MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - About 100 people packed an Orange Mound church in protest over plans to build a crematorium in their neighborhood.
Health concerns and fears of dwindling property values are just some of the reasons they don’t support the development.
The developer, Anastasia Davis, says she needs her crematorium to be in Orange Mound, so she can be close to other small funeral homes in the area.
Davis filed a special use permit last month to build a 1,350 square-foot metal building on .11 acre plot of land just off Park Avenue .
The business would cremate bodies just a few feet away from homes and across the street from Mt. Pisgah CME Church. Community leaders with the Orange Mound Task Force say the crematorium should not be built in such a high traffic area.
Davis agreed to move it someplace else, but the other locations she is considering is also in Orange Mound.
Residents at the meeting were not happy with that compromise.
“We want it completely out of Orange mound. We're ok with her starting a business but not a crematory,” said Charian Harrison who lives in Orange Mound and works in the funeral industry. “ I'm all for it. We do need a crematory that's where the industry is moving to but not in a residential area.”
Harrison says there are still too many questions surrounding whether or not crematoriums are safe in close proximity to residents. City Councilwoman Jamita Swearingen who represents Orange Mound is concerned about potential chemicals being released into the community.
The developer says she has family that lives in Orange Mound and says it is not a health risk.“I would never invest in a business that would harm my family and definitely not invest in a business that would harm this community,” said Davis.
Davis changed her Special Use permit application to a Variance permit application.
She says her new meeting with the Land Use and Control board will be Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.
Orange mound residents say they will be at the meeting in high numbers.