Construction on a Spring Hill crematory is set to begin, but the battle over safety versus emotional needs and business is still brewing.
The groundbreaking on a Spring Hill crematory was surprisingly peaceful Thursday morning after a year of protest.
Ever since the owners of Spring Hill Memorial Park and Funeral Home proposed the crematory, nearby residents have flooded city officials with petitions and research showing concern over toxic emissions from mercury.
So the city paid $40,000 to a cremation consulting company for information.
"They determined that this was not going to be dangerous or unsafe in anyway. In fact, one of the things they came out with was a wood-burning stove in your house or the ovens in your house emit more pollutants than what this is going to emit," said Spring Hill Mayor Michael Dinwiddie.
The mayor of Spring Hill voted for the 2,000-square-foot crematory even though the planning commissioner and the Board of Alderman went against it.
So, how did it get approved? It all came down to zoning.
A site behind the funeral home wasn't zoned properly, so the owners re-submitted a piece of land next to the funeral home to the planning commission.
"They don't have the ability to arbitrarily deny simply because they don't particularly like it if it is automatically allowed under the ordinance," said Spring Hill City Administrator Victor Lay.
Now a couple of funeral home directors have to get certified through the Cremation Association of North America. They still have to get a permit from the state for air quality control before anything can be up and running.
The plan is for the crematory to open in four to six months, but the opposing neighbors are planning to seek legal action.
The owners also own a funeral home in Franklin, but said they did not have enough property on the grounds to build a crematory and felt there was more of a need in Spring Hill.
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