A South Bend neighborhood is trying to stop a business from moving in next door.
It isn't a bar, a restaurant, or anyone who'd make a lot of noise. In fact, it would be pretty quiet.
But homeowners are just bothered by the possibility of what could soon happen just feet from homes.
“I can understand a crematorium being at a funeral home,” said Everett Carver, who lives on William Street, “but just to pick a random building and say this is where I want it? No.”
With cremations on the rise, the owners of Zahoran Funeral Home say they need a place to install a new furnace and expand their business.
They’ve chosen a site in a light industrial area along Franklin Street, just across a dirt alley from homes on William Street.
But before they proceed with plans, they need zoning approval from city hall.
“I know small businesses need to develop and help South Bend, and I get that, but I just don’t understand why it has to be so close to residential,” said Heather Frost, a neighbor who gathered signatures and spoke up at a recent meeting, saying the community is concerned about emissions and the smell, not to mention possibly catching an occasional glimpse of a casket.
Zahoran declined an opportunity to comment for this story, but the manufacturer of the furnace says it burns everything at very high temperature, and then an afterburner incinerates smoke and other particles, leaving behind a gas that's cleaner than the exhaust from a diesel truck.
“The health concerns would be a myth,” said Kevin Finnery, a representative of Cremation Systems, an Illinois company that designs and manufactures the cremation chamber planned for Franklin Street, “there are no health concerns related to emissions a cremation unit.”
The funeral home plans to meet with neighbors next week, to see if they can find some common ground, but at this point, a lot of people have already made up their minds.
“Not around me, period.” said Taji Perkins, who lives nearby.