Tonawanda News

Local News

September 5, 2013

Amigone backs off plan

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Tonawanda News — “A majority, but not all of the board members, have been verbally supportive,” she said.

Newberry said she hopes the measure will be on the agenda Monday when the board holds its next meeting.

The discussions concerning the future of the crematory come more than a year after Amigone signed an agreement with the state attorney general’s office agreeing to halt crematory operations for six months. The agreement came amid resident complaints about noxious smells and alleged sicknesses from the crematory’s emissions.

When the contract was signed, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said he reserved the right to file charges against Amigone if the company began using the crematory. He instructed the company to find a way to reduce emissions or move the operation.

Then, in early 2013 after the agreement expired, Amigone attempted to move the crematory to Cooper Avenue. Although the area is closer to the town’s industrial zone, residents in that area took issue with the plan.

Those residents’ fears were alleviated when the state cemetery board ruled that Amigone couldn’t move the crematory.

In the state’s determination, the board said that combined funeral entities and crematories were prohibited in a decision in 1998, but Amigone’s Sheridan Drive location was grandfathered in.

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

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

Amigone then challenged the state decision, but in March, it was upheld by Erie County Supreme Court Justice John Michalek — putting the funeral home company in a state of limbo. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.

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