Group challenges crematory decision

A citizens group in Carlsborg asked Clallam County hearing examiner Chris Melly to rethink his approval of an application from Jason Linde, owner of Linde Family Funeral Service, to create a crematory in the community’s industrial park.

Melly approved Linde’s application for a crematory on May 7 with certain conditions, such as the need for building and emissions permits.

Citizens for Carlsborg, a community group, is challenging the decision, stating Melly should reconsider his decision because there was certain evidence unavailable at the April 23 public hearing.

Melly makes decisions on land use for the county’s planning department. Certain land uses, including a crematory, are not outlined in the code so he must determine if the use is suitable for the proposed plot of land, in this case 108 Business Park Loop.

While trying to find similar uses, Melly mentioned that veterinarians are known to have small cremation chambers on site and that a veterinarian office is an approved use. Although not the deciding factor in the case, the citizen group challenges its validity stating there are no veterinarian offices in the area that do cremations.

Instead, the group wants Melly to consider the crematory to be more like a cemetery, which is not an allowed use of the Carlsborg land.

“Citizens requests that the examiner find that the proposed crematory is not similar to any veterinary clinic that exists in Clallam County or on the Olympic Peninsula and that the proposed crematory is more similar to a cemetery, which includes a crematory use,” the group’s May 19 request reads.

The citizen group also points out an April 23 Growth Management Hearings Board decision found the Carlsborg urban growth area invalid. The group’s lawyer, Gerald Steel, indicated that awarding a building permit, a condition of approval set by Melly, would be in direct conflict with the decision.

“Reconsideration should be granted only when an obvious legal error has occurred or a material factual issue has been overlooked that would change the previous decision,” Clallam County Code 26.10.610 reads. “The decision-making body shall consider the request at its next regularly scheduled meeting or within 10 calendar days of the mailing of the written decision.”

Now it is up to the county and the hearing examiner to decide whether or not the decision should be reconsidered. If reconsideration is allowed, Melly may be able to call together another public meeting on the issue.

If reconsideration is rejected, the group also can appeal the decision through the Clallam County board of commissioners and Clallam County Superior Court.
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