Appomattox Co. Planning Commission hears community concerns for proposed cemetery

Citizens voiced their concerns over a proposed cemetery in Appomatox County (WSET)

APPOMATTOX Co, Va. (WSET) -- The Greater Lynchburg Islamic Association would like to establish a cemetery in Appomattox County.

But for some it's a bad idea on many fronts, and they took their worries to the Planning Commission.

The rezoning of a cemetery was tabled during Wednesday's planning commission meeting after several residents voiced displeasure.

RELATED | Neighbors concerned about proposed cemetery infecting well water

Citizens packed into the planning commission meeting to show their opposition for a proposed cemetery.

The Greater Lynchburg Islamic Association wants to put it near the corner of Double Bridges Road and Hundley Springs Road.

Some residents are concerned their home values will drop.

"We have looked into it," Kelly Tolbert, who lives near the proposed area, said. "It's about 12 percent. When you have built your house with your own hands, that hurts."

Others are worried about their well water getting contaminated, because of the way Muslims are buried.

"The bodies are not put into a casket or a vault," Tolbert said. "They're not embalmed. And that goes into our water."

"We have four young children and if anything were to happen, it would affect them first," Tiffany Campbell, who lives near the proposed sight, said. "So if there was any contamination into the water, they would be the first to get sick."

The Association president said Muslim burials require the body to be attached to the ground, though laws vary in different areas.

"County to county," Association President Maqsud Ahmad said. "State to state it differs and we will oblige by the Appomattox County laws."

Ahmad said there's no research to show that a cemetery would effect wells.

However, he's open to finding solutions.

"We can come up with a plastic upside down or a concrete upside down, which is what they do in Charlottesville also," Ahmad said.

But one supporter of the cemetery believes religion is a factor.

Even with all the opposition, Ahmad is not ready to give up just yet.

"We will work with the environmental person to see what we come up with," he said.

The cemetery rezoning will again be discussed at the next planning commission meeting on July 11.

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