WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Charley Toole wasn't alarmed when he first heard about the construction of the Burpee-Scott Memorial Chapel on Highway 41. But when he learned the funeral home would include a crematory, he got fired up.
And Toole isn't alone.
Hundreds of people from the Rose Hill subdivision have signed a petition opposing the crematory construction. Toole worries about property values and possible pollution from the burning bodies, a smell and sight he simply doesn't want in his backyard.
"My concerns are first of all the environmental, the health factors, when bodies are burned toxins are given off. The most dangerous of which is Mercury," he said.
At Monday's meeting, Toole formerly met with Warner Robins City Council about the crematory. Mayor Shaheen tells 41NBC he will hold a meeting with the city attorney and residents to discuss the complaint.
The law clearly states that crematories must be at least 1,000 feet away from a residential subdivision. However, it only applies to stand alone crematories and since the Burpee-Scott facility is a full-service funeral home, the builders are exempt. This means homeowners like Toole can do very little to halt the construction. Owner Tim Burpee said is all goes as planned the project will be complete in spring 2014.
"The property is zoned C-2," Burpee said, "we check into every bit of that. We went to the Secretary of State's office, talked to them about every bit of the regulations that were there. We were approved by the city and we're just trying to do the very best we can."
With his petition at hand, Toole is doing the best he can to keep the funeral home and fumes out of his backyard.