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Jefferson Co. creates rules to ease neighbors' body farm concerns

11:33 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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Starting this fall, there will be a new body farm in East Tennessee and it's not on UT's campus.

Monday night, the Jefferson County Commission put the final seal of approval on cadaver research facilities in their county.

After months of complaints from neighbors about the possibility of a body farm for Carson Newman University, there was no hesitation from county commissioners at their regular meeting.

They voted unanimously to approve rules and regulations for body farms.

Carson Newman's facility will start research at a private New Market farm this fall. Monday's vote did not affect them opening the farm. They were approved by the Jefferson County Planning Commission in March.

The owner of the farm, Arthur Bohanan, worked with the planning commission to create rules to ease some of his neighbors' concerns.

They include having three layers of fencing, only one body every 2,000 feet, and placing warning signs. They will also be required to conduct studies of the water quality.

Bohonnan has worked for 50 years in forensics and says there's no data right now on the effects bodies from natural disasters have on the environment. He said he's happy they are moving forward.

"The support across the county, across the state, and the nation has been tremendous because the need is there. I'm sorry a few of my neighbors are upset but we have to look at the environment and what's coming down the road and how we protect first and second responders," Bohanan said.

There was no argument from neighbors at the meeting.

However, Doris Login of New Market, is suing Jefferson County.

She claims the board of zoning appeal decision in December broke the law because the group failed to follow its own zoning resolutions when it approved the plan. That case hasn't been heard.

Bohanan says starting this fall, classes will begin their research on the farm, but the cadavers won't be there until the spring.

It's all part of Carson Newman's new forensics masters program.

The facility will be one of only five in the country including one on UT's campus.

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