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Residents Still Fired Up Over Redmon Cremation Proposal, Ask Council for No Vote

It was a packed house at Monday's Stow City Council meeting, where a number of people spoke out against allowing cremation at Redmon Funeral Home.

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.

Larry Kinnan December 11, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I encourage everyone to make their views known to the Mayor and Coucil members before or during Thursday's meeting regarding this issue. It is clear that there is significant unknowns regarding the impact of allowing the addition of cremation services to the surrounding area and is adjacent to a residential area. Contrary to Ms. Hanson's statement that residents want 100% assurance of safety, it is clear that there are still too many unknowns to justify the change being requested at this time.
Marty Dennis December 11, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Have ALL of the residents near Redmon's investigated the laws and regulations of crematoriums? Have they visited other crematoriums to get an open mind of what and how those facilities operate? Have these same "front yard sign" residents contacted the EPA for a meeting to learn more of such equipment? Are these total "anti-crematorium" residents using "hearsay" as their total decision? How about a meeting with the EPA, Redmon's, Council and the "anti-crematorium" residents to listen to ALL pros and cons - use a mediator so no one group has the advantage. - review the plans TOGETHER! Air quality, safety issues and HOW the equipment will work are important, but let's get together folks! You could lose some tax dollars if the business decides to move elsewhere - just a thought. Developing a major change is difficult for many, but working TOGETHER may just work. Think about it!
Jessica Dickey December 11, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I grew up by a crematory and lived next to one for 6 years. People threw a huge fit in Kent when they were trying to put one in. Once it went in, I never heard anything about it again. It never bothered me when I lived next door, no smell or tons of smoke. You only knew it was happening if you stared at the roof and watched for it.
Ed Fisher December 11, 2012 at 09:36 PM
My biggest concern here is the almost instant opposition to this project. My online research reveals that crematoriums are becoming commonplace in this country, and the technology connected to these facilities render them relatively harmless to the environment. Now, that being said, I don't particularly care if the crematory is built or not. But I am worried that we, as a city, must be completely sure of what's on the table before the hysteria sets in. Business interests in any city must get a fair shake, based on facts alone. The notion (implied) of human body particulates and mercury permeating the skies over Stow are not based in fact. If this business opportunity is to be denied, it must be done without the doomsday narratives and "sky is falling" rhetoric.
Roger C. Lash December 12, 2012 at 05:10 AM
He can't get enough gas from the line on rt 91, has a 33 " exhaust stack, weighs 14 to 18 tons and unlimited use. Sound like a neighborly gesture to you? Burning diseased bodies filled with embalming fluid and other chemicals in a residential area is not acceptable. This area is located in a valley that extends beyond Northport Park. The energy used to cremate one body is equivalent to driving 4,800 miles. Loved your 2 pound sugar cube of mercury per 100 cremations since the average funeral home in America burns 400 bodies a year. State of the Art includes filters as required in England.The worst ICK factor has been listening to the pompous supporters. Don't eat the snow kids !!!!
Ed Fisher December 12, 2012 at 03:07 PM
"Burning diseased bodies filled with embalming fluid and other chemicals" and "2 pound sugar cube of mercury per 100 cremations" Lash, your talents are truly wasted on this forum. You may be better served writing blurbs for horror movie posters. I am a supporter of small business. Period. And if our city council, by researching the facts and weighing the ramifications of this project, decide that it's not in the best interest of Stow, then so be it. I'm fine with that. It's not about the apocalyptic predictions and hand wringing reactionaries. It's just what is legal, safe, and right for Stow. Why, exactly, is that so hard to grasp ?
Roger C. Lash December 12, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Business only pays about of Stow"s tax base. Rah Rah Rah. "Don't we just love the smell of napalm burning in the morning. The avatar fits.
Roger C. Lash December 12, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Correction: 20 % of Stow's tax revenue.
Jack Kelly December 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Roger, You're about as ignorant/uneducated as your wife. It's funny you find the "pompous supports" so icky. I guess you have to feel something since sounding so stupid doesn't affect you. If people like you and your wife want to be taken seriously -- and NOT laughed at -- try to sound remotely educated, and less like a rambling, uneducated drama queen.
Roger C. Lash December 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Don't hold back your frustration Jack. Release that anger on someone else, then you won't have to look at your own problems regardless of the facts. What content do you dispute?
James Thomas December 14, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Jack Kelly, snuck out from under your rock back onto Patch did you. Since your abrasive style hasn't changed I don't think you'll be here long.
Enrico Caruso December 16, 2012 at 01:55 AM
I left comment the other day, but do not see it here today, so I shall start again. Over two dozens people signed a petition to City Council asking that proposed ordinance 2012-165 passage be denied. It is a known fact that a human cremation furnace emiting mercury vapor pollution into our atmosphere imposes a serious health issue. The mercury results from vaporizing the mercury amalgem fillings in the bodies being cremated. This mercury vapor causes harm to humans and animals brains, kidneys, neuological and immune systems, lungs, skin, eyes, the unborn, reproductive system. The vapor travels far and wide, polluting soil and waterways. These emission ARE NOT regulated by the USEPA, which passed very stringent solid waste incineration rules that does cover medical waste containing body organs and limbs, but stated that a dead human is not solid waste, and left human cremation unregulated. The EU held a conference in 2003 with 15+ countries that recognized the serious nature of crematoria mercury emission. In 2005 the UK passed a law AQ1(05) requiring all crematoria in the UK to be retro-fitted with best available technology equipment to capture the mercury vapor and process it back to solid waste, and have a follow-on safe disposal process of the solid waste. Another reason to vote down 2012-165 is because it will lower resale/property values of residences. Prof. Agee and Crocker published in Applied Economics, 2010 an indepth study of 372 home sales showing the resale effect

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