[HISTORY: Adopted by the Rochester City Council 11-25-1941; amended in its entirety 10-11-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-333. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purposes of this chapter, the terms used herein are defined as follows:
- The opening and closing of a space in the ground for the interment of a deceased human being.
- BURIAL TRANSIT PERMIT
- A legal document issued by the Monroe County Health Department or other authority that authorizes the final disposition of human remains.
- All lands now or hereafter within the limits of Mount Hope or Riverside Cemetery, respectively.
- CEMETERY MANAGER
- That person designated by the Commissioner to have responsibility for the day-to-day maintenance and operation of the cemeteries.
- CEMETERY OFFICE
- The personnel at the administrative offices located at Mount Hope and Riverside Cemeteries.
- A structure, either freestanding or part of another building, containing niches for the inurnment of cremains.
- The Commissioner of Environmental Services.
- The remains of a body after cremation.
- The reduction to bone fragments and powder by heat of the remains of a deceased human being.
- CREMATION BURIAL
- The opening and closing of a burial space in the ground for the interment of cremains.
- A structure containing a retort used for the reduction of bodies of deceased persons to cremains.
- A memorial that contains one or more receptacles designed to house cremains.
- A space in a mausoleum which is designed to receive a casket.
- A document conveying a right of interment in specific cemetery property.
- The removal of human remains by exhumation, disentombment, or disinurnment.
- DOUBLE BURIAL
- The practice whereby two full body burials are permitted in the same grave space, provided that the owner elects this option at the time of the first interment. The first grave is then dug to a deeper depth to permit the subsequent interment of another deceased individual on top of the first.
- The act of placing human remains in a crypt.
- The base or footing on which a memorial is installed.
- A section of the cemetery containing interment spaces which may be identified by a particular area or section by name and by the type, size, design and material of memorial authorized.
- GRAVE SPACE OR PLOT
- A space of ground in the cemetery that is used for the interment of a deceased human being.
- GREEN BURIAL
- A ground interment of the body remains of a deceased individual that does not involve the use of an outer burial container.
- IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- Spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, and sibling.
- The disposition of human remains by inurnment, entombment, or burial.
- INTERMENT SPACE
- A space intended for the final disposition of human remains, including, but not limited to, a grave space, mausoleum crypt, columbarium, and lawn crypt or niche.
- The permanent placement of cremated remains in an urn and placement of the urn in a niche or crypt.
- LAWN CRYPT
- Burial vault placed underground prior to actual burial at the time a section or garden of the cemetery is being developed.
- A parcel or tract of land containing more than one individual grave site which is intended for use as a burial place for human remains.
- Flat memorial that is installed flush with the ground.
- Any physical identification of an interment space. This includes, but is not limited to, monuments, markers, lettering or vases applied to community mausoleum and columbaria crypt or niche fronts, private columbaria, statuary, or cremorials.
- An upright memorial, including large structures like obelisks, usually made from granite.
- A space within a columbarium or mausoleum used or intended to be used for the inurnment of cremains of a deceased person.
- A receptacle used for the communal placement of cremated human remains without benefit of an urn or any other container in which cremated remains may be commingled with other cremated remains.
- OUTER BURIAL CONTAINER
- A container which is designated for placement in the grave space around the casket, including, but not limited to, containers commonly known as "burial vaults" or "grave boxes."
- A person having ownership interest in a parcel of cemetery property.
- OWNERSHIP INTEREST
- When dealing with cemetery property, the right of interment, the right to erect monuments and the right of possession, care and control of cemetery property and shall not mean ownership in fee simple absolute.
- The dispersal of cremains that need not be associated with an interment right or issuance of a deed.
- SCATTERING GARDEN
- A location set aside within the cemetery that is used for the spreading or broadcasting of cremains that have been removed from their container and can be mixed with or placed on top of the soil or ground cover or buried in an underground receptacle on a commingled basis.
- A receptacle designed to contain human cremains.
- URN GARDEN
- An outdoor area in the cemetery designated to be used for the underground burial of human cremains, or placement aboveground of small cremorials.
