Crematory: City can't regulate fumes

SNELLVILLE - City attorney Mike Williams reported Monday night that city officials have no authority to regulate emissions coming from the crematory located at U.S. Highway 78 and Abington Drive. Williams' firm researched the issue at the direction of city council members and was to present a drafted ordinance Monday giving the city the authority to monitor and regulate soil and air emissions coming from the controversial new business.

Councilwoman Kelly Kautz made her displeasure at the findings known, saying she received Williams' memo "at the 11th hour." Kautz also noted that she expected the first reading of an ordinance Monday, not discussion about an ordinance.

"This is suspect to me because of a quote that the mayor gave to an Augusta newspaper which indicated the same thing back on Aug. 24 - that the city has no authority to regulate emissions coming from the crematory or any other business."

Mayor pro tem Warren Auld agreed with Kautz, saying that "We're being told that we can do nothing. I find that difficult to believe."

Councilman Robert Jenkins added that since state law does not prohibit the city from regulating emissions, he believes the city can do exactly that. "I do not intend to roll over and play dead on this issue," Jenkins said.

Kautz said she has the authority to draft an ordinance. She will present it at the Sept. 22 city council meeting.

City does not pass ordinance change

A text amendment that, if passed, would lift a moratorium on all new Office and Professional zoning requests was not approved Monday. The proposed amendment would have stricken crematories and funeral homes, hair salons and nail salons, medical offices, hospitals and drug stores from O&P districts.

Kautz said she would not support the text amendment, since there are sweeping problems in the city's code that need to be addressed first. "Our development regulations need to be gone over with a fine-tooth comb," Kautz said. Jenkins agreed, saying, "We still have a 'hanging chad.'"

Until the moratorium is lifted, no new O&P zonings will be approved in Snellville.