The Crematorium — Denial has owner hot under collar
June 22, 2013 11:45 PM | 2687 views | 7 7 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

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.

Bart Williams

Macedonia Memorial Park owner

Milton

Comments
(7)
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jp4ga
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June 26, 2013
"not even giving me the time to educate them"--- really you think you needed to educate them. They can read and research for themselves they did not need to be educated by YOU.

Please go build this in YOUR community. You do not live here, you are not part of this community. The commissioners work for the community not outsiders.

Keep writing! :-))
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June 24, 2013
I think we all need to thank Mr Williams for continuing to write insulting letters to the editor of OUR county for all of OUR residents & BOC to read. If there were anyone, anywhere, who may have had the slightest bit of empathy for him on his business venture, it surely is long gone by now! Commenting on our parenting skills for bringing our kids, the ones who would be most affected, is particularly helpful. It just bands everyone together more! Keep up the good work, Mr Williams!
Macedonia Mom
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June 24, 2013
First, I see by your score keeping that our community concerns about this are just a game to you. Very classy. Second, let's compare apples to apples here. Don't compare consuming processed foods to the toxins a crematorium emits. One is a choice, one is forced. Third, most of our children are aware of the issue and know how important it is to their parents/community. Having them attend a 30 minute meeting to help support the community and see how the government works is not pawning them. Stop acting like we put them on street corners with signs.

If you want to make a point,don't exaggerate facts. The BOC did what they felt was right for their citizens, not the self-righteous Milton resident that thinks it's all just a vollyball match.
beboo
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June 24, 2013
hee-hee
BG Cherokee Resident
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June 24, 2013
Mr. Williams, your sense of entitlement and disregard for decisions reflecting the will of the people is amazing. You are not entitled to an exception to zoning (spot) just because you think you are correct. Perhaps you have some data or a study to back up the above (processed food) claims since you accuse everyone else of not having any? Perhaps if you provided easy access to such data for us to read (we can read by the way) to support your claims you would have had a better chance? I don't recall such data, I do recall rezoning signs on the corner of East Cherokee and Hwy 20 that that you could never hope to see unless you knew to look for them. Perhaps you should quit insinuating we are idiots and consider building your crematorium on property somewhere that is actually zoned for what you want?! Then you would not have to deal with all of us ignorant, pitch fork wielding residents. Would that cost you a few more $$$ and cut into your projected profit margins I wonder?
Cherokee Resident
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June 23, 2013
Wow aren't you full of yourself Mr. Williams!
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