- URN VAULT
- A container designed for placement in a grave space to hold an urn.
No person shall enter or leave the cemetery except through the public gates. The cemetery shall be open during the hours determined by the Commissioner, as indicated by the signs at the gates of the cemetery. No person, unless authorized by the Commissioner or his or her designee, shall be within the cemetery when it is closed. Any person entering the cemetery after closing, without prior authorization from the Commissioner, will be considered a trespasser. Children under 15 years of age shall not be permitted within the cemetery grounds or their buildings unless accompanied and supervised by an adult. The Commissioner or his or her designee shall have the right to refuse admission to the cemetery and refuse the use of the grounds or any of the cemetery's facilities at any time and to any person or persons who are deemed to be in violation of the provisions of this chapter.
Purchase information for cemetery property shall be obtained at the cemetery office.
All cemetery property sales will include a sale price for the interment space and a perpetual care fee for the basic upkeep of the property. All moneys shall be paid to the cemetery office, which shall give a receipt for the same, specifying the date, name of purchaser, location of interment space purchased and the amount paid therefor, all of which details shall be entered in the registered deeds, and a corresponding deed shall be drawn and executed as required by the City Charter. This deed may be obtained by the purchaser as soon as recorded upon giving up the cash receipt at the cemetery office.
Cemetery space must be paid for in full before a burial, entombment or inurnment may be completed.
In sections where single graves are sold there can be no choice of location. The spaces shall be filled in regular order. In cases where two single graves are purchased, one at need and the other pre-need, the second grave will not be reserved for longer than 30 days without the execution of a purchase contract.
The cemetery reserves the sole right to repurchase cemetery property that has been deeded to the owner. The cemetery will reimburse the owner for the original purchase price plus an amount equal to simple interest at 2% per year since the time such property was acquired. Perpetual care charges will not be reimbursed. For a grave space, any installed monument or memorial must be removed at the owner's expense before the transaction is executed.
The cemetery will not repurchase cemetery property from a purchaser unless the property has been paid for in full.
Cemetery property may not be sold by an owner to third party.
An owner who wishes to sell back an interment space and purchase an alternate interment space from the cemetery may do so pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Except as provided below, conveyances of cemetery property by the cemetery to more than one person creates in them a tenancy in common, unless expressly declared to be a joint tenancy in the deed. In the case of tenants in common, upon the death of a tenant, his or her interest in the cemetery property passes to his or her devisees or heirs at law, subject to this section of the Code. In the case of joint tenancy, upon the death of a tenant, his or her interest in the cemetery property passes to the surviving tenants, subject only to the right of his or her surviving spouse for interment herein.
A conveyance of cemetery property by the cemetery to spouses creates in them a tenancy by the entirety, unless expressly declared to be joint tenancy or a tenancy in common. In the case of tenancy by the entirety, upon the death of one tenant, the whole interest of both remains in the survivor.
Upon the death of an owner or co-owner of a parcel of cemetery property, unless the same shall be held in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, the interest of the deceased owner, to the extent that such interest has not been exhausted by the deceased owner, shall pass to his or her devisees or heirs at law subject to the following limitations and conditions:
If the deceased owner leaves a surviving spouse and children, they shall have all rights of ownership of the deceased in common, except that the spouse shall have only a right of interment of himself or herself during his or her life.
If the deceased owner leaves a surviving spouse but no children, such spouse shall have all rights of ownership in such interment space as the deceased, including the right and duty to care for, possess and control any space in which interments have been made.
If the deceased owner leaves surviving children but no spouse, such children, or the survivor of them, shall have in common all rights in such interment space as the deceased, including the right and duty to care for, possess and control any interment space in which interments have been made.
Interests in cemetery property shall be considered property devised only if such property is specifically referred to in the will of the deceased owner. If a will expresses no disposition of such property, then the ownership shall not pass from the lawful heirs of such owner by any residual or other general clause but shall descend to such heirs as if the said owner had died intestate. If, however, the owner is not survived by any known lineal descendent and if the devisee under the residuary clause is also related to the owner within the fifth degree of consanguinity, ownership of such cemetery property shall pass under such residuary clause.
