Tonawanda News

Local News

March 23, 2013

Judge: Amigone must stay

Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Although the future of Amigone’s crematory in the Town of Tonawanda remains uncertain, one thing is for sure — it won’t be moving from Sheridan Drive anytime soon. 

Thursday, Erie County Supreme Court Justice John Michalek sided with the state cemetery board’s decision to prohibit Amigone from moving the operation from its Sheridan Drive location. Michalek said the agency’s determination, which was publicized in September, was not in clear violation of the law.  

Michalek’s ruling is a result of Amigone filing a challenge to the state’s decision in January. 

In the state’s determination, the board said that combined funeral entities and crematories were prohibited in a decision in 1998, but that through a grandfathering exception, Amigone was allowed to continue operating its combined facility on Sheridan Drive.

“This provision only permits the funeral entity to continue to operate the same crematory it was operating before that date,” the board states.

As a result, the board said that under the law, there is “no authority for moving a crematory operation to a new location.”

“Any crematory operator — even a regular cemetery — that wishes to move its crematory would have to apply to operate a new crematory at the new location,” the decision reads.

Amigone first looked into moving the operation after signing an agreement with the attorney general’s office in July, agreeing to halt operations for six months amid backlash from area residents and the Clean Air Coalition.

When the contract was signed, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said he reserved the right to file charges against Amigone if the company began using the crematory, which was launched in 1991 adjacent to Amigone’s funeral home. He also instructed the company to find a way to reduce its emissions, or move the operation. 

In July, right before the agreement was signed, a University at Buffalo study indicated widespread pollution in the surrounding residential neighborhood, including human ash.

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