Mount Holly neighbors fighting plans to turn church into funeral home and crematory

Amy Crocker bought the church in April and is now requesting to re-zone the property to conditional zoning.
Many of the neighbors who live around it-- fear this would decrease their property values.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 8:45 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A request to re-zone a church in Mount Holly to make it a funeral home and crematory have some neighbors up in arms.

Amy Crocker, a mortician, purchased Day Star Baptist Church on Smith Road from church members in April. Crocker says she grew up attending the church and her father helped build it.

The members approached me and said it was your dad’s wish to buy the church and turn it into a funeral home,” Crocker said. “The church members still meet here. I take care of all their financial responsibilities.”

Crocker initially requested commercial re-zoning, but after facing backlash from the community, she withdrew that request and submitted a request for conditional re-zoning instead.

Conditional re-zoning would indicate that the property can only be a funeral home even if she were to sell it in the future.

Many neighbors spoke out against the re-zoning plans at two public input sessions this week.

Jennie Legendy is part of a group of neighbors opposing it.

“It started as worrying about traffic and other commercial ventures,” Legendy said. “It morphed into more about the chemicals that would be released into the air. Even though she’s gonna have a holding tank, it could leak. We’re on a well system, all of us.”

Crocker says there will not be negative impacts on the environment.

“Working with state, local, county officials to make sure if embalming is done that the tank is professionally pumped and maintained,” she said. “It would not drain into the normal septic tank. It is something other funeral homes in the area use.”

She says she wants to work with the neighbors to find a compromise, but Legendy says that can’t happen with a crematory still on the table.

“It would be better suited for a downtown area,” Legendy said.

The re-zoning request will go back to the Gaston County Planning Board. The board will look at other existing crematories in residential areas of the county for reference in making their decision to approve or deny this.