The parties having such ownership interest in the interment space during the term thereof may erect a monument and make other permanent improvements thereon subject to the rules and regulations of the cemetery.
The surviving spouse shall have the right of interment for his or her body in an interment space in which the deceased spouse was an owner or co-owner at the time of his or her death, except where all the available interment spaces have been used for or designated for the interment of persons other than the surviving spouse. A person interred shall have the right to have his or her body remain permanently interred therein, except that his or her body may be removed therefrom to some other family interment space with the consent of his or her heirs. Where more than one owner exists, the surviving spouse may at any time release his or her right in such space, but no conveyance or devise by any other person shall deprive him or her of such right. Such right may be enforced and protected by his or her personal representatives.
At any time when more than one person has an ownership interest in cemetery property, any of the persons having an ownership interest thereto may file with the cemetery an affidavit setting forth the names and places of residence of all the persons having an ownership interest, and the cemetery shall be entitled to rely upon the truth of the statements contained in such affidavit.
At any time when more than one person has an ownership interest in cemetery property, the co-owners shall file with the cemetery a designation of a person who shall represent all the co-owners, and as long as they shall fail to designate, the cemetery shall have the right to make such designation.
A distributee may release his or her interest in cemetery property to other distributes, and a joint owner may release or devise to the other joint owners, his or her right in the property on the conditions specified in the release or will, the original or certified copy of which shall be filed in the office of the cemetery.
No interment of a body other than that of a human being shall be permitted in the cemetery.
All orders for the opening of interment space shall be filed at the cemetery office in writing on forms furnished by the cemetery subject to the discretion of the Cemetery Manager or his or her designee. No interments shall be allowed in the cemetery on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas or New Year's Day, except in cases of death from a contagious disease when immediate burial is ordered by the Monroe County Health Director.
Permission by an owner for the interment of persons not of the immediate family of the owner within the owner's cemetery property shall be in an acknowledged, written instrument in the form required by the Cemetery Manager.
Funerals entering the cemetery grounds shall be subject to the direction of the Cemetery Manager, or his or her designee. Funeral directors entering the cemetery shall abide by the rules and regulations of the cemetery.
Upon arrival at the cemetery, a funeral director must present to the cemetery office a burial transit permit, issued by the Registrar of Vital Statistics of the County of Monroe or other authority, before a burial or entombment of body remains can take place. A burial or entombment must proceed to conclusion once the receipt of decedent form has been executed by the cemetery office and the decedent's remains have entered the cemetery property.
For ground burials in lots, the grave to be opened on the lot must be located by the lot owner or the funeral director. When, however, the instructions for opening and closing a grave are indefinite or, for any reason, the grave cannot be opened in the location specified, the Cemetery Manager will order a grave opened at such location in the lot as may seem best under the circumstances. Such action is necessary to avoid the delay of funerals, and the City shall not be liable for any injury or dissatisfaction resulting from its selection. When an order for opening a grave is received by telephone, the cemetery will not be responsible for any misunderstanding of location.
Graves shall be dug only by persons under the direction of the Cemetery Manager or his or her designee.
Ground burial of the body remains of a deceased individual shall require the use of an outer burial container made of precast concrete, natural stone, or steel to enclose the casket and support the earth. The use of an infant casket-vault combination for child interments will satisfy the requirement. This requirement shall be waived in the instance of a green burial approved by the Cemetery Manager.
Cremation burials shall include the use of an urn vault. The use of an urn-vault combination will satisfy the requirement. This requirement may be waived by the Cemetery Manager for areas in the cemetery that have been designated as urn gardens or for cremation burials made above a green burial.
The Cemetery Manager may designate locations in the cemetery that are appropriate for the option of a green burial.
Additional interments may be made in a full body grave space, provided that there is adequate space and approval is granted by the Cemetery Manager. In addition to the normal fees charged for the opening and closing of the grave, a right of interment fee will be assessed for each subsequent cremation burial.
