What's happening to the proposed crematory next to the retirement community?

Residents of retirement community Lakeside Crossing aren't happy about a proposed rezoning to put a crematory next to the neighborhood.
Residents of retirement community Lakeside Crossing aren't happy about a proposed rezoning to put a crematory next to the neighborhood.

Remember that proposed crematory sandwiched between two retirement communities? It's not going to be built after all.

A zoning amendment would have allowed a crematory and funeral home between the Lakewood Crossing and Myrtle Trace retirement communities, but after dozens of residents showed up in opposition to the plan, Horry County council unanimously voted it down.

"Imagine, if you would, sitting out in your back yard, cooking out, having a peek-a-boo view of a crematory from your barbeque area? This is awful," said Lakeside Crossing resident Neil Hibben, 64. "This could very well kill the possibility of selling this home in the future. Location is everything."

Hibben gave the council a petition signed by more than 300 people in opposition to the crematory.

"I myself do not want to go and sit outside in beautiful weather like today, enjoying a good cigar with my puppy and watching the rain of cremains, which is cremated remains of people’s mothers, grandparents, fathers, brothers, sisters, children," said Sid Levin, another Lakeside Crossing resident who lives on Wellspring Drive.

His backyard butts up to the property where the crematory could have been built.

"Being a person of the Jewish religion, every time I hear the word 'crematory,' I think of the millions of people who were incinerated in Nazi Germany in WWII," he said. "Think about what you’re doing. Think about what we’re saying here tonight."

Funeral home owner Chris Burroughs said the crematory wouldn't affect anyone.

"There’s nothing that comes out of these crematories that’s harmful to anybody," Burroughs said. "You can’t even see anything coming out of the stack. Radiant heat is all you can see if you look closely. I don’t really know what the issue here is but fear. It’s not going to make you die any quicker riding by a funeral home."

Councilor Harold Worley suggested an ordinance to keep funeral homes from opening up near homes.

"It’ll basically prohibit crematories or any other legal offensive business to be within a certain distance of a residential home," Worley said.

Burroughs was against any such policy.

"Every crematory in this county backs up to a subdivision," Burroughs said. "To say we need to make an ordinance to do away with putting crematories near subdivisions, there’s already seven in Horry County."

Despite the debate, council ultimately listened to the voters in the retirement communities and voted down the crematory.

"The vote came out on the right side, which is the side of the people in that community," Worely said. "Any time that the voters show up, their voices are going to be heard and they were heard tonight.”

Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian

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