July 20, 2011 —
The Milford Township Zoning Hearing Board dismissed an appeal by the neighbors of a proposed crematorium to stop the project.
The board decided that the crematorium, which is proposed by Kevin Stroyan, a Milford funeral director, did not provide a danger to the environment and that the effluents from the proposed project were within the standards set by the township and industry requirements.
The neighbors then decided to appeal the decision to the Pike County Court of Common Pleas where they have another appeal pending. This one concerns the fact that they say the township should have ruled the project to have a conditional use permit and not a permitted use permit, which was granted. A conditional use would require a hearing and the informing of neighbors about the plan.
During the hearing, Valerie Martin, who lives close to the site, made a passionate appeal to the board, stating that she feared the toxins would adversely affect her small children, who were already distressed about the plan. Martin warned that the toxins that issue from such crematoria were real and have adversely affected people.
Tony Waldron, attorney for Stroyan, stated that the site where the crematorium would be placed was zoned industrial and not residential. Martin is one of about five private homes that are in the zoned district. “He has the right to build in an industrial zone,” Waldron said.
In a letter addressed to the Pike County Conservation District (PCCD), Ed Borner, the son of William Borner, who lives very close to the site, quotes a letter of March 30 from the Pike County Planning Department that cites numerous problems with the proposed project that have not been addressed.
“I have attended every meeting on the project at the township office and the letter was never even addressed, no less the issues resolved,” Borner said.
Some of the problems cited in the planning department’s letter were the fact that a crematorium was neither defined nor listed in the schedule of district regulations. It further states that wetlands were not identified in the project map, nor a sewage planning document presented nor a highway occupancy permit presented, among other things.
“The conservation district failed to act when Stroyan began cutting down trees and built a road into the site,” he said.
The stream that runs through the property and the wetlands that are nearby have not been identified on the project map, he said.
Borner ended the letter by quoting the district’s regulation: “No official action shall be taken by the board of supervisors until the township has received and considered the comments of the Pike County Planning Department or after 45 days following transmittal of the Final Plan to the County Planning Department.”
“The PCCD was and still is being totally ignored and not given a chance to review in the 45 days that are required by law,” Borner said. “The PCCD has not stood up to the township and has not done its job.”
Stroyan, who said that all the items in the planning department’s letter were fulfilled, would not comment further because of an appeal before the County Court of Common Pleas.
“The majority of Mr. Borner’s complaints with the project has to do with zoning,” said Susan Beecher, director of PCCD. “I tried to explain to him what our jurisdiction is. We reviewed their erosion and sedimentation plan and made suggestions, which they followed. That’s chiefly our area, not zoning or zoning related issues, so I have to disagree with him.”