Town of Williamstown, MA
Berkshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Williamstown acting as Cemetery Commissioners, printed as last amended 3-23-1998. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 86-1 Definitions.

The term "lot" as referred to in these regulations shall be defined as either single or multiple grave sites, unless otherwise specified.

§ 86-2 Purchase of cemetery lots and graves.

A. 
Persons desiring to purchase a lot in Williamstown cemeteries are referred to the Cemetery Foreman at his office in Eastlawn Cemetery. The Cemetery Foreman will have available suitable plots showing location, size and price and such other information as may be required.
B. 
Residents. Individuals must be domiciled in Williamstown at the time of purchase. Lot purchases are limited to the number of members in a given family at the time of purchase, i.e., husband, wife, children, etc., at home.
C. 
Nonresident. All requests for purchases from out-of-town persons are to be in letter form addressed to the Board of Selectmen (Cemetery Commissioners) and must contain a valid reason for the application. Purchases are restricted to no more than two lots. If more lots are desired, an appeal must be made to the Cemetery Commissioners. Valid reasons must include long-term family ties to Williamstown.
D. 
Ownership and title of lots and graves.
(1) 
The term "lot owner," "grave owner" or ownership shall be interpreted to mean the right to use a lot, part a lot or single grave, as purchased from the town for a fee, for burial purposes only and under the rules and regulations as prescribed by the town for such use.
(2) 
Upon full payment of the purchase price, the town will issue a cemetery deed under its seal, and such deed will be recorded in the records of the Town Clerk, as evidence of ownership of the lot.
(3) 
All burial rights in a cemetery lot purchased from the town occupy the same position as real estate at the death of the owner or owners. Only such persons as names appear on the cemetery records of the town will be recognized as owners or part owners of the lots. In case of the death of a lot owner, when the cemetery lot is disposed of by will, a certified letter from the executor of the will must be delivered to the Town Clerk's office before the town will recognize the change in ownership.
(4) 
The title to a cemetery lot invests in the owner the right to use such lot for burial purposes only, for themselves, their heirs or for any such person as they may choose to admit, provided that such admission is free of charge and in accordance with the cemetery rules and regulations.

§ 86-3 Cemetery lot fees.

The Board of Selectmen, acting as Cemetery Commissioners, periodically sets the sale of cemetery grave sites and interment fees for the town's three cemeteries.

§ 86-4 Collection of fees.

A. 
Lots.
(1) 
Before the first burial can be made in a cemetery lot, the owner must have paid for at least one grave site.
(2) 
Anyone purchasing a cemetery lot must complete payment therefor within one year from the date of purchase.
(3) 
Any lot on which payment has not been completed within one year will be made available to the Cemetery Foreman for resale.
(4) 
No monument or foundation may be erected on a lot until the cost of the lot has been paid in full.
(5) 
Deeds are to be issued following full payment of all lots or graves.
B. 
Interments.
(1) 
Fees for interments handled by local undertakers are to be paid by the undertaker within three months of interment.
(2) 
Fees for interments handled by out-of-town undertakers are to be paid by the undertaker, in full, prior to burial.
C. 
All additional fees shall be paid directly to the Town of Williamstown prior to burial.

§ 86-5 Monuments, headstones and markers.

A. 
Lots containing two graves or more shall have only one memorial projecting above the grade. Individual graves within a lot may be indicated by flush-type markers only. On single-grave lots, flush markers or monuments are permitted, but not both. Owners of lots purchased prior to 1960 have the option of erecting either flush or aboveground markers.
B. 
Owners of lots purchased since 1960, having aboveground markers installed after 1960 but prior to July 10, 1967, may continue to erect aboveground markers or may change to flush markers.
C. 
All lots sold after July 10, 1967, are limited to one family monument, and all headstones are to be flush-type markers (i.e., level with the grave of the lot).

§ 86-6 Other structures.

No curbing, fencing, steps or any other type of structure, except conventional memorials, may be placed on any lot.

§ 86-7 Foundations.

Foundations for memorials projecting above grade must be of the same length and width as the base of the memorial and shall have a six-inch border four inches thick on top of the foundation, and the foundation shall be at least five feet in depth from finish grade whenever possible. The border must be flush with the existing grade of the lot. In those areas where lots are not level, the Cemetery Foreman will determine the finish grade of the foundation. The mixture for foundations shall be a minimum of 5 to 1. The town reserves the right to have a designated inspector at each foundation installation.

§ 86-8 Work performed by others.

All contractors and outside workmen doing work of any type within the cemeteries will be under the direct inspection of the Cemetery Foreman. All work must be performed during regular working hours of the Cemetery Department, unless prior permission has been received from the Cemetery Foreman.

§ 86-9 Flowers, shrubs and decorations.

