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By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Emissions from a crematorium shut down in 2011 in unincorporated El Cajon for what a county inspector called “horrific” violations

March 2, 2017 (El Cajon) – On March 14 at 7 p.m., the El Cajon City Council will hear an appeal filed by Robert Zakar of East County Mortuary, whose proposed crematorium and funeral parlor at 1150-1168 North Marshall Street was rejected by the city’s planning commission. The hearing will be held in City Council Chambers at 200 Civic Center Way in El Cajon.

A crematorium in unincorporated El Cajon was shut down in 2011 after the county’s Air Pollution Control Board inspector described finding “smoke, sparks and horrific odors” emanating from the aging facility, as ECM reported:

While a modern and properly maintained crematorium should not produce harmful emissions, the issue for communities can arise as facilities age if owners do not properly maintain equipment.   In the case of the facility ultimately shut down, it took years of complaints by residents of human ashes falling on homes, yards, and even food on the patio of a fast food restaurant before action was taken.

The project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act. The public is invited to attend and participate in this public hearing. The agenda will be available 72 hours before the Council meeting at

Anyone who challenges the decision in court may be limited to raising only issues that you or someone else raises at public hearings or in written comments delivered to the Commission or Council at or before the hearing.

More information is available at  and

If you have questions, contact Lorena Cordova at 619-441-1539 or email and reference “East County Crematorium Appeal” in the subject line.