"Green Cemetery" Still Has Some Residents Concerned

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It might be as organic as it gets, and one funeral home in Rockingham County has the OK to do it.

On Wednesday night, the county board of supervisors approved Kyger Funeral Home's request to create a green cemetery.

The board voted three-to-two to approve the request, but concerned residents say the slight margin only adds to their hesitation.

A green burial is one that uses green embalming fluids and a biodegradable casket or no casket at all.

Kyger Funeral Home's green cemetery is to be built right next to Charles Brubaker's business that includes turkey houses he's had for 12 years.

"It's been a good investment for me and it's one of my main sources of income. And we feel like what has happened is will possibly put our livelihood in jeopardy," says Brubaker.

With a more unusual concept, Brubaker says he still has some concerns.

"I cannot bury my dead turkeys on my property, but somehow, my next door neighbor, he can bury 900 bodies per acre and we felt like that that was not consistent," says Brubaker.

While it is a new and growing trend, Kyger Funeral Home Director Kenneth Kyger says it really is a green cemetery.

"It's as true a organic as it gets. It's truly earth to earth and dust to dust," says Kyger.

Brubaker is also worried about water contamination, but Kyger says they've done their research.

"That it's good for the environment, because of nature, it's basically the recycling of nutrients, which helps the plants. And the better the plants, the better the water table," says Kyger.

Brubaker says it's not the concept to which he's opposed. He's concerned about the amount of traffic, because the area is agriculturally-zoned.

"I think it should be in a more remote area. I think there are other places a lot more suitable," says Brubaker.

As far as the appearance of the green cemetery, Kyger says it'll look more like a park with indigenous plants and walking trails.

Kyger hopes to have the green cemetery running some time this summer.