Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Peters Ordinance Regulates Crematories

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Peters Ordinance Regulates Crematories

Article excerpt

Peters council members Monday put an end to two years of contentious debate over whether crematories should be allowed in the township.

Council passed a new ordinance aimed at regulating them.

"The ordinance is stringent yet balanced," said environmental consultant Gavin L. Biebuyck of Liberty Environmental Inc., who was hired by the township to help craft the regulations.

The issue spawned a public outcry early in 2011, when a local company called Audia Group Investments proposed building a funeral home with a crematory at the site of a former La-Z-Boy store along Route 19.

Nearby homeowners objected, saying they were concerned about mercury and other toxic emissions from the incinerator. The township denied approval for the facility, which resulted in the company filing a lawsuit that remains in court. Because Audia filed its application before the new regulations were approved, its case is not affected by the new ordinance, township solicitor William Johnson said. The company has since opened the funeral home without a crematory.

Although property owners sought a ban on crematories, council members said such a move would be illegal and would be overturned by the courts, leaving the township with no regulations.

Instead, council has spent the past year and a half rewriting and editing new regulations that Mr. Biebuyck said are the first of their kind for any crematory in the U.S. but are achievable benchmarks.

The regulations, unanimously agreed upon, set unique environmental standards, including continuous monitoring of mercury and other toxins; the installation of emission control devices; and air emissions limits on exhaust gases, particulate matter and carbon monoxide.

The new regulations make crematories a conditional use in districts zoned light industrial. That means that applicants must bring their request to council, which would convene a public hearing and notify nearby property owners, who would have the right to provide input. The township's main light industrial area is on Valleybrook Road near the intersection with Route 19.

Crematories must be at least 750 feet from any existing residence, school or day care center and must be on at least one acre of land. …

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