Officials are moving forward with a company that plans to bring a pet funeral home to Jerome Township.
During Tuesday’s trustees meeting, zoning officials shared their opinions regarding a code amendment proposed by Faithful Companion Pet Cremation Service.
The company has previously expressed interest in building a 7,100 square foot pet crematorium at 8220 Memorial Drive, Plain City.
The desired site is currently zoned commercial, which allows for funeral homes and cremation services. However, Faithful Companion Pet Cremation Service proposed a code amendment that would specifically add pet cremation services to the list of permitted uses.
Gary Smith, of G2 Planning & Design, and Eric Snowden, Jerome Township Zoning Inspector, said they aren’t opposed to adding the new permitted use, but don’t think it’s entirely necessary.
“They are providing basically all the same services you would expect from a normal funeral home,” Smith said.
He went on to explain that current zoning code, which allows for funeral homes, doesn’t specify whether services must be provided to humans or animals.
For that reason, Smith said the applicant “actually fits in pretty well with a use that’s already approved.”
Smith and Snowden said they also worked with Thayne Gray, Union County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, to review the proposed definition of “pet crematories.”
Smith said he felt they needed more time to refine the definition and limit “potential side effects.” For instance, he said the proposed amendment didn’t specify which animals are considered pets or include a size limit for them.
As a result, he said zoning officials were hesitant to move forward with the proposed language.
But, whether or not the amendment is approved, he said the applicant wouldn’t be negatively affected.
“Let us investigate this a little further while moving the applicant forward,” Smith said.
Township Trustee Ron Rhodes suggested the group table the code amendment, as long as it didn’t create a roadblock for the pet crematory to continue their application.
“Our intent is not to leave the applicant in limbo, but we want to make sure we’re not creating any future problems for the township,” Smith replied.
Although he said it is a “relatively niche operation,” Smith said he would feel comfortable approving a pet crematory under the existing code, while they review the amendment.
Resident Barry Adler disagreed and said he felt pet funeral services need to be added as a permitted use in order to approved the applicant.
“Pet crematories are not regulated by the same state regulations as other funeral services,” he said.
Despite this, Smith said the Township Zoning Resolution already regulates “noxious uses” to limit concerns like odors, vibrations and noise. Additionally, he said tasking township employees with regulating a pet funeral service would put them in a position they were not trained or qualified for.
Township Trustees Rhodes and C.J. Lovejoy agreed, and requested the applicant move forward with the zoning process while the proposed definition is tabled.
The amendment will be considered again at the Nov. 19 trustees meeting at 7 p.m.
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