MARTINEZ, G.A. (WJBF) – A local business owner’s push to have a crematorium built behind his funeral home has hit a snag. Nearby businesses say there’s just not enough space.
“It just makes it easier to do everything on one site,” said Kevin McNeill owner of McNeil Funeral Home in Martinez.
Right now, McNeill and his employees travel to Langley, South Carolina to handle their cremations, and he says those prices add up. At one point, he was able to do cremations here in Augusta.
“Well the building burned down so we had to move,” said McNeill.
McNeill is talking about Poteet Funeral Home. It was located off of Peach Orchard Road, it burned down last year, and so far, there aren’t any plans to rebuild. McNeill requested to have the crematory built behind his funeral home, but other business owners don’t think that’s an appropriate spot.
“We’re not objecting to a crematory being built, the issue we have is where they want to build the crematory,” said Chadwick McCrickard.
Chadwick McCrickard is the owner of Petsch Respiratory. He says where McNeill wants to build the crematory would cause issues for his business.
“They were asking for a variance which would push it all the way to the corner of their land and block the view of our building,” said McCrickard.
McCrickard says he moved his business once before to make it more accessible for customers, but now he says he would be running into those same issues.
“The reason we moved from Belair Road where we had been for 21 years was because we were looking for a property that was easier and safer to find and get out of,” said McCrickard.
Cooper Cliatt, owner of Augusta Telephone has those same concerns.
“We have about 90 to 100 cars on this street that loops off of Martinez Blvd. and shaw street and he already has a serious parking problem,” said Cliatt.
But there’s also a fear of the smoke and odor the crematory could put into the air.
“I’m not an expert on crematories, I’ve read up on it a little bit and it says it smells like burnt leather and there could be some problems there,” said Cliatt.
McNeill’s request was denied Tuesday by Columbia County Commissioners. He says he would need to connect to the sewage line and add more parking before heading back to commissioners with his plans.
McNeill plans to resubmit his request within the next year.