Cherokee County has very vague laws regarding zoning of funeral homes and crematories. The zoning provides for funeral homes, mausoleums, cemeteries, and mortuary services. It contains NO mention of crematories. A funeral director in Woodstock is being given permission to construct a new funeral home and crematory. The residents who oppose this are being told that there is nothing that can be done to stop it because under their interpretation of the zoning, they believe it is an allowed use and does not require a special use permit. A crematory is an incinerator and should be consider industrial or light industrial. They are misinterpreting the law by assuming that a crematory is the same as a funeral home - it isn't! Can they allow a use that is not specified in the zoning? How to fight?
The way to fight this is group together and hire competent counsel to file objections to the proposed usage. You need to move quickly before this issue moves too far to stop.
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Generally speaking, zoning codes allow for decisions of the zoning administrator to be appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals (there are variations in procedure among jurisdictions and states). You and other residents need to retain an attorney with solid experience in zoning to represent your interests and help you file the necessary appeal (you've got 30 days to appeal once the zoning administrator has rendered an opinion). What I've written presumes that the county's zoning administrator has rendered a decision. If some other staff have rendered this decision, then presumably there is a path of appeal spelled out in the Cherokee County zoning code (or unified development ordinance). Here's the contact information for the county's zoning administrator: 678-493-6105, [email protected] The zoning ordinance is at: http://www.cherokeega.com/Planning-and-Land-Use/zoning-ordinance/
That's the usual way of doing things. But it appears that your zoning code requires you to appeal to the Board of Commissioners in this instance -- but check with a land-use (zoning) attorney to be sure. Here's what your zoning code says:
15.14. Powers and Duties
A. Appeals from Actions of the Zoning Administrator.
The [Zoning] Board [of Appeals] shall hear and decide upon appeals where it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by the Zoning Administrator in the enforcement of these regulations. Notwithstanding the foregoing powers, the Board shall not be entitled to review the interpretation by the Zoning Administrator of the provisions related to permissive uses within the zoning districts established by this Ordinance, which interpretations shall be appealed to the Board of Commissioners.
The information provided in the question posed is not complete enough to provide accurate legal advice. More details are needed to really guide the questioner. My response is not intended to be taken as legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
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