Crown Castle is constructing a tower at Gateway Pet Memorial, a pet cemetery, in Kent. KING-TV reported that one pet owner, Julie Seitz, whose pets were cremated and buried at the site, plans to fight the project, citing “unethical” construction on a “sacred burial ground.”
Gateway plots are the final resting place for many pets and at least 20 people, according to a Seattle Times report. Crown Castle says the project is moving forward as planned since it was legally permitted, and no graves were desecrated in the process.
However, Jim Chan, director of permitting for King County, said the office was not initially aware of the apparent presence of human remains on the site, reported KING-TV. “This was news to us as well,” he said.
An investigation by the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review found that people buried on the site were cremated. Chan said this factor does not reclassify the site as a human cemetery, which would have “more stringent requirements.” Chan added that if non-cremated remains were to be discovered, that could change the situation. There is no evidence of wrongdoing in the permit application by Crown Castle, Chan said.
Seitz has obtained letters from King County that the site qualifies for county landmark status. The State Department of Archeology & Historic Preservation indicates the location could be eligible for the Washington Heritage Register, and potentially the National Register of Historic Places. The letters suggest that “notable” animals are buried at Gateway.
“My hope and goal, and I’ll work until it’s done, is that this cell phone tower is stopped, and the cell phone tower completely removed, and the damage and disrespect remedied if it even can be,” she said.