Letter to the editor

Let’s get the facts

To the editor:

The owners of Cook Family Funeral Home, Tim and Alison Dinan, plan to build a crematorium at Hillcrest Cemetery. It is a two-acre cemetery in a rural, residential area.

Under state law, cemeteries are protected from taxation until a crematory is placed onsite. Then, they are recognized as commercial enterprises subject to taxation. Without a crematorium, the cemetery is a community service. With one, it becomes a commercial asset for the owners.

A crematory is an incinerator that converts a solid to a gas at high temperatures. Gases are discharged and contain volatilized remains that may include toxins. Construction would be difficult and likely require relocation of human remains.

When the Dinans assumed ownership, they were given the cemetery with the expectation that it would be protected in perpetuity. We have been caretakers there for years, and if Hillcrest is re-purposed for an industrial incinerator it will impact families with loved ones interned on the grounds, including five of ours. It will be a different experience for a family to visit and encounter the smoke, fumes and noise from a crematory. There would also be frequent propane truck deliveries and delivery of bodies.

The City Council has voted for a six-month moratorium so islanders can share ideas and work toward a solution. With no code, BI lacks protection for public health. That needs to change. A pubic hearing is scheduled for May 28 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. For details go to www.fixthecodeBI.com

Bill and Amy Chamberlain