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Belen taxpayers could still lose on denied crematorium

Created: 01/28/2014 10:24 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The owner of a Belen mortuary plans to sue the city after city council disapproved of his plans to install a crematorium.

“To me, the city has still not proven to myself, beyond a reasonable doubt, that we can't have a crematory right here on our premises,” Robert Noblin of Noblin Funeral Services said.

Last week, city council members listened to a final discussion, which lasted roughly two hours, before denying Noblin’s request for a necessary zoning amendment.

“Every issue that's been brought to light, every concern, I think we've met with all the facts,” he said.

Noblin said the crematorium would not produce an odor or visible smoke, or noise that would exceed 60 decibels – the equivalent of a face-to-face conversation – indoors.

“The last thing we want to do is inconvenience our neighbors. We have good neighbors, we've had a good relationship the almost nine years that I've owned the funeral home,” he said.  “We just know with confidence that there's nothing that we're going to place here that's going to disrupt their lives.”

The City of Belen’s legal representatives said they would not comment on pending, or in this case potential, litigation.

Critics of the crematorium, including Gerald Smith who was playing catch in the park across the street, said it could hurt property values.

“It just doesn't quite go with the area,” he said.

Smith said the city ought to defend its decisions to deny the zoning amendment.

“I think that's actually good use of taxpayer money to defend,” he said.

Meanwhile, another woman who lives nearby said the proposal hasn’t fazed since the beginning.

“It wouldn't affect me at all.  Like, really, I wouldn't even notice it unless it was on the news,” Tabatha Ulibarri.


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