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Crematorium could come to Oak Harbor

Oak Harbor’s Maple Leaf Cemetery could get a new neighbor someday.

Wednesday, the Oak Harbor City Council approved a zoning text amendment that may clear the way for a crematorium and mortuary that an applicant has expressed interest in building on the south side of NE 16th Avenue, adjacent to the cemetery.

The amendment allows crematories and mortuaries in the C-4 “highway service commercial district” as a conditional use, but only with the condition that such uses are adjacent or across the street from an existing cemetery.

City staff and council members were dead serious in discussing the issues, including the need for a noise attenuation measure to protect those inside the crematorium from the noise of Navy jets.

Councilman Paul Brewer was the only one to vote against the amendment. He was concerned that the city hadn’t personally notified residents — presumably the living ones — in the cemetery neighborhood.

City staff pointed out that such notification isn’t necessary because the action is a non-project, legislative measure. The city hasn’t received an actual application for the project yet. If it does, the hearings examiner would consider the granting of a conditional use permit.

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