Crematorium fight enters next phase

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners is set to enter the fray over a proposed crematorium in Bremerton’s Navy Yard City neighborhood. It is expected to hear the latest appeal on Feb. 28.

On Dec. 28, 2004, Kitsap County Deputy Hearing Examiner Terrence McCarthy ruled against the city, school district and neighbors stating that their appeal of the decision to allow Kass Funeral Home to operate a crematory was too late.

McCarthy also stated in his ruling that the neighbors and school district reasons for appeal “can be classified as a general discontent or the lack of popularity of the facility in mind.”

He also agreed with then-interim director of the Kitsap County Department of Community Development Cindy Baker’s determination that a crematorium is similar to a mortuary, which is a listed use in the county’s highway tourist commercial zoning designation.

However, in its appeal the city argues that “crematoriums were intentionally omitted from Highway/Tourist Commercial designation” and that “allowing the director to modify the code in this way is an unlawful, unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority.”

In its appeal of the decision, the neighborhood association represented by attorney Ronald Templeton argued that “the review process is so inherently procedurally flawed, the hearing examiner’s decision must be overturned on procedural grounds.”

Both appeals point to numerous errors in the entire review process and agree that a crematorium does not fit in its proposed location, which is a residential neighborhood with an elementary school in close proximity to the proposed crematorium.

In other issues related to the proposed crematorium, Kent Kass filed a claim for damages of more than $460,000 against the county on Dec. 2, 2004. It claimed he would not have purchased the property at Charlotte and G Streets if he had known about the site plan review. Kitsap County dismissed the claim.

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