Tampa City Council learns they're impotent to deal with crematoriums by Mitch E. Perry

02/22/07
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

The Tampa City Council learned today that there is little, if nothing they can do to prevent a crematorium from being located near Ybor City.

 

Last month, the owner’s of the proposed site tried to place it in the residential area of Tampa Heights.   Local zoning would have permitted the crematorium, but complaints from the residents discouraged the owners.

 

Jerry Campbell is with the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission.  He said there are 7 creamatoriums currently in business in Hillsborough County (roll tape#1 o.q.”downwind”)

 

During his presentation, the EPC’s Campbell acknowledged that there has been a request in the past week for a 2nd crematorium in Ybor City in the last week.

 

Campbell continued on for 3 more minutes before any Council member verbally reacted to that news.  It was Councilman Frank Reddick who asked for clarification (roll tape#2

 o.q.”laughing”)

 

EPC officials told the County that under a law mandated from the State’s Department  of Environmental Protection, there is now a streamlined permitting process for creamatoriums in Florida. 

 

And Rick Marotti from the Hillsborough EPC said that the  way that the law is now structured,  his department has very little influence on controlling such permits  (roll tape#3 o.q.”very tight in this situation”)

 

Linda Saul-Sena asked City Attorney David Smith that with 2 creamatoriums now slated for the historic district  , what could the City do to aggressively protect Ybor City?

 

Smith said the problem is that the process is governed by rules, not by aesthetic considerations (roll tape#4o.q.”            make that case”)

 

Councilman Sean Harrison mused that the City could possibly argue for a variance from State law because of the fact that Ybor is an unusual area to be considered ‘industrial (roll tape#5 o.q.”case we can make”)

 

John Dingfelder said the way the law is now structured, it’s apparent that the Funeral Parlor industry has shown its muscle in Tallahassee (roll tape#6 o.q.”and that’s not fair”)

 

Fran Costantino is the President with the East Ybor Civic Historic Association.    She expressed outrage that 2 creamatoriums could soon be placed near Ybor City(roll tape#7 o.q.”deserves”)

 

But Councilman Sean Harrison said that last comment was a cheap shot (roll tape#8 o.q.”this morning”)

 Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena then instructed the City’s legal department to come back before the Council next month for a discussion on how the Ordinance might be tweaked.

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