MARSHALL - A request to build a crematorium at a local cemetery got a better reception from the Marshall City Council on Tuesday night than it did a month ago. The difference, council members said, was that this time a compromise had been worked out with the proposed crematorium's neighbors.
The council held a public hearing on a conditional use permit request for a crematorium on land owned by Calvary Cemetery. The proposed site of the facility would be toward the eastern end of the cemetery property, near where the land borders Independence Park. Calvary Cemetery would own the crematorium building, while cremation providers would rent it.
Marshall building official Ilya Gutman said the CUP request had been changed, to move the proposed crematorium site back farther from neighboring residential properties. Gutman said Quinn Horvath of Almlie-Horvath Funeral and Cremation Services had met with neighboring homeowners to try and address their concerns about the facility.
Marshall residents Roger and Shirley Przybys, whose home was closest to the proposed site, said moving the building farther east was a compromise.
"I don't think anybody got exactly what they wanted," Roger Przybys said. "I want to thank Quinn for hearing our side of things."
Council members voted 5-0, with Larry Doom abstaining, to approve the CUP for the crematorium. Conditions on the permit included stipulations that the applicants obey city ordinances and not cause negative impacts on adjacent properties, and that the city has the right to revoke the permit if any of the conditions were breached.
There was a spot of concern related to the CUP request, however. In his council member's report later in the meeting, Glenn Bayerkohler said members of the Marshall Planning Commission were concerned that the council called for a public hearing on the crematorium request, after the Planning Commission had already held one. The request was originally recommended to the city council on June 24 as a result of the Planning Commission's hearing.
Marshall residents' concerns about traffic safety on Minnesota Highway 23 were once again the subject of discussion at Tuesday's council meeting. Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig and Mayor Bob Byrnes said they were trying to request a MnDOT speed study on the Highway 23 corridor in Marshall. In recent months, there have continued to be traffic accidents along the highway, and city officials have gotten public feedback calling for lower speed limits where it passes through Marshall.
Byrnes said he sent a letter to MnDOT on July 9, requesting a speed study within the Marshall city limits. The reply from the district traffic engineer recommended the council pass a resolution formally requesting a study.
Council member Mike Boedigheimer said he was unhappy with how the request was handled, without full council participation.
"We could've at least discussed it," before Byrnes sent his letter, Boedigheimer said.
Council members voted 5-1 to pass the resolution calling for a speed study. Boedigheimer cast the dissenting vote.