Loudon zoning officials to consider crematory

By Hugh G. Willett-knoxnews.com

LOUDON — A proposal to build a crematory in Loudon is meeting objections from some locals concerned about the impact such a facility might have on businesses and residents.

The Loudon Board of Zoning Appeals will meet today to consider a request for special exception to operate a crematory in conjunction with a funeral home. The request was made by Larry Click of Click Funeral Home, which operates funeral homes in Knoxville, Loudon and Lenoir City.

The crematory would be operated in the old United Community Bank building near the intersection of Maremont Parkway and Highway 72.

Location of the crematory at the site is controversial, said Russell Newman, Loudon County planning and codes enforcement director. He said he has heard from a number of residents who are not happy.

“We’ve had a lot of calls. Some people think it might have a negative effect on the area,” he said.

Newman said that a special exception is required because current commercial zoning regulations in the county do not cover a crematory. The board will have to decide if the crematory is compatible with current and future use of the property in that area.

“They will look at what the other uses are in that zoning area to see if this is a good fit,” he said.

The site of the former bank building is across the street from a strip mall that is home to a Food City and other businesses.

Romeo’s Pizza on Highway 72 is about 100 yards from the proposed site of the crematory. Manager Julie James said she just found out about the proposal Tuesday.

“Everybody is shocked,” she said. “Nobody told us anything about it. They should have ordered an impact study.”

James said she opposes the crematory, and so do all the customers she’s spoken with at her restaurant.

“Everything I’ve heard is negative. It’s going to impact our business,” she said.

At Goodfella’s Outlet next door, owner Jay Alwadi said he is not yet concerned, but he wonders if the community needs another funeral home facility.

A package of information provided to the zoning board includes a description of the equipment planned for the site. The Power-Pak II Plus Smoke-Buster 166 cremation machine offers 100-minute or less cremation time and can handle up to six cremations per day, according to the product brochure.

The controversy over a funeral home crematory isn’t new to Loudon.

Residents of Fountain City last year opposed a crematorium permit for Gentry-Griffey Funeral Chapel, arguing that their property values would be affected and that there was potential for pollution and odor from incinerated human remains. Chapel operators said there would be no odor or smoke.

Because there were no existing zoning codes for crematoriums, Knoxville City Council created new rules including buffers and limits on where crematoriums can operate. Existing funeral homes are grandfathered in under state laws and can add crematoriums.

Larry Click could not be reached for comment.

Residents not happy about plans for Loudon County's first crematory

JOSH AULT-6 News Reporter

LOUDON (WATE) - Plans for the very first crematory in Loudon County are moving forward, but not without controversy.

The owners of Click Funeral Home found an old bank building in Loudon they feel would be a perfect location.

But not everyone in the community is excited about the proposal.

If the plan goes through, the crematory would be located at the former United Community Bank location on Highway 72, near Maremont Parkway.

"The zoning ordinance doesn't specifically list a crematory as a permitted use, so because of that, the only way it could be permitted is if the board of zoning appeals for the city of Loudon approved it as a special exception use," said Loudon County Director of Planning and Codes Enforcement Russ Newman.

Newman says the board will make their final decision Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at city hall.

The public is invited to voice their opinions about the crematory coming to this building.

The proposed crematory will be next to Romeo's Pizza.

"I don't think it's appropriate because it's next to restaurants, grocery stores," said Romeo's Pizza manager Julie James. "I just don't think it's a good idea."

Bobbie Mallard lives only two miles from the proposed crematory.

"If they function properly it may not be an interference, but if the weather is wrong, or if they have a mistake, it could be very unpleasant to be having your meal and to smell the smell," said Mallard.

County officials say they have already received several phone calls about the crematory.

"Most of them have not been in support of the application," said Newman.

Larry Click, the owner of Click Funeral Homes, was not available for an interview Tuesday.

Click Funeral Homes already has three locations in Loudon County.