Crematory Public Nuisance is NOT Based on Opinion

Does a crematory which smokes, smells, and pollutes the air with toxins such as mercury and dioxins qualify as a nuisance? According to GA LAW and Lillburn Municipal Codes, it DOES!

Recently a Council Member suggested to me that the crematory at 5005 Lawrenceville Hwy doesn't qualify as a nuisance simply because I think it is one. 

You know what? He was right! It is not a nuisance because I think it is one. It is a nuisance because the law regarding nuisances, public or private, is very clear. A nuisance is defined by GA Law as:

Georgia State Law regarding nuisances defines a nuisance as:

  • O.C.G.A. § 41-1-1 … anything that causes hurt, inconvenience, or damage to another and the fact that the act done may otherwise be lawful shall not keep it from being a nuisance.

A public nuisance is:

  • § 41-1-2 …one which damages all persons who come within the sphere of its operation, though it may vary in its effects on individuals.

§ 41-2-1 …any nuisance which tends to the immediate annoyance of the public in general, is manifestly injurious to the public health or safety, ... 


Lilburn Municipal Code (click here) states that the following conditions (among others) may be declared nuisances:

  • The generation of smoke or fumes in sufficient amount to cause odor or annoyance to the inhabitants of the city;

(This crematory smokes, and smells. I have witnessed it.)

  • The pollution of public water;

(Mercury vapor when released in the atmosphere eventually pollutes water. 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury can poison the water in 20-acres of lake)

  • All walls, trees and buildings that may endanger persons or property;

(Overgrown trees next to building poses fire hazard)

  • Any other condition constituting a nuisance under state law.


I am still waiting for an official response from the council regarding the open letter I wrote last month, but based on my conversation with two of the council members after the meeting last Monday, it seems that the council thinks they can just ignore me an I will go away. WRONG. 

I will repeat here what I told one council member Monday night:

"What good is it for Lilburn to have a nice downtown district with mural art and a fancy new city hall when the city refuses to protect the children who attend Lilburn Middle School?"

