Hawley hearing Monday on new cemetery rules

Recorder Staff
Friday, November 24, 2017

HAWLEY — The Historical Commission will hold a public hearing Monday, Nov. 27, regarding newly drafted Hawley Cemetery Rules and Regulations for town-owned cemeteries. The hearing is at 7 p.m. in the Town Office.

Among the topics addressed by the proposal is: who can purchase plots, limits of cemetery use, number of caskets and cremated remains per lot, green burial rules, headstones and monuments and decoration of gravesites, including plantings and enclosures.

Some of the town cemeteries go back to the late 1700s, and the purpose of new regulations is to protect the interests of lot owners and preserve the beauty of the grounds.

The town’s Historical Commission supervises the four town-owned cemeteries — Doane on Forget Road; East Hawley; Bozrah, and South Hawley on Hallockville Road. The two cemeteries operated by private cemetery associations — Pudding Hollow and West Hill cemeteries — are not subject to these rules and regulations.

The proposed rules, which are supported by the Selectboard, include the following: No more than one casket per individual lot, and no more than two sealed containers of cremated remains in one individual lot. Ashes may not be scattered within the cemeteries. One casket and one container of cremated remains may be placed in one individual lot, with the cremated remains placed at the head of the lot.

Sale of all lots will be restricted to residents or former town residents or those with strong family or geographical ties to Hawley.

Green burial, without embalming and burial without a vault will be allowed in town cemeteries, a biodegradable shroud or casket that will collapse when the grade is filled will be required to maintain a level soil surface and prevent accidental punctures of graves. The Historical Commission or town administrative assistant must be informed of green burial plans. The depth of the grave should be at least 5 feet deep.

Cemetery lots cannot be used for any other purpose than as a place of burial for human remains and for the erection of monuments and markers. No more than one headstone or monument will be allowed on any individual lot and their design must be approved by the Historical Commission.

The general care of the cemeteries is the town’s responsibility and a perpetual care fee, included in the purchase price, will address ongoing cemetery maintenance.