BRIGHTON — City Council will mull changes to rules and regulations governing Elmwood and Fairview cemeteries during the Feb. 6 meeting.
“These rules were really driven a lot by the number of cremations we’re starting to receive,” Parks and Recreation Director Gary Wardle said. “You will see we’re really trying to address some issues that are more around cremations than anything else.”
Wardle said there have been instances of people going to the cemetery on Saturdays and Sundays to spread ashes on existing graves, although it’s against state law. The proposed amendment would state that “cremains may not be scattered anywhere in the cemetery” and that they shall not be buried on an existing gravesite except with the proper documentation approved by the cemetery manager.
Another proposed change is that graves containing cremains will be allowed one upright monument and one flat marker. Wardle said the proposed change was driven by two sets of ashes being allowed on each gravesite. He said people want to recognize those who are being buried, but that having two upright markers makes it difficult for staff to mow around them.
Additionally, Wardle is proposing that attendance by the immediate family at the lowering of the casket be at the discretion of the cemetery manager.
“We’re very cautious of that because it’s a very emotional time for folks and we’ve had people throw themselves on the casket and a lot of things like that, so we have to be careful about how close we let people get to the lowering of the casket because they get very emotional,” he said.
A provision that would only allow licensed companies to place monuments in the cemetery is also included as a proposed change.
“We have a lot of people who like to go make their own concrete monuments, they just don’t last,” he said. “We get some coming in from Mexico, they’re made out of plaster or other materials that in four or five years, the weather has deteriorated them, so we really want to make sure a professional person, that’s local, who brings in a granite monument so they last.”
Other proposed changes include:
• The cemetery needs two full days notice for a funeral. The family will need to come to Elmwood Cemetery and complete the required paperwork and make payment.
• There are increased fees for services after 11 a.m., as well as slightly lower increases in the fee for services before 11 a.m. The last time for a service on Saturday is 2 p.m.
• Grass markers may have a hideaway vase in the granite, but not in the cement foundation.
• Grass markers may have decorations in a hideaway vase but may not have items sitting on top of the marker or the foundation.
• The gathering or removal of flowers by anyone other than the grave owners or cemetery staff is prohibited within the Brighton cemeteries.