The owner of a Town of Tonawanda crematory that has been under fire by neighbors and the state attorney general announced Thursday that he has “no immediate plans” to reopen it and backed away from a proposal to move the crematory to a northwest corner of the property.
“At this time, we are reviewing all of our options, but moving the crematory across our property is no longer on the table,” said Anthony P. Amigone, Sr., chairman of Amigone Funeral Home. “In the meantime, we have no immediate plans to reopen our crematory.”
Amigone and Sheridan Park Inc., the name under which the nonprofit crematory operates, were under pressure from residents concerned about their health and tired of the noise and smell, and the threat of legal action by state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
Amigone agreed to a six-month moratorium at 2600 Sheridan Drive, at Parker Boulevard, in July 2012 and had been considering relocating the crematory to another spot on the property after being unable to find an acceptable alternative site.
The company’s attempt to relocate to 55 Cooper Ave., near the Thruway entrance from Grand Island Boulevard, was rejected by the state Division of Cemeteries.
That decision is being contested in appellate court in Rochester. The company would have to give the Attorney General’s Office two weeks’ notice should it decide to reopen in its current location.
“Over the years, our family has strived to be a good neighbor and will continue to do so,” Amigone said in a news release. “We worked out a plan last year to move the crematory to an industrial site in Tonawanda, but it was blocked.
“Our proposal to move the crematory across our Sheridan Drive property was also opposed. We have had conversations and meetings with our neighbors, and that dialogue will continue.”
The Erie County Legislature on Thursday canceled a public hearing on Amigone’s proposal. The hearing had been scheduled for Monday.
“I applaud the decision of the Amigone family,” said Legislator Kevin R. Hardwick, R-City of Tonawanda. “I think they understand the residents were opposed to this, and they respected the residents. My hope is that they will not decide to reopen the current facility on Sheridan Drive and that the state cemetery board will reconsider their position and allow them to move elsewhere.”
The Tonawanda Town Board may consider a resolution Monday opposing reopening the crematory unless residents’ concerns are addressed.
“It’s really a quality-of-life issue for the neighborhood,” said Councilman Joseph H. Emminger. “I do know people in that neighborhood, and in my course of travels, I get people who come up to me and mention it fairly often – the odors and the noise.”
The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York has rallied concerned residents, including Elizabeth J. Ellis, who lives on Melody Lane behind the crematory, in support of the town’s resolution.
“I’m ecstatic and relieved,” she said of Amigone’s announcement. “We hope this is the end of it, because we’re never going to give up.”
News Staff Reporter Mark Sommer contributed to this report. email: firstname.lastname@example.org