Mount Hope Cemetery:
Full burial. The cremains of up to four others shall be permitted following the burial of the body remains of one person, provided that an outer burial container is used in the initial burial to protect the integrity of the grave. Once a cremation burial is made in the grave space, a subsequent full body burial can be made only upon consent of the Cemetery Manager.
Double burial. Two full body burials are permitted in the same grave space, provided that the owner elects this option at the time of the first interment and an outer burial container is used to protect the integrity of the grave. The first grave will then be dug to a deeper depth to permit the subsequent interment of another outer burial container and casket. The cremains of up to four others shall be permitted following the second body burial. Once a cremation burial is made in the grave space, any subsequent full body burial can be made only upon consent of the Cemetery Manager.
Green burial The cremains of one other shall be permitted following the green burial of the body remains of one decedent. The subsequent cremation burial must include the use of a biodegradable urn which is placed directly in the ground. The requirement of the use of an urn vault shall be waived in this instance.
Full burial. The cremains of up to two others shall be permitted following the burial of the body remains of one person, provided that an outer burial container is used in the initial burial to protect the integrity of the grave. The right of the first and/or second full body burial shall be negated once a cremation burial is performed in the grave space.
Double burial. The Cemetery Manager has the authority to designate locations in the cemetery where double burials may be made and issue appropriate rules governing this practice. In these instances, two full body burials are permitted in the same grave space, provided that the owner elects this option at the time of the first interment and an outer burial container is used to protect the integrity of the grave. The first grave will then be dug to a deeper depth to permit the subsequent interment of another outer burial container and casket. The cremains of up to two others shall be permitted following the second body burial. The right of the first and/or second full body burial shall be negated once a cremation burial is performed in the grave space.
Green burial. No additional interments are allowed in graves located in cemetery sections designated for green burials.
The presence of family members is not permitted during the process of entombment due to safety concerns.
All remains entombed in one of the community mausoleums shall be in a casket or alternative container acceptable to the cemetery.
Cremains must be contained within an urn or container approved by the Cemetery Manager for all mausoleum or columbarium niche inurnments.
Disinterment may be made on consent of the Commissioner and the written consent of a member of the decedent's immediate family. However, for ground burials where remains have been interred for many years or as a green burial, removal will be subject to the discretion of the Commissioner.
If the consent of any such person cannot be obtained or if the Commissioner refuses consent, an order of the Supreme Court requiring the exhumation, disentombment or disinurnment shall be sufficient.
The cemetery may perform a disinterment to correct an error made in a prior interment and may transfer the erroneously interred remains to an alternate interment space within the cemetery. In such instance, only the Commissioner's approval is needed in order for the disinterment and reinterment to be performed.
A funeral director must present to the cemetery office a burial transit permit, issued by the Registrar of Vital Statistics of the County of Monroe or other authority, before a disinterred human body may be removed from the cemetery grounds. No permit is required for removal within the same cemetery.
A disinterment must be made by the cemetery authorities.
Removal arrangements shall be made at the cemetery office. A removal request for a ground burial may be made from May 1 to October 31, only.
The presence of witnesses other than a funeral director, medical examiner or public safety officer is prohibited while an exhumation or disentombment is performed.
The cemetery shall assume no liability for damage to any casket, outer burial container, urn, any other property, or the remains of the decedent during the disinterment process.
The operation of the crematory shall be subject to the direction of the Commissioner or his or her designee.
No cremation of a body other than that of a deceased human being shall be permitted in the crematory.
Necessary forms for cremation must be properly executed and presented before a cremation can take place.
Funeral directors must call the crematory in advance to schedule a time to deliver remains for cremation.
No exposure of the body shall be permitted once it enters the crematory, unless a funeral director is present to open and close the casket or container.
A body must be delivered to the crematory in a container of sufficient strength and rigidity so that no part of the body shall become exposed during handling by crematory personnel. The bodies of infants and bodies being received from medical institutions must be received by the crematory in adequately sealed, waterproof containers of sufficient strength and rigidity so that no part of the body shall become exposed during handling by crematory personnel.
