BALTIMORE — A controversial crematorium proposed in North Baltimore got the approval of a city zoning panel despite significant opposition and health concerns.
Baltimore’s Municipal and Zoning Appeals board (BMZA) approved Vaughn Greene Funeral Services, with conditions by a vote of 3-1 Tuesday.
The zoning board’s decision requires Vaughn Greene to negotiate a memorandum of understanding (MOA) with Govans residents by mid November.
The crematory is planned for the York Road funeral home which sits adjacent to homes and neighborhoods.
"One side says it's going to be bad. One side says it's going to be bad," said neighbor Jeffrey Thompkins. "It's definitely not going to be, that's the thing. It's a matter of how bad it is and can we tolerate it."
Thompkins and other's have been in opposition of the project since it was first brought to the zoning board.
"I've had my sign out since May," said Cindy Camp, pointing to a yellow sign on her property that read 'No Human Crematorium.
Camp also sent in a letter of opposition. More than 70 letters were submitted to the board.
Over the phone community leader Karen DeCamp said the crematorium undermines years of joint efforts by a diverse group of community leaders to bring new families into the area.
"How many people are going to want to move here," she asked. "The BMZA ignored the concerns of thousands of affected people."
Vaughn Greene operates three funeral homes in the city. It also has a cite in Randallstown and two in Pennsylvania. The company said it wants its own crematorium to fill a growing need.
WMAR-2 News reached out to the Vaughn Greene to see how it would address community concerns, specially as it relates to the MOU.
In a statement to WMAR a spokesperson said:
“Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has the highest respect for our neighbors and the communities we serve; we also have the highest respect for the zoning board’s approval of the application on the merits and its thorough work over the last several months at the three public hearings with 10 plus hours of public testimony and many, many pages of formal briefs."