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Suburban Residents Speak Out Against Proposed V.A. Cemetery

A controversy is brewing in the suburbs, as neighbors are upset over a Department of Veterans Affairs plan to put a cemetery on vacant land.

Residents in South Barrington and Hoffman Estates are worried about increased traffic caused by the cemetery, and say that plans for honor guards to shoot rifles several times a day could cause problems as well.

“This is not the appropriate place for veterans to lay in peace,” South Barrington resident Raaz Basati said.

The proposal, put forth by the VA, would build a veterans’ cemetery on a 15-acre plot of land that is up against several residential areas near the intersection of Freeman and Mundhank Roads in South Barrington.

The VA says that it will honor deceased veterans with rifle salutes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, but that plan is drawing ire from residents.

“How can you say that you will have gunshot salutes going on three to five times a day, and yet there would be no implication on our children?” Basati said.

Village President Paula McCombie says her office first found out about the cemetery proposal back in June, but told the VA that the village zoning laws would not permit a cemetery to be built on the land, because it is too small and too close to residential areas.

In a statement, the VA said:

“This site in South Barrington meets our initial criteria, with the property immediately adjacent to the Cook County Forest Preserve, in close proximity to commercial areas, and mostly separated from residential development.”

The VA will host a community meeting on Thursday for residents to voice their concerns, but most don’t feel that they can be convinced to give the thumbs-up for the cemetery to be built.

“How is this a peaceful location for the veterans and their families? I just don’t understand,” Basati said.

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