A. 
The town assumes no responsibility for flowers or decorations of any type placed on the graves. As soon as flowers, wreaths, emblems, etc., used at funerals, or placed on graves at other times, become unsightly and faded, they will be removed, and no responsibility for their protection or maintenance is assumed.
B. 
The planting of flowers and shrubs within the town's cemeteries shall be subject to approval of the Cemetery Foreman.
C. 
Planting of trees on lots is prohibited.
D. 
Planting of flowers or shrubs will be confined to either or both ends of the monument. Glass containers for flowers and plants are not permitted, due to the danger to the workmen.
E. 
If any tree or shrub situated on any lot shall by means of their roots or branches become detrimental to or encroach upon adjacent lots, roads or paths, or become unsightly, the Cemetery Foreman shall have the right to enter the lot and remove the tree or shrub, or any parts thereof, as shall be determined to be detrimental or unsightly, of which prior notice shall be given to the owner.
F. 
There shall be no plantings or markers around headstones.

§ 86-10 Perpetual care of lots.

The term "perpetual care" shall be construed to mean the obligation which the town assumes to each year expend the net annual income from the perpetual care endowment set aside in furnishing such care for the lot as mowing grass, raking and cleaning lot and adjacent walkways, filling of sunken graves, and in the care and maintenance of roads, walkways, fences, buildings and grounds in general. It is understood that all expenditures of perpetual care moneys shall be made as part of the annual operating budget for the Cemetery Department.

§ 86-11 Advice about lot improvements; rights of town to perform duties; liability for damages.

A. 
Each lot in the cemetery will, prior to its sale, be suitably marked by the town with cast-iron markers, placed on each lot corner and set level with the ground. All landscaping, care of lots and other work in the cemetery will be done by the town, but it is desired that each lot owner feel free to consult with those in charge of the cemetery at all times. Their advice and assistance will be cheerfully given (without charge) and may be of great value to those contemplating lot improvements.
B. 
The town reserves the right for its workmen and those necessary persons to the performance of normal cemetery operations to enter upon or cross over any lot in the cemetery in the performance of such duties.
C. 
The town, in the performance of its normal operations, assumes no liability for damages from any cause whatsoever, including vandalism or other acts.

§ 86-12 Rules for visitors.

A. 
The cemetery will be open to visitors at all times between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and sunset. Permission to enter the cemetery at any other time must be obtained from the Cemetery Foreman.
B. 
Dogs will not be allowed in the cemetery.
C. 
Firearms will be allowed in the cemetery only at military funerals. Hunting on cemetery property is strictly prohibited.
D. 
The teaching of student automobile drivers within the cemetery is prohibited.
E. 
Visitors are forbidden to pick any flowers, either wild or cultivated, or injure any shrub, tree or plant, or mark or deface any monument, stone or structure in the cemetery.

§ 86-13 Interments.

A. 
All interments shall be restricted to the owner and his heirs and his assignees. Permission in writing from a lot owner or his heirs must accompany all requests for the burial of any other person in the family lot.
B. 
All interments or removals, and all work incidental thereto, except the installation of vaults or crypts, will be done only by employees of the town under the direction of the Cemetery Foreman.
C. 
No interments shall be made in or removals made from the cemetery until the Cemetery Foreman has been furnished with such permits as required by state and local law, and also with an interment or removal order properly signed by the lot owner or his legal representative.
D. 
The lot owner or funeral director shall designate the location of the grave on the lot to the Cemetery Foreman, and any change of location made after the opening of the grave has begun shall be at the expense of the lot owner.
E. 
All orders for an interment shall be given to the Cemetery Department 36 hours in advance when possible, and no interments will be permitted on Saturday afternoons, Sundays or the following holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
F. 
The interment of two bodies in one grave will not be allowed, except in case of mother and infant or twin children.
G. 
The Cemetery Foreman, or representative, will attend each funeral and will be in complete charge of the funeral. They will be expected to see that rules, regulations and strict proprieties of the cemeteries are enforced and will cooperate fully with the Funeral Director.
H. 
The Cemetery Department does not provide artificial grass, lowering devices, tents or vaults. There is no charge for use of the Sherman Memorial Chapel for burials in one of Williamstown's three cemeteries.
I. 
A permanent type of outside container shall be required. The following are approved permanent outside containers: reinforced concrete, copper bearing or galvanized steel, sectional reinforced concrete, slate, marble, brick or any other type of permanent material.
J. 
A second burial will not be permitted in a lot that is not paid for.
K. 
For sanitary reasons, except for official investigation, graves will not be reopened for inspection.
L. 
Removals of bodies from one grave to another, in the same cemetery, will be subject to the charges as prescribed in these rules and regulations.