GRANGEVILLE – In a four-to-two vote, the Grangeville City Council approved for a crematory to be installed at Blackmer Funeral Home. The decision was made at the Sept. 8 council meeting, based on a planning and zoning commission recommendation to approve the conditional use application for the funeral services business located on North Mill Street.

As per information presented June 23, one of two P&Z public hearings held on the application, Justin DeFord, Blackmer Funeral Services, said adding a crematory “is about taking care of families and providing comfort to local families that they actually received their family member back.”

The propane-fueled unit is planned to be installed in the home’s existing garage, burns at about 1,800 degrees and has no smoke or smells, according to DeFord. He said on average they have 120 cases per year with 70 percent of those for cremation, which they currently transport to Lewiston for the service. Installation is hoped to be completed by the end of the year.

In public comment, supporters noted it would be a good local service. Those in opposition were concerned with emissions and the impact on adjacent property values. As per P&Z request to research the issue further, the public hearing was continued on Aug. 25, at which more comment was taken, and the commission approved a motion to recommend the council approve the conditional use.

In a short discussion at the Sept. 8 meeting, councilors Beryl Grant and Scott Winkler complimented P&Z on their work reviewing the issue and the substantial findings presented.

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