Neal Augenstein, wtop.com
LEESBURG, Va. - Death is a foregone conclusion, unlike the recent decision to construct Loudoun County's first crematorium, which has raised a few eyebrows.
The Leesburg Town Council voted this week to support a special exception application to allow Loudoun Funeral Chapel to add cremation equipment to its business.
Until now, if a family wanted to take part in a cremation service, funeral director Bill McDonough had to outsource it.
"Families would either have come with us to our subcontractor in Alexandria, or they were left to choose another funeral home outside the county in order to provide the cremation," McDonough says.
The modern computer-operated cremation equipment will be added to the back of the current funeral home, he says, and consists of heavy steel and heat-resistant refractory bricks.
"As people drive by they will not notice anything happening," McDonough says of the cremation process.
Town planners said the application conformed to environmental and safety regulations, Leesburg Today reports.
Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd cast the one "no" vote over her concerns of the emissions from cremation, which others say is a non-issue.
"There are some emissions of mercury, but they're so low even Virginia Environmental Air Quality has not required any regulation of it on crematories," McDonough said.
He hopes to be offering cremation services by autumn.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)