TONAWANDA (WKBW) It was a crowded town board meeting in the Town of Tonawanda, all over the Amigone Funeral Home location on Sheridan Drive and Parker Boulevard.
Residents in the surrounding neighborhood have been fighting against the crematory located there, saying smell and even soot from the facility is affecting their quality of life. Those residents gained a political ally Monday night, backing from the top Town of Tonawanda elected officials.
With a simple vote, the Town of Tonawanda town board adopted a resolution, opposing the reopening of the Amigone crematory
"It is not a legally binding document. It is simply that, a statement of support for the residents," Councilman Joseph Emminger said.
Residents who have been fighting against the crematory for years, many complaining of odor, smell, and noise. They petitioned signatures, getting Amigone to temporarily shut down that part of its business for the last six months, and are now pushing for permanent closure.
"We are never going to give up. These people, a lot of them retired, want to spend the rest of their life with some form of quality of living in the neighborhood," nearby resident Elisabeth Ellis said.
Amigone officials were not present at the meeting, but in a statement said "the operation of our crematory meets all New York State Department of Environment Conservation regulations and is in full compliance."
What is next for the Sheridan Drive location still remains to be seen.
"Really at this point, the ball is in Amigone's court. Whether or not they back the residents, they support the community that they are a part of, or if they decide to go against the community's wishes and reopen," Rebecca Newberry of the Clean Air Coalition of WNY said.
According to their statement, Amigone says they are continuing to look at their options moving forward, while neighbors say they will continue to fight if necessary.
"The battle isn't over until that crematory is gone out of that building," resident Willing Pilkington.
Monday night's resolution passed four to one, with the one vote against coming from Councilman John Bargnesi. He said after the meeting since the town has no legal say in this process, he did not think passing a resolution simply to make a statement was appropriate.