Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 9, 2014

DECISION: Appellate court upholds crematory ruling.

Niagara Gazette — TOWN OF TONAWANDA - An appellate division of the state Supreme Court upheld a ruling on Friday that prevented Amigone Funeral Home from moving its controversial crematory on Sheridan Drive. 

Those who live near Amigone, located at 2600 Sheridan Drive, have complained about acrid smells and smoke coming from the facility for 20 years. The funeral home company first looked into moving the operation in 2012, after signing an agreement with the attorney general’s office to halt operations for six months. 

When the contract was signed, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said he reserved the right to file charges against Amigone if the company began using the crematory without moving it or installing additional environmental controls. 

Amigone then tried to move the crematory, but the state Cemetery Board rejected the company's request. 

In its decision, the board said that combined funeral entities and crematories were prohibited in 1998, but that through a grandfathering exception, Amigone was allowed to continue operating its combined facility on Sheridan Drive.

“This provision only permits the funeral entity to continue to operate the same crematory it was operating before that date,” the document reads. 

As a result, the board said that there was “no authority for moving a crematory operation to a new location.”

Amigone then challenged the board's decision, and in March 2013, Erie County Supreme Court Justice John Michalek announced that he would side with the state cemetery board’s ruling. In another attempt to move, Amigone appealed again, taking the matter to the fourth appellate division in Rochester. 

After hearing the case earlier this year, the appellate judges filed their decision on Friday, rejecting Amigone's appeal.

"We conclude that the Cemetery Board’s interpretation of the statute, which comports with the statute’s plain language, purpose and legislative history, and gives meaning to every phrase, is sound," the decision states. 

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