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Belusko: 'I’m Here to Serve the Community, Not Fight'

Peters Township residents expressed ongoing crematory concerns at Monday's meeting; Danielle Andy Belusko spoke on the matter Tuesday.

A group of residents filled council chambers Monday night expressing concerns over an issue that came to a halt with council’s vote several months ago.

on permitting a proposed crematory at its June 1 meeting. Now, Audia Group is suing the township for failing to permit the crematory as an accessory to the newly built funeral home on Route 19.

opened last week as a full-service funeral home offering cremation services conducted off-site.

By law, council can allow crematories in parts of the township deemed industrial, which attracted many Hidden Brook residents to last night's meeting where those parcels lie. 

Residents expressed concerns regarding air pollution, including the continued enjoyment of the nearby walking trails, children's safety playing at parks and going to schools, and home values.

“There is no scientific evidence linking crematories and air pollution,” Belusko told Patch Tuesday. “The information has been wrong from the beginning.”

Silvestri told residents Monday the best approach was to include crematories in the industrial area as a permitted use with additional special exceptions, such as one-acre parcels with a 750-foot setback—including emission control devices.

“Evidence is evidence,” Belusko said. “As a mom of three kids, I’ve made a life-long decision and commitment to my business, and I wouldn’t harm my kids or anyone else’s.

“I am all for the Clear Air Act, I exceed the Clear Air Act. No one is doing their research and there’s been a lot of misinformation.”

She confirmed “cremation” is in her business name because she's offering the service.

“It's being done off-site. Period,” she said. “80 percent of funeral homes in the world offer the services. It’s the future. It’s what people want."

Belusko also confirmed she did not buy the vacant Sears building next door and does not plan to.

“People are taking information they hear and running with it,” she said. “I shouldn’t have to fight. I’d be happy to talk to concerned residents. I’d love for them to call me—we could meet for coffee, for lunch."

As far as the next step, neither council or Belusko could confirm a time frame.

“Nothing has been done,” she said. “I’ve been honest and ethical, and now my focus is serving the Peters community.”

Roger February 28, 2012 at 10:51 PM
The naysayers have an agenda NOT related to the pollution issue. It is not clear, and they are being vague, but nobody can take them seriously. They have some reason to stop this business from moving forward with their plans. The sooner the agenda is exposed, the better. Nobody can take their complaints for what they say. If they really were serious about pollution, they would have been at Peters Council long before this with some obvious polluting practices. Two easy ones to start the list: Chemicals applied to residential lawns. From mid-March through early December, neighborhoods are flush with commercial trucks putting down chemicals. Each lawn gets treated four, five, or six times per season. Many of these chemicals contain poison intended to kill insects or weeds. Some of this material will run off during rainy periods. Even if a commercial service is not putting down the materials, homeowners themselves are doing the same thing. Consider all the product that moves out of local establishments, such as Millers Ace. Secondly, consider all salt that is spread on the road surfaces. Yes, it gets into turf areas adjacent to the road, and the rest of it runs into the streams. These are but two examples of blatant pollution. I do not hear these objectors wanting to ban these practices. Why? The pollution from a crematory is undoubtedly a very, very small sliver when compared against either of the practices mentioned above. Another agenda, to be sure!
Patty February 29, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I would like to applaud Danielle Belusko for the generous offer of coffee or lunch. My Husband and I are willing to host a Coffee [Starbuck’s of course] to give Ms. Belusko the opportunity to “Clean Up” the air of misinformation. The Peters Twp. residents [especially who reside in Crossgates and Hidden Brook] would like to have full understanding of her pending law suit against Peters Twp. ~ which means she is indirectly suing all the residents of Peters. If she has NO intentions of pursuing Cremation in a C-2 zoning or Light Industrial Adjacent to Residential Neighborhood, Parks, Churches, Day Care or our Schools. Withdraw the law suit. Actions speak louder than words.
bill berry February 29, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Bill Berry - Sherborne Drive I find it ironic that the first word in Ms. Belusko's business' name would be "Cremation" when it alone was the epicenter of the controversy. For those who have an issue with the idea of a crematorium on-site, it strikes me as a very public poke in the eye. On a more practical note, I don't think the name itself fits the environment and atmosphere that Ms. Belusko wants to project for her new funeral home. Honestly, does anyone really want to say his or her loved one's visitation services are being held at "Cremation and Funeral Services from 7-9"? It may be the future but to this PT resident it appears and sounds odd, at best.
K. Peters February 29, 2012 at 06:40 PM
It's easy... Don't use their business or look at the sign. Your problems have been solved.
Anna March 01, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Roger: I believe you are actually talking about water pollution here, not air pollution. You're not all together wrong, but it is a different issue. I suspect residents simply do not want the crematorium so close to their home, period. No hidden agenda.
Anna March 01, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Bill: While the business does look attractive, but I suspect some of the lawsuit money would have been better spent on a communications / PR firm for business branding. Yikes, the name is not good. (BUT I think it reads that way, so when someone from SWPA is looking for cremation services, they see this business "first" though most all funeral homes offer it, too.)
bill berry March 02, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Anna, I definitely get the organic value in the term Cremation being listed first... and I actually own and Advertising & PR agency! LOL. But I'm with you, I still think it's odd.... maybe a variation of or by-product of the cremation process like "The Embers. Cremation & Funeral Services" would be more appropriate. Hey, it's the future, right?
Joann March 02, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Why is she suing the community she is wishing to "serve"? Drop your lawsuit against Peters Township!! Furthermore, if there is no air pollution with cremation, why do you need to put a smoke stack in a neighborhood? Just let it vent in your funeral home......
bill berry March 03, 2012 at 02:27 AM
No worries. I won't be... hopefully. The sign? It's makes me chuckle. Can't wait to see the name listed in the PG, O-R, and Trib.
Michael Anderson March 09, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Roger, You are dead wrong. I live near the proposed site and I oppose it because I don't want my 2 year old daughter breathing mercury and dioxins. If you would educate yourself on the chemicals that come off during the cremation process, it would be clear that this is not an issue of business competition, it's a matter of protecting our children's air.
Michael Anderson March 09, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Is your solution for all the air pollution to not breath the air too??
Michael Anderson March 09, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Amen!

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