News Torque

The people who complained about the new Carson-Newman body farm reminded me of the people who complained about the new crematorium in Fountain City. Both sets of neighbors have unfounded worries about the effect of bodies on their neighborhoods. The Knoxville City Council is reviewing zoning codes for any future crematoriums.

Some of the highlights from the meeting minutes:

• Crematories or any facilities for cremation are currently not addressed anywhere within the City of Knoxville zoning ordinance. Funeral homes are allowed by right in the O-1 and C-3 zone districts. Cemeteries are allowed as uses permitted on review in a number of residential and office zone districts.

• There is no definition in the ordinance for funeral establishments or any other like term, nor is there a definition for cemetery.

• Cremation is common and rapidly increasing in Tennessee and the U.S.

• Interment of cremation remains in columbarium or memorial gardens is becoming common.

• Area residents have long had concerns about facilities for cremation located in close proximity to residential land uses and other areas where people, particularly children, regularly congregate.

• State law and court decisions consider cremation facilities as the same industry as funeral establishments.

• Recent studies done for the City of Spring Hill conclude that the air emissions from a proposed crematory located in close proximity to a residential neighborhood are low and within the range of estimated emissions from other types of generally accepted sources.

• There is a significant difference between facilities for cremation (as an accessory use) that are a part of a funeral establishment as one of the services provided, compared to a crematory (as a principal use) that operates for the sole purpose of doing cremations for many funeral establishments.

• Providing for facilities for the cremation of animals should also be done at this time.

• Other cities provide reasonable models for the approach to addressing cremation facilities in the zoning ordinance.

Another option for your mortal remains is the screw-in coffin. I learned of it on a funeral website called Connecting Directors. The site has several more articles for me to read in my spare time including one about current trends in Australian funerals.

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