DEEP RIVER, Conn. – What do residents do after their hoofed domestic animals pass away?
While many with a sentimental attachment to the animal may bury it, a proposed amendment change in this town could create another option.
Killingworth residents Phillip Stull and Jeffery Blaschke, of Connecticut Equine Cremation Services, Crossing the Bridge, LLC, have a solution: allow the creation of a livestock crematorium.
Livestock crematoriums are not allowed under current Planning and Zoning Regulations in Deep River but the two propose an amendment be made to allow such facilities.
While the two plan to create a horse crematorium in the Platwood Park industrial area, they have no objections to the commission creating an amendment to allow other hoofed-animal crematoriums.
The proposed amendment, written by the two, would require all those wanting to build such a facility to acquire a special permit from the commission which would prompt a public hearing.
Such livestock crematoriums would be limited to commercial industrial parks but could allow “hoofed domesticated animals” such as horses, cattle, ponies, goats, burros, donkeys, and llamas.
Provisions of the amendment would limit the storage of deceased animals to be no more than 48 hours and would prohibit live animals from the crematorium property and facility.
The amendment would create a provision that would prohibit storage or “holding” of deceased animals outside the facility and would limit cremations to appointment only.
Residents filled the Deep River Town Hall conference room on May 17 to express their comments and concerns with such an amendment.
Planning and Zoning Commission Vice Chair Nancy Fischbach suggested the amendment include smaller animals along with “road kill” animals such as ones picked up by the town’s Public Works Department.
Mike Spanner questioned whether such a facility could increase dioxins and mercury to the area producing potentially harmful emissions.
Spanner suggested the commission investigate how other communities have setup provisions regarding such facilities.
Specifically, Spanner suggested creating a 24-hour air quality monitoring system at the facility that could be available for residents to view on the Internet.
He additionally suggested the commission consider creating a provision for setbacks from residences and recreational areas.
Stull questioned whether it is necessary to have an air quality monitoring system be in constant operation when the facility will “probably not be used more than 20 times in one month.”
Burying hoofed domesticated animals is more of an environmental hazard, Stull said, since animal owners do not need to apply for a permit and are trusted to not bury the animal close to a water source.
However, Kathy Schultz was concerned that the facility, one of the first in Connecticut, could cause many horse owners to come to Deep River creating a significant increase in traffic.
Based on recommendations by the commission, Stull said he would look at standards put in place by neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and what similarities livestock crematoriums have with human crematoriums.
The public hearing on the proposed amendment will be continued on June 21 at 7 p.m. in Deep River Town Hall.
If the Planning and Zoning Commission approves the amendment, Stull and Blaschke would still need to apply for a special permit for their facility prompting another public hearing.