[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Manager of the Town of Barnstable 4-20-2016. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: These regulations superseded former Ch. 402, Cemeteries, adopted by the Town Manager 6-2-1997.
The Town of Barnstable maintains and operates 14 active and inactive cemeteries and one 96-niche columbarium. Active cemeteries are those in which burial lots and niches are available for licensing assignment to residents of the Town. Inactive cemeteries are those in which no lots remain available for licensing assignment.
Under the administrative direction of the Town Manager, the Director of the Department of Public Works (DPW) shall have overall responsibility for the proper management of Town cemeteries and columbaria, in accordance with these rules and regulations and applicable federal and state laws.
Under the general direction of the Supervisor, DPW Structures and Grounds Division, the Foreman of the Cemeteries shall have direct responsibility for the day-to-day administration, operation and maintenance of Town cemeteries and columbaria. As such, the cemeteries' staff, under the direction of the Foreman, shall be responsible for the administration and enforcement of these rules and regulations.
The Cemetery Office, located at Mosswood Cemetery, 280 Putnam Avenue, Cotuit, on the west side of Putnam Avenue, Cotuit, is open weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. It is closed all day on Saturdays, Sundays and the following holidays:
Persons seeking information and/or services covered by these rules and regulations shall be guided by the hours of operation specified for the Cemetery Office. Except where special arrangements are made at least 48 hours in advance through the Cemeteries Foreman, no services shall be provided beyond normal working hours or on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.
Town cemeteries and columbaria are open to visitors and the public seven days a week throughout the year, typically from sunup to sundown daily. Visitors are requested to bear in mind that the cemeteries and columbaria are consecrated to the memories of those who are buried within. Dignified behavior shall be required at all times.
Vehicles shall proceed cautiously, but at no time shall they exceed 15 miles per hour in any Town cemetery. Violators shall be subject to a speeding fine.
Use of any cemetery driveway or cart path as a thoroughfare shall be prohibited.
Parking is limited to driveways only.
Bicycling, horseback riding, motorcycling, skateboarding, or any other type of recreational sport or similar activity shall be prohibited.
Children under 14 are not permitted within cemeteries for any reason except when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The disposal of flowers and other debris is prohibited except in receptacles provided by the DPW.
Domestic animals of any type shall not be permitted in the cemeteries, except certified animals assisting persons with disabilities.
No grading, seeding, mowing or fertilizing shall be allowed other than by authorized DPW personnel.
No sod or ground shall be broken without specific authorization of the Cemeteries Foreman.
No flower boxes or fences, curbing, hedges, trees, shrubs or any other similar type of in-ground or aboveground planting shall be placed around or planted upon any columbarium, niche, grave or lot in a Town cemetery.
For safety concerns of our workers and our cemetery visitors, the following are not permitted at any time:
Metal stands and hooks (including shepherd hooks and other metal rods)
Any kind of lighting (vigil, solar, digital, etc.).
Wind chimes; balloons.
Statues (unless part of an approved monument).
Toys, pin wheels and stuffed animals.
No drilling or mounting any items on trees.
Other inappropriate items.
No crushed stone or bark shall be placed around monuments, markers or cremation garden.
Ornaments of any type are prohibited.
Cremation garden and columbarium. No ornamentation, structural change, or addition shall be made on or about any niche, and the Town of Barnstable reserves the right to remove any such ornamentation or correct any such alteration at the expense of the purchaser without being deemed guilty of any manner of trespass.
No decorative items of any kind are allowed on any columbarium or niche. The following rules and regulations apply to decorative items in all other cemetery areas:
Ground-level cemetery flower planters shall be permitted from April 15 to October 15.
Flowers in heavy movable planters with a maximum of 12 inches in diameter shall be permitted, or a movable window box not to exceed 18 inches. Planters must sit freely on the ground with no wires, rods or clamps holding them in place. Plant stands of any kind are not permitted.
Natural wreaths and Christmas greens shall be allowed from December 1 to February 1. Christmas lights are not permitted.
Artificial flowers properly secured shall be allowed from November 1 to April 15.
Donated plant material will be allowed in designated memorial planting areas where available and upon approval of the Cemetery Foreman.
Except for that portion of Mosswood Cemetery west of Putnam Avenue, Cotuit, veterans' flags and holders shall be allowed throughout the year, provided they are installed flush with the front base of the grave monument and maintained in proper, presentable condition by the installer.
Veterans' flags and holders shall be allowed in that portion of Mosswood Cemetery west of Putnam Avenue during the period one week preceding and following Veterans Day and during the weeks preceding and following Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Flags and holders must be installed at the back edge of the flush marker and maintained in proper, presentable condition by the installer.
In the event of a strong storm, hurricane or blizzard all items on grave spaces should be removed or will be removed during storm cleanup by cemetery staff.
All items subject to restricted dates shall be removed by the lot owner or responsible organization on or before the specified removal date. Flags not removed on the specified date, and those which become faded, frayed or torn shall be removed and disposed of by the cemeteries' staff. Flag holders shall also be removed at the time the flag is removed and disposed of if not claimed within 60 days. Other items shall be removed by the cemeteries' staff if, in their judgment, they have become wilted, decayed or unsightly.
