Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The town board sided with its residents Monday night and passed a resolution opposing the reopening of Amigone Funeral Home’s crematory at its property on Sheridan Drive.
“I do believe this is a quality of life issue for our residents who have experienced smoke, lingering odor and other issues,” Councilwoman Lisa Chimera said. “I think it is very important that we as a town board support our residents on this.”
The crematory has been closed since July 2012, when Amigone signed an agreement with the state attorney general’s office to halt operations for six months after residents spoke out about strong odors, smoke and illnesses that they attributed to the crematory.
Since the contract expired in January, residents have voiced their concern about the possibility of Amigone reopening the crematory. Rebecca Newberry, a coalition organizer, said she and residents have been working with the board to craft the resolution.
The measure, passed by a 4-1 vote, opposes the resumption of the crematory’s operations at the current property, located at 2600 Sheridan Drive, unless the company takes efforts to address residents’ complaints.
“Crematory operators tried technical modifications, including raising and lowering the stack, installing sound panels and removing plastic coverings from cremation caskets. However, resident complaints of strong odors, noise and soot persisted,” the resolution states. “In additional to technical modifications, the crematory operators have also unsuccessfully tried to find new locations for the crematory.”
A large group of residents attended Monday’s meeting and thanked the board for their support.
“We are not against Amigone. They do a good service for the community .... it’s just the crematory,” Neal Hodgson, a resident who lives nearby, said. “It has been a good summer, being able to keep our windows open and be in our backyards.
Councilman John Bargnesi, who voted against the resolution, said he voted against the measure because Amigone has followed state and local laws.