Pembroke Pines residents concerned about effects from planned crematory at local funeral home

(WSVN) - It’s not a fight to the death, but a fight over death in one Pembroke Pines neighborhood. 7 Investigates the battle over a planned new service at a local funeral home. Here’s Kevin Ozebek.

There’s nothing like a backyard pool, but these days, Tara Marin is worried her days in the sun could soon be over.

Tara Marin, resident: “Me and my mother, we’re asthmatic, so it makes it difficult to go outside. We don’t know what we’re going to be inhaling now.”

Tara lives in the Pines Village neighborhood of Pembroke Pines.

She and other residents are upset about a proposed zoning change that would allow a crematory to be built inside nearby Boyd-Panciera Funeral Home.

Tara Marin: “It’s literally in my backyard, right? A fence between us and that’s it.”

According to a report commissioned by the funeral home, the proposed crematory would be installed in what is now the garage — just 77 feet from the edge of their property line — and close to several backyards.

Joe Carvalho, against crematory: “I’ve not had one person give me one actual reason other than the benefit to the business owner why this community would benefit from having this built there.”

Upset residents say the crematory could perform up to 500 cremations a year, and they’re afraid mercury and other toxins could be emitted into the air.

Randall Migdalski, Pines Village Group: “Any time they do a burn, then all those emissions will come out. They’re just concerned about what’s emitted out of the stack when a human body is burned.”

Mark Panciera, funeral home owner: “There will be no impact on them or the ecology of our community.”

Mark and Tiffany Panciera are two of the owners of the family-run funeral home. They say the high-tech crematory chamber is part of a $500 million building renovation. They insist it would not pose a threat to the neighborhood or surrounding schools.

Mark Panciera: “No one will even know that the crematory is in our building. There will be no sensory perception that it’s here. There’s no sight. You can’t see it, no sound. There’s no smell, and actually, the emissions from the crematory, they’re way below the standards by the Department of Environmental Protection.”

With requests for cremation on the rise, they say they want to be able to provide the service on site.

Mark Panciera: “We actually have invested in a biological engineer to do emission tests, and we’re going to supply that data to the city commission.”

They say they’re also willing to build a new wall to increase the separation between their property and nearby homes, but neighbors aren’t convinced.

Randy Migdalski: “I personally wouldn’t want to have a crematory in my backyard. I’m sure the mayor wouldn’t want it in his backyard nor any of the commissioners.”

Tara Marin: “I guess some of it is fear-based, but at the same time, you know, we don’t want something like that in our backyard. We just ultimately don’t.”

Residents say they’ve reached out to the mayor and city commissioners expressing their opposition to the zoning change and the proposed crematory. The topic is scheduled to come up on the city’s agenda soon.

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