Editor's Note: This story was updated at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Township residents filed into council chambers Monday night to soon hear the verdict they collectively sought—crematory and funeral home at the former La-Z-Boy site along Route 19 denied.
The meeting convened with a deliberation by council on the crematory curative amendment, proposed at the June 1 meeting, challenging the validity of the zoning ordinance.
The challenger, Audia Group Investments, LLC, proposed an amendment to permit crematories as part of the definition of a funeral home. Chairman-at-large Robert Atkison reminded meeting attendees that more than nine public hours have been spent on the issue.
Council member David Ball commenced the motion toward a unanimous vote of 7-0 by noting that the proposed crematory’s “presence and location would be detrimental to township residents’ health and safety.”
Following the final vote, council member James Berquist spoke to residents on his final decision—he articulated the importance of public opinion, but was disappointed, in some instances, at the expressed negativity and in those who "intimidated township employees in the process."
He credited Tip O’Neill’s illustrious quote, "All politics is local," and said he wants public opinion, but that it has to be done in a less intimidating way.
"It's not necessary to be boorish," he said. “It’s not the way I would want Peters Township residents to act." Berquist commended resident Sam Hazo and others for their "good comments" throughout the public hearing process.
The crematory issue, which began in March, has come to a close.