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Concerns of city residents ignored in crematorium decision | READER COMMENTARY

Cindy Camp, holding her three-year-old granddaughter Cartel Johnson, is opposed to plans by Vaughn Greene Funeral Services in Govans to build a crematorium in her neighborhood. April 21, 2021. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun).
Cindy Camp, holding her three-year-old granddaughter Cartel Johnson, is opposed to plans by Vaughn Greene Funeral Services in Govans to build a crematorium in her neighborhood. April 21, 2021. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun). (Amy Davis)

The Municipal and Zoning Appeals board bows to business over residents. So, what’s new (”Zoning board conditionally approves building crematorium at funeral home in Baltimore’s Govans,” Oct. 19)?

In his testimony, Vaughn C. Greene stated that he is outsourcing cremation services to other funeral homes, but has to pay for these services, which he then charges extra for. He has basically said he is losing money. How much money, we don’t know, but enough to spend thousands of dollars to build his own facility in Govans.

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The zoning board stated that there is “a demonstrated need — certainly a request — and a need for [cremation] services.” That is all based on Mr. Greene’s testimony. Again, the funeral home is providing crematorium services today, so the only need that the board is citing is that Vaughn Greene needs additional profits.

Meanwhile, residents and experts have demonstrated a need to prevent the crematorium due to health concerns and neighborhood house values plummeting. More than 70 letters of opposition were sent to the board by families and individuals. More than 180 people have signed a petition against the crematorium plan. Two state lawmakers and 4th District Councilman Mark Conway also sent a letter of opposition.

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With community input, the board had all it needed to legally decline this proposal. However, three members of the board ignored the community and put profits over what is best for city residents. How do we ever correct for social injustice when the perpetrators are running the system?

Dave Arndt, Baltimore

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