The Cherokee Planning Commission will meet at the Cherokee Conference Center at the Bluffs at 7 p.m. Tuesday and will conduct hearings on rezoning requests for a proposed crematorium in the Macedonia community and a gas station at the entrance of the Estates at Brooke Park near Canton Marketplace.
Bart Williams has put forth the request into Cherokee County to rezone half an acre in Macedonia to build a crematorium and funeral home.
Williams fielded residents’ questions at a meeting in Macedonia in early May, and Ann Earley, a resident in attendance, said Saturday that most were receptive to Williams, but a few nearby neighbors now have grave concerns about potential pollution from the development.
Dick Miller is one of those residents.
Miller said Saturday it is simply not known how dangerous crematoriums can be to the community, and the location in Macedonia means that if there is harmful pollution, many residents could feel the effects, including children.
“I think that, being located as is proposed and planned, this thing really shouldn’t come up for debate,” Miller said. “It’s almost directly across the street from an elementary school.”
There are also about 3,000 residents and a high school nearby, he said.
Miller said the crematorium industry is much like the medical industry, where he said dollars and cents are put ahead of safety.
“We’ve been deeply misinformed for decades by the medical industry ... as to the serious damage being done by medical X-rays, and the fact is people get cancer at an alarming rate,” he said. “We’ve got something very similar here. We should act on the side of safety, on the side of caution.”
Williams said Saturday that studies don’t back up these concerns.
“Clearly crematoriums don’t have the best reputation,” he said. “Fifty years ago, maybe it was a concern, but the amount of emissions from a crematorium are lower than you’ll get out of a McDonald’s across the street.”
Williams said he too has children but is confident that his proposal wouldn’t be harmful to them.
“I wouldn’t be pursuing this if I wasn’t completely comfortable,” he said. “I’ve done the work, I’ve done the research, and we’re gonna run this thing professionally.”
Williams has provided residents who have expressed concerns to him with data to support his assertions.
“I’ll provide more data at the hearing (Tuesday),” Williams said. “And the county will have to make a decision.”
Another development that has residents concerned is a proposed gas station at the entrance of the Estates at Brooke Park subdivision near Canton Marketplace.
Peach Consolidated Properties, a Macon-based group, is seeking to rezone 3.5 acres there in hopes of building the gas station, which is to be 3,875 square feet.
Jim Rollins of Peach Consolidated Properties said in early May that he held a meeting with residents nearby, and they voiced many concerns.
The chief concern, Rollins said, was the gas station’s potential to cause traffic congestion in the well-populated area.
But Rollins argued that traffic already was an issue at this well-traveled spot on Highway 20 and that his gas station would not contribute to the problem.