TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Putrid, choking, foul: words residents have used to describe thick black smoke that once poured from Amigone's crematory in the Town of Tonawanda.
For more than a year, the crematory has not been in operation, but the funeral home has been given the all clear, and could fire it up at any time. The Town Board sent a message to Amigone on Monday, voting 4-1 for a resolution showing their opposition to the re-opening of the Sheridan Park crematory.
Resident Neal Hodgson said, "We're not against Amigone Funeral Home. They've been in our neighborhood a long time, they do a good service for the community. We're just opposed to the crematory."
The crematory had been in operation even before homes were built around it. But in the past few years, residents complained about noise and occasional soot.
Town Board member Lisa Chimura said, "I don't know if there's been a change in the technology, if there's been an increase, but it certainly has been an issue in the past few years."
Last July, the Amigone family voluntarily suspended operations under pressure from the State Attorney General Office. It was determined the business is in full compliance with the state and has been free to resume operation since January, but so far, the crematory has been silent.
Hodgson said, "And it's been a great summer to have our windows open and sit in our backyards and not have additives to our hot dogs and hamburgers."
Monday, the Tonawanda Town Board voted 4-1 to oppose the re-opening of the crematory unless residents' concerns are addressed. The move has no legal teeth, as there is little the town can do to stop the crematory from operating, but the move sends a message to the Amigone family.
Rebecca Newberry of the Clean Air Coalition of WNY said, "There's a lot of really happy people in there. This is something the residents we've been working with have been wanted for a long time and we're happy to have the town's support."
"We're doing everything we possibly can as a Town Board to make these people feel comfortable in the town," Chimura added.
The funeral home released the following statement:
"In advance of tonight's vote by the Town of Tonawanda board regarding their opposition to the reopening of Sheridan Park Crematory, it is important to reiterate that the operation of our crematory meets all New York State Department of Environment Conservation regulations and is in full compliance.
"Last year, the Amigone Family voluntarily and temporarily agreed to halt operations at our Sheridan Drive location in a good faith effort to work with the neighborhood and address its concerns. But any statement that implies the operation is not in full compliance with DEC regulations is false.
"As we said last week, we are reviewing all of our options regarding the operations of our crematory, and will continue every effort to be a good neighbor."
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