Heart pacemakers, prosthesis, or any mechanical or radioactive devices or implants are dangerous when placed in a cremation chamber. The City will not be responsible or accept any liability in instances when a funeral director fails to remove these devices or implants from a decedent. The person or persons authorizing the cremation will be responsible for any damages caused to the crematory or crematory personnel by such devices or implants.
The cremains shall be released to the person duly authorized to receive them, which person shall be required to sign a receipt for the same.
The cremains must be picked up or interred within 30 days from the date of cremation, or the cemetery shall have the right to scatter or inter the cremains, after the expiration of the 30 days, in any part of the cemetery it may deem proper. The appropriate charges shall be billed to the funeral director requesting the cremation.
The scattering of cremains is allowed within the cemetery in designated scattering gardens and ossuaries. Cremains may not be scattered in other areas of the cemetery.
Documentation of each scattering must be recorded on the permanent record of the cemetery. A scattering permit must be obtained from the cemetery office prior to the scattering.
All burial spaces shall have no more than one monument or grave marker with the exception that burial lots may have a main monument, and a monument or marker for each individual grave therein regardless of the number of interments made in the grave. All monuments or markers on the same lot shall be uniform. Lot monuments shall be permitted only when a lot is comprised of a minimum of two adjacent graves. Lot monuments shall be set in the middle of the lot, in line with previously set monuments.
All monuments and markers shall be of bronze, granite, marble or other equally durable stone material, metal or metal alloy.
Within the area of the cemetery designated as memorial sections, markers which are flush with the ground shall be required.
All monuments and grave markers shall be placed on a foundation which shall be adequately designed to prevent future settlement, tilting or cracking. The Cemetery Manager will approve the size and depth of all foundations. All foundations shall be installed by the cemetery, and the expense for the installation will paid by the owner. All foundation orders shall be payable when filed. No raising or altering of a foundation by a contractor shall be permitted.
The Cemetery Manager must approve the design of all monuments or markers prior to installation. No person shall erect or place a monument in the cemetery that has not been approved by the Cemetery Manager.
The Cemetery Manager may limit the style and size of monuments to be erected in designated areas of the cemetery and may dictate specific monument or marker designs in designated areas of the cemetery.
No monument or marker shall be removed from the cemetery, except by the cemetery, unless the lot owner is granted permission in writing by the Cemetery Manager.
The cemetery may remove from a lot or plot any monument, marker, or other structure which conflicts with cemetery regulations or whose condition poses a danger.
Notice must be given at the cemetery office before any monument work is brought into the cemetery. Suitable care shall be exercised by a contractor to ensure that the cemetery grounds are not damaged during the erection of monuments. Planks must be laid on the sod where barrows or trucks are used to move monuments.
Repairs or removal may be made to existing masonry enclosures at the discretion of the Commissioner.
The erection of a private mausoleum shall be permitted only under rules and regulations governing same. No mausoleum shall be hereafter erected or foundation built without a sum of money equal to 15% of the construction cost for the permanent care of same, having first been deposited in a private trust for the upkeep of the structure.
Permission must be secured from the cemetery office for the use of air compressors to sandblast or to letter monument work within the cemetery.
Lettering on mausoleum and columbarium crypts and niches shall comply with all requirements established by the cemetery for uniformity. Inscriptions on crypt and niche fronts shall be engraved letters and shall be furnished by the cemetery. The inscription shall consist of the given name, initial and surname, the year of birth and death. Emblems or decorations are permitted, within guidelines set by the cemetery.
The Commissioner or his or her designee shall have the right to promulgate reasonable rules and regulations in connection with the provisions of this chapter and the provisions of the City Charter relating to City cemeteries and in connection with the operation of the cemetery.
No person shall fail or refuse to comply with any reasonable order relating to the regulation of cemetery activities or the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, lawfully given by the Commissioner, authorized employees or any law enforcement officer.
No person shall willfully resist, obstruct or abuse the Commissioner, authorized employees or any law enforcement officer in the execution of their offices and duties.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punishable by a fine not exceeding $150 or by imprisonment not exceeding 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, or by a penalty of not less than $5 or more than $500 to be recovered by the City of Rochester in a civil action. In addition, any violations of federal, state or City statutes and laws will result in criminal prosecution.
