesniak said his vote against recommending the permit was due to the applicant not justifying his reasons for obtaining a conditional use permit.
He also said there were too many unanswered questions about the environmental aspect.
Szczesniak also said he was worried about information about crematoriums from the Georgia Department of Public Health that cites some forms of toxins at low levels may be released into the air, adding there were no clear answers one way or another.
Opposing resident Martin Juman said hundreds of people have signed their petition opposing the plans and added there are hundreds more out there who also are against the funeral home’s request.
Juman said the two commission members who voted against the proposal “got it right.”
“They believed it did not belong in a populated area,” he added.
However, Commission Chairman James Drinkard said his vote in favor was based upon a Georgia Environmental Protection Division report that cites no health concerns related to crematoriums.
He also said there was no evidence that shows a correlation between decreased values of properties located near crematoriums.
“Those were the two primary areas of concerns we had,” he added. “While I certainly empathize with those individuals, we have to work off facts and not perception or fear.”
The commission also unanimously recommended approval of a request to rezone property on Highway 92 for apartments.
The Atlanta-based Residential Group, LLC wants to rezone 17.5 acres of property along Highway 92 east of Main Street and the railroad tracks from downtown commercial and low density residential to downtown multi-family residential.
The company would like to build a roughly 286-unit apartment complex on the property.
Commissioners also voted 4-2, with commissioners Judy Davila and Jeff Wood opposing, a request from AMERCO Real Estate Company to acquire a conditional use permit for 12 acres at 11300 Highway 92.
The property is zoned general commercial and the company wants the permit to allow a U-Haul truck rental facility on site along with self-storage, which is already allowed in the zoning.