A crematory that will abut school property came under scrutiny from the school board Thursday night as a resident and officials questioned potential hazards from mercury emissions.
But Jason Jardine said the crematory he is adding to Jardine Funeral Home is safe.
He also estimated it would be used fewer than 200 times a year -- and only for clients of Jardine's.
George Grozan, a Hunting Meadows resident and member of the School Facilities Task Force, questioned the safety of a crematory Jardine's plans to add to its Pearl Road business.
Grozan offered research that indicates emissions from heavy metals -- in particular, mercury from dental fillings -- can be hazardous.
He asked Jardine whether a third party had been brought in to evaluate the possible effects, and also whether he had looked into possible depreciation of surrounding properties.
Jardine said there was no need to bring in a third party, and that crematoriums do not affect surrounding property values.
"With the unknown, there is always room for concern," Jardine said.
But he said the new state-of-the-art equipment his business is buying does not pose a danger to the community.
The crematory was approved last week by the city's Planning Commission. City officials said they could find no documentation that crematories built in the last decade -- ones that use the most modern equipment -- pose a health hazard.
Board member Ruth Brickley asked why Jardine's was not planning to install a "scrubber" that would filter out mercury and other emissions.
Jardine said scrubbers are "not normal or standard in the U.S.," only overseas.
The city Planning Commission's approval cleared the way for construction of the crematory. Neither the school board nor City Council have a say in the issue.
Residents and school officials have questioned, though, whether a crematory belongs in the center of town, near residential neighborhoods and adjacent to Strongsville High School and a 17-acre school-owned parcel that is the potential site of a proposed new middle school.
Ward 4 Councilman Scott Maloney, who serves on the Planning Commission, voted against the crematory.
Maloney said he is convinced the crematory is safe, but said a number of residents have told him they don't believe it belongs in the middle of town and should instead be in the industrial park.