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Crematory challenge delayed





The community group Citizens for Carlsborg will need to wait a bit longer to hear a response to its request for the county's hearing examiner to reconsider his initial approval of a crematory in Carlsborg.

On May 7, Clallam County hearing examiner Chris Melly approved the application of Jason Linde, owner of Linde Family Funeral Service, to install a crematory chamber inside an existing warehouse building in the Carlsborg light industrial park at 108 Business Park Loop.

Citizens in the area, both home and business owners, started the grassroots Citizens for Carlsborg to challenge the proposed crematory. The group and its lawyer, Gerald Steel of Olympia, challenged Melly's decision, asking for reconsideration of his approval.

During a May 28 meeting, Melly indicated he would bring the matter forward again at 1 p.m. on June 11 in a public meeting in the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

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.

If Melly approves the application again, the citizens will have the opportunity to appeal the decision in Clallam County Superior Court. Linde will have the same opportunity should Melly decide not to grant his application.

The citizen group alleges Melly's decision was made without new evidence they have brought forward.

While trying to find similar uses in the May 7 meeting, Melly mentioned that veterinarians are known to have small cremation chambers on site, indicating that veterinarians are an approved use of land

in Carlsborg.

The citizen group wants Melly to compare the crematory to a cemetery rather than a veterinarian, because no veterinarians in the area do cremations. Cemeteries are not an allowed use in Carlsborg.

The group also alleges a recent state-level decision regarding the validity of the Carlsborg urban growth area disallows the county from granting Linde a building permit for the operation, one requirement he has for approval.

Clallam County planning staff indicated all applications were received before the state's decision, meaning they are unaffected. Also, in order to obtain an emissions permit from the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, Linde's application will go through a second round of public hearings so Melly's June 11 decision is not likely to be the last time the crematory is vetted in a public forum.

But the group doesn't want the proposal to get that far, citing concerns over air quality and impacts to the Carlsborg community.

However, Linde remains steadfast that his operation will be without odor or ash due to his modern equipment and the clean air agency quantifies the crematory emissions as minimal.

Linde said he would not mark the business with a sign and would limit the crematory's profile in Carlsborg by conducting all business in his office in Sequim.

Citizens for Carlsborg announced it was not against cremations but rather the location Linde chose, due to its proximity to other businesses and homes.

Linde said he understands the stigma people attach to death and cremation but he believes a crematory is a good fit in Carlsborg's light industrial park.

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