Editor's note: This article was updated at 12:50 p.m. on Dec. 11.
At a public hearing before Stow City Council on Monday, several residents voiced their concerns about allowing Redmon Funeral Home to offer cremation services.
Back in October, the planning commission gave its unanimous recommendation to change the zoning code to allow for cremation equipment at funeral homes. Now council has the final say.
This is the second time Redmon Funeral Home President Keith Redmon is pursuing this zoning change. Redmon pulled his first request in July shortly after residents who live near his business attended a meeting and expressed their displeasure.
Those residents had more to say Monday.
"People who live near it should get a chemical blood test before it is installed," said Joanne Gross. "Then they should be checked every year after to see what the effects are. I'm concerned for the children."
Several residents said the cremation system sends particles into the air that are harmful to pregnant women, the elderly and children.
"The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has 80 pages online about the dangers of cremation and how it affects air and water," said a Waldon Street resident. "There's not a fish in Ohio that doesn't come with a warning label."
Other residents said they weren't against Redmon offering the service, but questioned why it couldn't be at a remote location, away from residential areas.
"I live a block and a half away," said Jeffrey Hughes. "Would you want this next to your house? I don't think you would. You need to represent the most not the few."
A Williamson Road woman questioned the long-term affect of living between two funeral homes, and what would happen if the other decided to cremate as well.
"If one starts cremating, the other will follow suit," she said. "It will lower our property value. And what about the smell? When you reduce a body to ashes, there's an environmental effect."
There were a few residents who spoke in favor of the crematorium.
"I live yards away from Redmon," the resident said. "I have read a lot of the research out there and I've seen nothing that would create alarm. They are wonderful professionals, they're endearing and they seek what is best for their customers."
A Marhofer Avenue resident said he wasn't afraid of what whill happen if a crematorium is installed.
"Something will come up that stack, but there's no proof it will hurt you," he said.
There will be another public hearing at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers. Council will vote after everyone has had a chance to speak.