Funeral floral arrangements shall be removed by cemeteries' staff seven days following their placement. Lot owners wishing to keep any part or all of the floral arrangement should retrieve them within the seven-day period.
Decorative items not complying with the above rules will be removed and disposed.
The Town is not responsible for loss or damage to flowers, planters, flags, containers, holders or other decorative items due to weather, vandalism, theft, maintenance procedures or any other cause.
Cemeteries' staff, and such other DPW employees as may be authorized by the DPW Director or Supervisor, Structures and Grounds Division, shall have the right to enter upon any columbarium, lot or other part of any Town-maintained cemetery to inspect, view or perform such work as may be deemed appropriate.
The DPW may, at any time, lay out, alter or change grades or eliminate sections of driveways, cartways or walkways, or change grades in a manner which in its opinion will maximize the appropriate usage of the cemetery property without jeopardizing its aesthetic qualities.
Niche repairs or gravestone repairs or rubbings shall be prohibited without the specific authorization of the Cemeteries Foreman or his representative.
The Town shall reserve to itself the exclusive control, without further recourse or notice, over every tree, shrub, vine, or other plant growth within the boundaries of all Town cemeteries, whether having been planted previous to these rules and regulations, by deed, or otherwise, including the right of removal without notice, when it considers such removal necessary.
Subject to the availability of space, persons who have been bona fide residents of the Town of Barnstable for a period of two years or more are entitled to be issued a deed to a burial lot in an active cemetery or niche in a columbarium. Additionally, nonresident taxpayers and residents with less than two years' residency may be issued a deed to a burial lot or niche in Mosswood Cemetery only at 150% of the total fee currently in effect for residents with two or more years' residency. No association, group or organization shall be issued a deed.
Lots larger than four graves or two niches, when available, may be deeded by special arrangement through application to the Town Manager. Price lists for deeds are available at the Town Manager's office or the Cemetery Office.
Application for right of burial or niche inurement deed shall be obtained from the Town Manager's office, 367 Main Street, Town Hall, Hyannis, 02601 or from the Cemetery Office, 280 Putnam Avenue, Cotuit, MA 02635. Residency shall be verified based on the Town Clerk's List of Persons and Voter Registration List at the time of application. Nonresident taxpayers must present a current real estate tax bill at the time of application.
Town-maintained cemeteries are nondenominational, and all burial lots are available to qualified Town residents regardless of religious affiliation.
The right granted to the grantee of any lot, grave or niche is a sole and exclusive right of burial or inurnment of human remains and of the erection of monuments, markers or inscription of niche door, subject to the terms, conditions and regulations as they may exist from time to time. Deeds are not transferable. Arrangements shall be made with the Town Manager's office should a grantee wish to relinquish his or her rights to one or more graves or niches. Compensation shall be no greater than the total of the fees paid at the time the deed was issued.
Deed fee. A deed fee, based on the number of graves or niches contained in a burial lot or columbarium, shall be paid at the time of the deed application.
Landscape maintenance of burial lots and the columbarium is the sole responsibility of the cemeteries' staff. Relandscaping by private individuals is prohibited.
Administrative fee. An administrative fee shall be charged for all interments and inurnments and shall be performed by cemeteries' staff. The administrative fee shall be charged at the time of service.
Marker, monument, foundation and niche door installation fee. This fee shall be paid at the time arrangements are made with the Cemeteries Foreman for the installation.
Fee schedule. The current schedule covering the deed fee, perpetual fee, administrative fee, grave or niche-opening fee and installation of monuments and markers may be obtained from either the Town Manager's office or the Cemetery Office during regular business hours.
All interments or inurnments and disinterments or disinurnments are made subject to the orders and laws of the properly constituted authorities of the Town, county and state.
Forty-eight hours' notice shall be provided to the Cemeteries Foreman when making arrangements for interments or inurnments. Sunday and holiday services shall not be permitted except in cases where an extreme hardship would result.
Interment or inurnment orders must be placed before 12:00 noon on the Saturday preceding a Monday burial or entombment. Orders received after 12:00 noon on Saturday shall be scheduled no earlier than the following Tuesday.
Disinterments or disinurnments shall not be made without the written consent of the Town Manager and the written authorization of the person(s) entitled by law to disinter or disinurn the remains.
The Cemeteries Foreman shall have the right to refuse a funeral when, in his best judgment, conditions within the cemetery make the burial unsafe and/or impossible.
All burials or inurnments shall be performed in coordination with and under the general direction of the Cemeteries Foreman.
The number of burials allowed in one casket grave are one casket burial and two cremations or three cremations and no casket.
The designated cremation lots may contain no more than two burial containers or urns.
In the columbarium, each niche can hold two standard-size cremation urns not to exceed nine inches by 10 inches. The urns must be of a material suitable for inurnment (no cardboard).
Only single-depth casket burials shall be allowed.
No interments or inurnments shall be made until the Cemeteries Foreman has been furnished with a burial permit or cremation certificate, as required by laws of the commonwealth, and an interment or inurnment order which has been signed by the owner or legal representative of the lot or niche.
No grave or niche shall be opened by any person not so authorized by the Town of Barnstable. Each grave or niche shall be marked by the cemeteries' staff prior to the opening. All interments or inurnments and disinterments or disinurnments shall be made by cemeteries' staff.