At Issue: Is crematorium really a health hazard or just a nuisance?

State Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, has filed a bill that could head off future battles over the location of crematoriums.

Beach’s bill would ban them within 2,000 feet of a residential neighborhood, an increase from the current 1,000 foot limitation, and would also strike the term “stand-alone” crematorium from the Georgia code.

Metro Atlanta has seen several nasty fights over such facilities in recent years. Funeral home operators say the percentage of people wishing cremation keeps increasing, and that the incineration process is safe. Opponents fear that harmful chemicals could be released, posing a risk to nearby residents, particularly children. And they claim property values drop and traffic increases.

At Issue: Is crematorium really a health hazard or just a nuisance? photo

Residents of the Towne Lake area of Woodstock started a campaign recently after County Commissioner Brian Poole announced plans for a funeral home and crematorium near a heavily-residential area.

Their issuses where that there are health risks associated with living so close to a crematory; quality of life will be diminished; it’s too close to Etowah High School (a tenth of a mile away); property values will drop and traffic will increase.

Those points haven’t been proven or disproven. However, Poole has told reporters he’ll scout another location for the crematory portion of the business.

Is that a good idea? Tell us what you think. Are crematory businesses harmful to a neighborhood? Should there be more of a buffer between them and residential areas than the current 1,000 feet? Would you mind living next to one? Send comments to [email protected]

HOMEOWNERS IN DUNWOODY WHOSE HOUSES GAINED VALUE OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS WILL GET MONEY BACK BECAUSE THEY WERE OVERCHARGED ON THEIR PROPERTY TAX BILLS.

The error occurred because Dunwoody officials didn’t notify the county, which handles the city’s tax billing, after voters approved a tax exemption during a November 2010 election. An overwhelming majority — 81 percent — of voters approved the measure.

The tax break provides residents with a discount on the city portion of their tax bills to negate tax increases caused by rising home values. There’s even legislation to extend the exemption into 2022.

Once the county recalculates taxes, the city will be billed and then refund checks will be mailed to residents. Nobody caught the mistake until the AJC asked why the tax break wasn’t included on property appraisal notices. Once the error came to light, the city was quick to work on a solution.

We asked readers if after everyone gets their money back, should this just be chalked up to a breakdown in communication or a glitch in the system? Or should the tax appraisal notice process be readjusted?

Here’s what some had to say:

Dunwoody is a new city and it’s doing a great job. Give the administration a break, already! — Anonymous

I don’t want any more red tape in government. It seemed like an honest mistake and everyone is getting their money back. Let’s move on. — Miss Manners

What good would changing the tax process do? It was a hiccup! Just don’t let it happen again. — John Q. Public

This question is worth thinking about, but who really has the answer. — BuzyBee

 

[“source – ajc.com”]