There’s just something wrong about cremating human bodies in Chamblee, some city residents say.

“I don’t think in beautiful Chamblee we want to go in this direction,” Donna McDonald said last week at a work session of the Chamblee City Council.

The Shugart family doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

Since 1986, the family has overseen animal cremations at Deceased Pet Care, located at 4991 Peachtree Road. They simply intend to cremate human remains in the new facility they had built on the site of their old building, which was demolished.

The Shugarts say that all they want to do is expand their cremation business. They intend to cremate human remains in a new building that they said has its city-issued certificate of occupancy. Eric Shugart, who helps run the business his father started in 1972, said the city knew of the plans to expand into the business of human remains. “I don’t see what the problem is,” Shugart said.

The problem is that crematories are not allowed in Chamblee, according to Mayor Eric Clarkson. The city’s zoning and land use provisions simply do not provide for crematories of any type to operate in the city, Clarkson said.

“The council has to decide if it’s going to be an allowable use,” Clarkson said.

The Shugarts’ lawyer, Louis Beltrami, said the city’s zoning code doesn’t apply to the crematory because it was operating before the zoning regulation was enacted.

Clarkson said the city has no next step to take unless Shugart submits a rezoning application. Such a rezoning proposal would follow the normal course through public hearings to council consideration and action.

Beltrami said the family is considering its next options.

Councilman Mark Wedge drew attention to the planned human crematory in the catchy first sentence of an email he sent out to alert residents of the facility: “How would you like to have a human crematorium less than a half a mile from your home?”

Wedge’s email helped attract a crowd of about 25 people to the council’s work session. About 10 of them spoke, most of them in opposition to the idea of cremating humans in Chamblee.

By David Pendered