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Planners approve crematorium

The South Boston Planning Commission recommended approval of Powell Funeral Home’s request to rezone property along Broad Street for construction of a crematorium at Wednesday’s meeting.

Planners unanimously voted to recommend re-zoning a lot at 1354 Broad Street from R-1 Low Density Residential to B-2 General Business District during a public hearing, according to Zoning Administrator Ted Daniel.

Daniel said Les Powell III, president of Powell Funeral Home, and Robert Powell, vice-president of Powell Funeral Home, spoke at the public hearing.

Powell Funeral Home is making plans for the construction of a crematorium near its present location, with rezoning of property located at 1354 Broad St. the first step.

That is the proposed location of the crematory, the construction of which is an expensive proposition, according to Robert Powell.

The property in question faces Broad Street, but the crematory will be built in such a way as to be esthetically pleasing, said Powell, adding the crematory would not be visible from Broad Street.

“It will be tastefully done,” added Powell.

Plans for the crematory currently are in the design and pricing phase, and the project must clear several environmental and safety hurdles before construction can proceed, according to Powell.

“It’s not cheap,” he noted, explaining it will take anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 for one essential part of the crematory, in addition to more money for additional infrastructure, including processors, smokestack and the building itself.

The project must comply with both EPA and OSHA regulations, Powell added.

“We want to get rezoning and consider costs and go from there,” Powell said.

The funeral home owner said Powell’s eventually plans to build the crematorium, but this is just “a first step.”

The option of cremation has gained popularity nationwide in recent years, primarily due to a growing shortage of available land for interment of deceased individuals.

Also on Wednesday evening, Second Street resident Mary Douglas appeared before planners on Wednesday to air her concerns about a neighboring house.

Douglas, who also appeared before town council on Monday, has raised concerns about the property next to her, an occupied house at 1114 Second Street.

“It’s in total disrepair, and I’m embarrassed for people to come to my house,” a frustrated Douglas said to council.

Douglas said she and her husband built a privacy fence about a month ago but received a letter from the town advising them the fence violated the zoning ordinance due to its height.”

However, she did not ask planners to grant a variance for the height of the fence Wednesday, Daniel said.

Planners took no official action, according to Daniel, but did agree to look at the matter further.