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Proposed bill would allow Amigone Funeral Home to move from Tonawanda location

Neighbors want a permanent solution, which State Senator Sean Ryan and Assemblyman Bill Conrad say they have.

TONAWANDA, N.Y. — History seems to be repeating itself at the Amigone Funeral Home in Tonawanda.

"The residents of the Town of Tonawanda have complained for years about odor in the air, soot in their yards, soot on their cars," State Senator Sean Ryan said Friday.

Take Ron Labuda's experience within the last two weeks, for example.

"Some neighbor who just moved in came up to me, and she came up to me and asked me, 'Do you know yesterday it smelled like something was burning in an oven?' And I had to laugh and say, 'Yeah, something was burning in an oven right there,' " Labuda said.

"They must have had it on high power, and the odors were infiltrating through the whole neighborhood."

Senator Ryan says the funeral home's Sheridan Park Crematory has been shut down multiple times for that reason.

The most recent closure was last September, then it reopened in January, after paying a fine to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

"Now residents in the Town of Tonawanda are bracing themselves for the next incident. We know it's going to happen, because it's happened over and over again in the past," Ryan said.

Neighbors want a permanent solution, which Senator Ryan and Assemblyman Bill Conrad say they have.

Under New York State law, owners of crematoriums with a funeral home can't relocate without losing the ability to run their dual purpose facilities.

However, the state no longer allows dual purpose facilities; they instead have to be grandfathered in.

"So that's why Assemblyman Conrad and I introduced a bill that would essentially exempt Amigone from the grandfathering, allow them to move their crematorium, and it would be the best solution," Ryan said. 

Amigone did not respond to a request for comment. 

Assemblyman Conrad says there's some good news though.

"Yes, they are on board," he said.

If it passes this session and gets approved, then Amigone can move.  Until that happens, neighbors want the crematorium closed.

"We have a right to use our yards. Nice weather starts soon, and we don't want to smell something burning in an oven," Labuda said.