TRENTON, GA (WRCB) -
The Noble crematory scandal that made national headlines back in 2002 prompted Georgia lawmakers to put more regulations over crematories.
A funeral home in Trenton is trying to open the first crematory in the city, even Dade County. It's a new zoning issue which has brought progress to a halt.
The Trenton City Commission met Monday night to discuss the issue of Ryan Funeral Home opening the city's first crematory. The commission voted to take the next 60 days to examine codes before giving the go ahead. Some local leaders say they're receiving complaints from residents worried about an environmental impact, while some supporters say it's an economic benefit for the area. City officials say it's uncharted territory.
"I think more and more people are going to the cremation thing because of the expense basically," Rex Graham said.
Rex Graham is opening a business across the street from Ryan Funeral Home in Trenton. He's among the increasing number of people opting for cremation over a traditional burial. It's a trend the Ryan family says it can't ignore.
"My dad is 70 years old. I want to work as long as he has so I'm just trying to continue the family business," owner Steven Ryan said.
State research showing more and more Georgians choosing cremation, around 30-percent, prompted them to build-on to the decades old funeral home and install a crematory. But, they can't use it until they get a state permit. They can't apply for tha' until local code enforcement signs off on it.
"Evidently there's a little confusion over zoning codes but I think it can all be worked out," Ryan said.
City officials say they're not sure yet, because this is the first time anyone's tried to open a crematory in Trenton. State law says it cannot be within 1,000 feet of a residential subdivision. There are dozens of homes around the funeral home, but Ryan argues it's not a subdivision.
"as long as it don't affect the environment, seems fine with me," neighbor Rebecca Petty said.
EPA research shows crematories do emit some chemicals, like mercury, but there's conflicting studies on if it's enough to be a health risk or not.
"With the new regulations and processes of technology today there's no smoke, there's no smell," Ryan said.
Channel 3 spoke to a few neighbors who were against the crematory. One couple said they're even considering selling their home over it, but they wouldn't talk about it on camera.
Again, the city says it's allowing 60 days of consideration starting Tuesday.