UPDATE 3: The crematorium plans are set to move forward.
UPDATE 2: The public meeting has been postponed.
UPDATE: A public meeting has been announced to discuss community concerns over the crematorium plan.
Original story below…
WHITE MARSH, MD—Some local residents are hoping that plans to open a new crematorium in White Marsh go up in smoke.
The White Marsh-Cowenton Community Association has created an online petition opposing Evans Funeral Chapel’s apparent plans to open a crematorium in the local community.
Evans plans to open a new funeral home at funeral home on the property located at 11543 Philadelphia Road.
When the company first announced the plans, WMCCA says there there was no community opposition because the plan submitted to Baltimore County’s Development Plan Committee didn’t mention plans for a crematorium. The zoning on the property at the time was BL, which only permitted the property to be used as a funeral home by special exception, which was granted by an administrative law judge in May 2022.
Since that time, Evans Funeral Chapel has submitted an application with the Maryland Department of the Environment to construct a crematorium on the property.
Some residents are concerned since there are two daycare facilities nearby, a church, and over 100 residences. In the petition, created by WMCCA president Heather Patti, the organization cites studies showing that crematoriums emit gases and volatile organic compounds including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, hydrocarbons and particulate matter/fine dust.
Mercury and carbon monoxide are both colorless and odorless, and mercury is a known neurotoxin, defined as a poison which acts on the nervous system. Exposure to neurotoxins has been implicated in neurological damages such as intellectual disability, persistent memory impairments, epilepsy, and dementia.
Many states in the U.S. only permit crematoriums to operate within the confines of cemetery property, while other states, such as Connecticut, North Carolina, and California, have enacted legislation mandating that crematoriums operate no closer than distances of up to 500 feet from residential homes and/or daycare facilities.
“Despite assurances from the funeral & cremation industry that the cremation process is safe for nearby residents, there is an absence of data to prove this statement,” reads the online petition. “Based on the lack of evidence to determine that the operation of a crematorium poses no health risks to the immediately surrounding residential & business community, the residents and business owners of White Marsh are vehemently opposed to having the proposed crematorium constructed at 11543 Philadelphia Rd.”
The petition can be viewed and signed online here.
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