EUGENE, Ore. — Plans to build a cemetery on a Eugene church property have some neighbors concerned.
This week neighbors near St. George Greek Orthodox Church found out about the church’s plans to build a cemetery on their property.
Church members walked around and told them and they also got notices in the mail of the plans.
While the church looks at it as a way to honor deceased members, neighbors had a number of concerns.
A two-lane road separates some homes from the St. George Orthodox Church and the proposed area for a cemetery.
Neighbors say their biggest concern about the proposal isn’t that they’ll be looking at a cemetery, but that building one could affect their water supply.
“I’m concerned because most of the houses on this block are on a well and I’m on a well, and a bunch of dead bodies in the ground in the same water is not going to be fun for me,” said Eugene resident Robert Taylor.
But for the Greek Orthodox religion, having a cemetery on site isn’t unusual, it’s actually tradition.
“It is ideal to bury church members on the church property just so that funeral and memorial services can be done according to our customs and traditions,” said Father Jerry Markopoulos, St. George Greek Orthodox.
For Kelly Dunn, her home overlooks the proposed area for the cemetery
“It doesn’t make any sense. I mean, how would you feel if someone was going to put a graveyard in your front yard?” Dunn said.
But the church isn’t planning on building a large cemetery.
“We don’t want to be in the cemetery business. This will not be a commercial cemetery, won’t be selling plots. We don’t anticipate there being more than one burial a year,” Father Markopoulos said.
Neighbors started a petition against building the cemetery. But the church says if anyone has problems or questions on the proposal, Father Markopoulos has an open door policy.
Once again, this is just a proposal. The City of Eugene is asking for written comments about this land use application by the end of the month.