Perryville, Mo. debates location of future crematorium

Updated: Jan. 22, 2020 at 11:09 PM CST
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PERRYVILLE, Mo. (KFVS) - More American families are choosing to cremate their loved ones, but some people in Perryville, Mo. do not want the procedures to be done in the middle of town.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, cremations have surpassed burials as the most popular end of life option in the United States.

Brewer Monuments Co., a family owned business in Perryville, applied for the special use permit to build a local crematorium after the demand for the service increased.

“About 50 local families have made that choice in the last year and went with other options between Cape Girardeau and St. Louis,” said co-owner Angie Brewer. “Adding another more travel time is not the most convenient for the family. We’d like to provide an additional opportunity for that type of business in Perryville.”

The Brewer’s requested a special use permit from the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Wed. January 22, and more than a dozen concerned citizens came to voice concerns about the proposal.

Rebekah Roth owns Primrose Preschool near the proposed site of the crematory at 111 S. West Street.

Roth and others at the meeting shared a fear that having the new business in the middle of town could hurt property values and potential emit pollutants like dioxins and mercury.

“If you look within a one mile radius there are six schools in that area,” Roth said. “I’ve seen studies (from 2003) that show that the risk of still births is four percent higher and brain abnormality is five percent higher. Also in several states they’re no longer giving permits for crematoriums in residential or school areas because of this.”

Angie Brewer said they did a lot of research into reputable cremation companies and the potential dangers to make sure their staff and the surrounding community would be safe.

“Technology changes constantly. The president of the vendor we’re looking at has a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and he helps put the system in,” Brewer said. “He does this. He works with the agencies. He designed the equipment to meet that code on the front end. It is a self-contained, self-regulating unit that will do it’s own monitoring in addition to what we would do as operators.”

After hearing both sides, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission decided to vote against the special use permit to allow the crematorium.

Their recommendation to Perryville Alderman will be to do more research about the topic before another vote is cast during the city council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

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