Manalapan neighbors fight proposed crematorium at Old Tennent Cemetery

A cemetery that wants to build a crematorium that could perform hundreds of cremations per year is facing opposition from neighbors. (5/14/14)

MANALAPAN - A cemetery that wants to build a crematorium that could perform hundreds of cremations per year is facing opposition from neighbors.

Residents are upset about plans to convert an empty building on Old Tennent Cemetery property into a crematorium. 

Miguel Estrada says he's used to the gravestones behind his home, but worries that the burning of hundreds of corpses there each year could spew ash into the air. "Air quality, how is it going to affect me later on," he says.

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Neighbors have formed a group called "Stop The Crematorium." They're concerned that it could devalue their property, be an eye sore and have a foul odor.  

The Township has asked for an environmental impact study and cemetery trustee Bob McLean says they're working on it. "If I thought there was an environmental problem, I wouldn't even be involved with it," he says. 

Eda Cruz says the close proximity to the church where she teaches Sunday school and where scouts meet regularly is unacceptable. "There's ashes that go up," she says. "Depending on the type of casket, there's things that go into the air."

Cemetery trustees though say the demand for cremations as a cheaper alternative to burials are on the rise. They say maintaining the property is expensive and the cemetery only has enough land left to sell plots for the next 10 to 20 years.

McLean says the addition of a crematorium would help maintain the final resting place for thousands of people. 

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