Connecticut High Court Says Yes to Controversial Crematorium in Bethel
After eight years of legal battles, Bethel resident B. Shawn McLoughlin can now claim victory in his fight to build a crematorium in Clarke Business Park, thanks to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
In May 2015, I wrote an article about Mitch Gross and his desire to open an antique car showroom at the Francis J. Clarke Business Park in Bethel. Mitch was not aware that his neighbor, Shawn McLoughlin, had applied to the Town of Bethel to have a crematorium built in the same area. Naturally, Mitch was not happy to hear that news.
McLoughlin's permit to build his crematorium was turned down. Just to be clear, a crematorium is where you take human remains to be incinerated. Therein lies the problem for many Bethel residents; most of them don't want to think about a business in their town that burns human remains.
In October 2017, Bethel residents began circulating a petition on change.org claiming that a crematorium poses numerous health hazards. Their slogan read, "Don't Let The Dead Kill The Living."
Fast forward to April 2022 as CT Post has reported that the state Supreme Court has overturned the lower court's decision. As a result, Bethel must grant McLoughlin a special permit to build his crematorium in Clarke Industrial Park. The court's ruling stated:
Generalized, speculative concerns voiced by people who just don’t like crematories because of the stigma that some people attach to them (is) not a valid basis for denying a special permit. The record, therefore, does not reveal substantial evidence on which the commission based its decision.
I'm just curious, how would feel about a crematorium within a half-mile of where you live?