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Thor Johnson December 14, 2012 at 04:30 PM
There are three reasons to pay attention to what this lady is saying: 1) it could be a very serious health issue 2) the Mayor and council are not addressing the issue and in fact not responding. And NO ONE has asked Mrs. Severino to offer an in depth presentation of the possible dangers of the existing crematory. I strongly suspect Mayor/council/city manager may be listening to “others” who may have vested interests. This unwillingness on the part of the Mayor and council and city manager is rather closed minded I would suggest. Particularly when the health of young school children at Lilburn Middle school and others could be at risk. 3) the Mayor and some council have spoken (off the record) to Mrs. Severino in far less than respectful ways instead of responsible concern. It is suggested that Mrs. Severino is presenting her concerns based on opinion and not fact. When, the fact is the Mayor and some council know virtually nothing of the facts in comparison to the two plus years of research Mrs. Severino has done. You can learn FACTS without political motivation at this link http://goo.gl/8cucf
John Henderson December 15, 2012 at 07:41 PM
No its not ..... its hogwash ! Since her latest Muslim boycott didnt take off she has set her sights on this issue. The health of young children are not effected by A.S.Turners operation in decatur which is 20 times larger neither is the Hospital 100 yards away. The community should be more concerned about the drug dealing going on in the Shell parking lot with young children first. The Community Awareness Group could fing better issues that would benefit the over all health of all Lilburn residents. And just a reminder the citizens voted the Mayor and City Council into office and with one of the lowest voting percentages in the state, Lilburn needs to be speaking at the polls.
John Henderson December 15, 2012 at 07:44 PM
And further more .... the picture used in this article is over 2 years old and WAS TAKEN THE SAME TIME TREES AND DEBRIS WERE BEING CLEARED AND BURNED NEARBY FOR THE NEW PARK. Could this be smoke from the debris burning ?
CommunityAwarenessNetwork December 16, 2012 at 08:10 AM
John Henderson, once again you are completely OFF BASE with your comment. First of all, I was never involved in protesting the mosque. Actually, I am in favor of and very supportive of the diverse cultural community we have in Gwinnett county. I have nothing but respect for other people's freedom of religion. I have been inside the Mandir on Rockbridge and I wouldn't be uncomfortable there or for that matter, in any temple, synagogue, church or mosque. They are all houses of worship and God is in them all - and everywhere. So you are absolutely incorrect in assuming I had any involvement in the issue. The ONLY thing I have objection to is Crematory operations near homes and schools. PERIOD. I object to crematories near homes and schools because there is science today that indicates there is toxins in the emissions. We know things today about toxins that we didn't know twenty years ago. We cannot wait for industry and political institutions to catch up with science! The time for action is NOW! The health of children is stake! Regarding the picture. I took it. At the time, they had not started clearing for the park yet. The smoke is DEFINITELY coming from the crematory. Don't question it, it is a certainty.
CommunityAwarenessNetwork December 16, 2012 at 08:15 AM
Another thing, the problem with this crematory is that it is OLD - 17 years It doesn't have adequate ventilation (per industry standards) It has a stack that has been cut short. This makes the fallout zone for toxins smaller - putting the school right in that area where the toxins will settle. And again, it has been HIDDEN from the community the entire time its been there. Why is that??
CommunityAwarenessNetwork December 16, 2012 at 09:01 AM
Also, the crematory protest began in August of 2010. BEFORE the mosque controversy. Our protest was in active swing when the mosque came on the radar - I was busy with Gwinnett county board of commissioners and stopping a crematory from coming into my Tucker neighborhood. While I did notice the uproar that was going on, I had NO involvement on either side of the fight. Tell me, why do you insist on trying to paint me as a racist and attach me to issues I have Nothing to do with? You need to do a little research and find out who I am. I have been extremely active at the national, state and local levels regarding THIS issue. I know what I am talking about.
Thor Johnson December 16, 2012 at 01:08 PM
THEY ARE BULLIES! John I’m urging you not to fall into the trap of being dismissive and vilifying Mrs. Severino. The mayor, councilman Dunn and Batterton are doing a robust job of that. Mrs. Severino has more knowledge of this issue by light years than the entire mayor, council and lets not forget the city manager DO collectively. The mayor, councilman Dunn and Batterton all are practicing what they love to do most, DISMISS, MINALMISE AND VILIFY anyone who does not “FIT” into their regime. They have become the absolute worst offenders of IN BLOCKING open and helpful citizen contribution… AKA FREE SPEECH. Without argument they are BULLIES, very much like many national politicians. All of us need to be aware this regime of mayor, council and city manager will aggressively shut up ANY and ALL who they deem as “bad guys”.
John Henderson December 16, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I agree and but I i am confused? She lives in Tucker are there no injustices in Tucker for her to champion. Lilburn has bigger issues then this. Alot Bigger!!!
CommunityAwarenessNetwork December 16, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Yes, John, it is true that there are other issues that are important in Tucker AND Lilburn. However, I cannot - and will NOT - take on every concern there is. I wouldn't be effective at ANY of them if I were to take on every injustice or environmental problem out there. Instead, I have chosen to focus my energy on matters about which I have KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING. I live in the part of Tucker that is less than 1/2 mile from Lilburn city limits. The owner of the crematory in Lilburn also owns a funeral home in MY neighborhood. In fact, that's how I happen to know about the Lilburn crematory, because he wanted to move THAT crematory to MY neighborhood. I have spent over two years of research on the crematory issue. Not just in Tucker, Lilburn, and Georgia - but at the national level, helping other communities with data and strategy that has been helpful to many who are involved in this kind of protest. So, I am ONLY going to apply my energy and efforts on this ONE issue. If you find an issue YOU think needs to be addressed, I challenge you to take it on! Do something productive instead of blowing hot steam through internet forums. Because all you're doing by attacking me and my efforts is making yourself look stupid. Can't YOU find something better to do with your time?
Thor Johnson December 16, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Elitist Autocrats John Lilburn does have problems. What Mrs. Severino is trying to do is inform us of a potential problem. As she points out, a great deal of information is available that may not have been in years past. Mrs. Saverino has spent two plus years researching the topic of how crematories could impact communities. She and others successfully defeated attempts to have one built in her Tucker neighborhood. She has no attachment to a political or money agenda. She is simply trying to inform. To that issue I will point to what I believe is currently Lilburn’s BIGGEST problem… Mayor Johnny Crist and most of the city council are clearly trying to censor citizen input. Mrs. Severino came to a city council meeting in October. She was told she could not speak and was threatened by mayor Johnny Crist with forcible removal if she tried to speak. It seems that mayor Crist and city council have decided Citizen Input should be limited. Not unlike little boys in a schoolyard game they have decided to make up their own rules. They now “require” a person wishing to speak to FIRST contact a city STAFF person to, I guess TO GET permission to speak to this omnipotent body of mayor, council and city manager. ***continued
Thor Johnson December 16, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Reasons why? THIS IS FROM THEIR OWN WORDS... “we don’t want to be blindsided” …”we want citizens to be accountable". Folks, please tell me what civics class did these Elitist Autocrats learn this nonsense from. Next they will be offering CAKE FOR US TO EAT. Any ONE of them that have agreed to this style of CENSORSHIP should be embarrassed! I truly suggest you counsel your children and grandchildren to learn a lesson from this sort of Power Grabbing Greed! They emulating what takes place ongoing in Washington D.C.


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