Tyrone Township officials are asking for more information on the effects a green cemetery might have on their ecosystem before making the decision on allowing one.

At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Tyrone Township Board of Trustees, several residents spoke their concerns about potential dangers to their water system should a new cemetery on Germany Road near Denton Hill be allowed. Hasan Siddiqui is a cemetery director hoping to use approximately 1.3 acres of his 10-acre property for a site performing “green burials.”

Green burials are used traditionally in the Muslim community. For one, the deceased is wrapped in a shroud and buried directly in the ground, with no coffin or embalming fluid. Siddiqui’s request for site plan and special use permit approval were before the Board with a recommendation for approval from the Planning Commission. In a letter to the Board from Planning Commission Chairman Mark Meisel, Meisel wrote that the Livingston County Health Department determined that the site has adequate soil conditions to protect the water. They also recommended annual site monitoring for surface and ground water contamination. Tyrone Township Supervisor Mike Cunningham said he believes the Commission did their due diligence, but the Township Board is just looking to make sure. He said this is new territory for them and that they want to know all the facts they can to help make sure they can make the right decision.

Trustee David Walker made the motion to postpone approval until the impact study was completed to see what effects the cemetery might have on soil and water conditions. Trustee Charles Shultz questioned if they should be asking the applicant to do this if all the advice they’ve been given to this point by authorities has been that the cemetery would be safe. The township’s lawyer advised the board that if they feel alright with what they know, they could approve it, but if they feel they need more information, it’s in their right to ask for the study. The board approved the motion asking for an environmental impact study 5-2. Shultz and Trustee Al Pool dissented. (MK)