Stow -- The hotly contested issue of whether crematoriums should be permitted uses on funeral home property will be discussed at length during Monday's Council Committees meetings.
A public hearing on the issue will begin at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 10 in Council chambers.
At the hearing, all will have an opportunity to address City Council members regarding why they believe a proposed change to the city's zoning code allowing the installation of crematories should or shouldn't be permitted.
The issue was originally introduced to Council by representatives of Redmon Funeral Home who have said the business would like to install a crematory at its location on 3633 Darrow Road.
The city's only other funeral home is the Dunn-Quigley Funeral Home, located at 3333 Kent Road.
On Oct. 25, Council gave a first reading of the corresponding legislation that would specifically change the definition of funeral homes in the zoning code and permit crematories at those facilities.
As evidenced by signs in a couple of Darrow Road residents' lawns -- which read "Protect our neighborhoods. Protect our property values. No crematoriums near our homes!" -- some residents have been protesting the proposed amendment since its introduction to Council this fall.
Some residents have told Council members at prior meetings they believe crematoriums would be unsightly and could negatively impact property values for those living in nearby residences.
Others have argued that the corresponding emissions associated with the cremation process could be detrimental to air quality and public health.
"I live downwind, not right behind [Redmon Funeral Home], but downwind of it. I go for walk every evening. I don't want to be walking around thinking, 'Oh, my goodness. What am I breathing now?,'" said Joan Lash, a Marhofer Avenue resident, at an Oct. 22 meeting of Council Committees.
In October, Redmon Funeral Home President Bruce Redmon told the Stow Sentry via email that he contests the notion that property values would be adversely affected for nearby residents or impact home sales, citing discussions with Kent and Fairlawn real estate agents as those municipalities currently allow crematories in residential areas.
Duane LaClair, an engineering supervisor for the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District -- a governmental agency that processes applications for crematory equipment -- told Council Oct. 22 that when all equipment is operating properly, smoke from crematory stacks usually isn't visible and only would be in the case of malfunctions.
"If there is a malfunction, we'll order them to shut it down," LaClair told Council.
He said in 20 years with the agency, he has encountered only two cases of malfunctioning equipment.
After Monday's public hearing, the legislation could then come before City Council Dec. 13 for a final vote.
Phone: 333-541-9400, ext. 4179