Locals growl at proposed pet crematorium in Zebulon

aspecht@newsobserver.com amoody@newsobserver.comJune 7, 2013 

RALEIGH

— An animal crematorium proposed for construction north of Zebulon faces opposition heading into a review by the Wake County Board of Adjustment.

In their application for a special use permit, Linda Sue Perry, Stephen Perry and Angel Perry outline a plan to build a 4,000-square-foot facility at 2225 Zebulon Road (N.C. 96) to operate a business cremating animal remains.

“Our mission is to provide honest, caring and ethical pet cremations for veterinary clinics and caring pet owners and to meet a growing community need for proper animal disposal by cremation only,” the Perrys wrote in their application.

The adjustment board is expected to hold a hearing on the proposal at 9 a.m. on June 11 in room 700 of the Wake County Courthouse at 316 Fayetteville Street in Raleigh.

Already, locals like Dale Sims, who owns property on Cunningham Road adjacent to the proposed site of the animal crematorium, have concerns. Sims thinks the crematorium would hurt property values. He also worries about the local water quality, since the business hopes to locate in the Little River Reservoir watershed.

“There’s a good group of people upset about it,” Sims said. “People didn’t ask for this when they bought these homes out here.”

According to their application, the Perrys intend to cremate all animal remains indoors using an environmentally safe combustion process that “destroys smoke and odor from the cremation process ... (and) is designed to eliminate fluid runoff.” Stacy Harper, a Wake County planner, says the Perrys’ proposal should not impact groundwater.

Judy Eddins doesn’t buy it: “There is no way under the sun there ain’t gonna be smoke or smell,” said Eddins, who lives and owns rental property on Cunningham Road.

“If (the crematorium) is so clean and nice, why don’t they just build it beside their own house?” Eddins said. “(Because) no one with any sense wants it near their house.”

It’s unclear why the Perrys, who couldn’t be reached for comment, plan to open an animal cremation business at the Zebulon Road site. An animal hospital is located less than a half-mile down the road. The animal hospital’s owner, Anthony Creech, declined to comment.

Also, two-lane Zebulon Road would be the only buffer between the proposed animal crematorium and the playground of Wakelon Elementary School.

“When our kids are at recess, the building would be completely visible to them,” said Tad Sherman, Wakelon Elementary’s principal.

Sherman referred questions about Wakelon’s position on the crematorium to Wake County Schools officials in Cary. Samiha Khanna, a spokeswoman for Wake County Schools, outlined the district’s interest in an email:

“The Wake County Schools Facilities staff has investigated the application, and through the course of its research, has not concluded that the proposed use would pose a hazard to the school, staff or students given state and federal guidelines,” Khanna wrote.

“The district is not taking further action on the matter at this time, but will have staff members present at hearings to continue to monitor the proposal.”

Specht: 919-829-4826

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