Prohibited acts. It shall be unlawful for any person to commit any of the following acts:
Trespass through the cemetery or enter or remain on cemetery grounds before or after posted hours.
Desecrate, vandalize, deface, tear down or injure any property, grave stone, monument, tomb, vault, or fence in the cemetery.
Bring illegal substances into the cemetery.
Alcoholic beverages may only be possessed in the cemetery in accordance with § 44-9 of the Municipal Code. The Commissioner has the authority to permit the consumption of alcoholic beverages for special events held on cemetery property.
Have in possession or discharge firearms within the cemetery, except for honor guards at military funerals or special ceremonies or police officers.
Solicitation by outside parties on cemetery property is strictly prohibited.
Advertising of any kind is prohibited within the cemetery, except for displays of merchandise or services offered for sale by the cemetery. No signs, notices or advertising may be placed on cemetery grounds or buildings without the express, written consent of the Commissioner. The cemetery may remove any unauthorized advertising without liability.
Congregate about an interment space while funeral ceremonies are in progress, unless accompanying the funeral.
Use profane or boisterous language or in any way disturb the quiet and good order of the cemetery.
Sit, walk upon or occupy any private lot not belonging to him or her or to a member of his or her immediate family.
Climb the banks or terraces.
Climb on or disturb any trees, shrubs, or plantings, or pick flowers or foliage.
Possess a bow and/or arrow in the cemetery.
Throw trash or litter on the roads, paths, lawns, lots or any other part of the cemetery grounds or buildings, except into designated receptacles.
Drive a motor vehicle faster than 15 miles per hour within the boundaries of the cemetery.
Operate an off-the-road vehicle of any kind, except for cemetery maintenance personnel.
Riders of motorcycles and bicycles must keep their vehicles on paved roads and obey the cemetery speed limit.
Large commercial vehicles of any kind are not permitted within the cemetery grounds unless they are allowed by permission of the Cemetery Manager.
Recreational activities such as skiing, mountain biking, sledding, skateboarding, rollerblading, ball playing, or swimming.
Feed or disturb fish, birds or other animal life within the cemetery.
Conduct a treasure or scavenger hunt on the cemetery grounds. This includes geocaching activities.
Make a rubbing of a monument or memorial.
No person shall commit the following acts in the cemetery relative to the treatment of the grounds:
Lay or remove any sod or alter the grade of any lot within the cemetery, either on his or her lot or another's lot.
Plant a tree, shrub, vine, or other permanent foliage on a grave plot or lot, or remove or trim any tree.
Pluck or remove any plant or flower, either wild or cultivated, from cemetery property not owned.
Place aggregate, marble chips, stones, glass chips, or similar materials around monuments, memorials, or grave plots.
Erect or construct a wall, fence, curb, border or barrier, either temporary or permanent, around the perimeter of any lot or grave plot or lot.
The Commissioner or his or her designee is authorized to promulgate rules relative to the decoration of in-ground or aboveground interment spaces. Rules will be posted at the entrance of the cemetery and may be updated periodically by the Commissioner or his or her designee as deemed appropriate.
The Commissioner may authorize noninterment-related activities to occur in the public areas of the cemetery grounds. These activities require prior written approval through a permitting process. Approval for such activities shall be made by the Commissioner at his or her sole discretion. No person shall commit any of the following acts within a cemetery, except authorized employees or persons with written permission from the Commissioner:
Conduct a public tour;
Deliver any public speech, or hold a public march or parade;
Hold a wedding ceremony or private party;
Conduct an organized game or activity, including activities such as races, walks, and similar organized activities;
Professionally photograph a staged subject;
Film any portion of the cemetery grounds;
Hold a gathering of more than 25 people;
Charge an admission or entry fee for any activity that takes place within the cemetery grounds;
Possess or consume any alcoholic beverage.
The Commissioner shall establish the sale pricing for interment spaces, fees for cemetery products and services, and charges for the use or rental of facilities.