Crematory appealed for second time

Citizens for Carlsborg’s fight against installation of a cremation chamber in an existing storage building in the community’s industrial park continued this week with an appeal of the project going to the Clallam County commissioners.

The Clallam County hearing examiner, Chris Melly, who presides over land-use issues, approved the project in early May after a public hearing and declined to reconsider his decision after an early June appeal.

The county commissioners have the authority to stand by Melly’s decision, revoke it or send it back to county staff for review before making a decision. Commissioners have not set a date when the review will occur, but the county will advertise the schedule two weeks prior to the meeting date.

The Clallam County Code dictates the hearing must be a closed record appeal, meaning no new evidence can be introduced and the commissioners must rely on the existing record.

During his second review of the proposal, Melly ruled that the Citizens for Carlsborg group was not a party of record and did not allow new information provided by the group to be admitted into the case’s record. The group formed after the crematory’s approval.

However, Brian Magner, owner of Gabby’s Java Hut, also appealed the decision to the commissioners and Magner is a party of record. Magner’s attorney is Craig Miller.

The land-use appeal is likely to cite concerns about air quality from incineration of non-organic materials, such as dental fillings or pacemakers, and an alleged contradiction in Melly’s decision-making process.

Melly accepted a comparison of a crematory to a veterinary clinic, an approved use of the land, because some contain cremation chambers, although none do in Clallam County. Opponents argue Melly should have compared the crematory to a cemetery, which is not an approved use of land in Carlsborg.

The applicant, Jason Linde of Linde Family Funeral Service, plans to install the cremation chamber in a room in a warehouse-style building where he is cold storing cadavers, which he currently transports to Kent for cremation.

Linde needed Melly’s approval because Clallam County Code does not identify crematories as an allowed or prohibited use of the land. Linde is the peninsula’s representative of the nonprofit People’s Memorial Association, a low-cost provider of after-death services.

Citizens for Carlsborg has become the main objector to the building permit, which has allowed Linde to store bodies at 108 Business Park Loop. The group’s attorney, Gerald Steel, said that permit should not have been awarded due to a current label of invalidity on Carlsborg’s zoning, which was handed down by the state in late April.

Steel advised the county to form an appeals board to handle the permit appeal, however the county is likely to put the permit appeal in front of the hearing examiner, much like it did with Linde’s request for approval of his proposed land use. Dates have not been set for the appeals.

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