The Necessity for Cemetery Rules and Regulations

Many lot-owners regard Cemetery rules and regulations as unnecessary interference with freedom and a restriction of liberty.  Fortunately those who regard them as a nuisance and a source of annoyance are in the minority.   Most lot owners realize that without reasonable rules and regulations there would be no freedom of action, no orderly development of the grounds and no proper or efficient management.

The primary reason for the existence of a cemetery is to provide a place of burialchapel52opt.jpg (16930 bytes) for the dead.  It is also necessary to maintain and beautify the grounds and insure proper conduct on the part of the cemetery and lot-owner, employee and visitor.

The rules regarding burial of the dead are few and to a large extent are governed by law.  By far, the majority of cemetery rules have been made to insure good order in the maintenance and embellishment of the grounds.  In a cemetery, such as ours, with almost 30,000 adjoining lots and a like number of lot owners having their own individual ideas and opinions as to how their lot should be improved and beautified, it is not hard to imagine the chaos and resulting confusion if no restrictions or limitations, were in effect.

Annually, an almost endless variety of requests must be refused on the basis that to grant them would constitute an infraction of the rules, but you can rest assured that there is something more tangible in back of the refusal than a mere violation of the rules.  Ordinary requests for permission to disturb the turf to plant flowers, or to place an urn or other obstruction on the lawn would seem like trivial matters, yet, if granted and multiplied by hundreds of similar requests, would increase tremendously the cost of maintenance and detract seriously from the beauty and general appearance of the grounds.

It is perfectly natural and normal for one to desire to improve and beautify the last resting place of a loved one, and sentiment in this regard is recognized to the extent that every effort has been made to provide for the fullest possible freedom of action, consistent with the rights of others.  It is obvious however, that all are not endowed with a sense of esthetic values and appreciation of what is right and proper in regard to the embellishment of a burial lot.  Therefore, it becomes the duty and obligation of the cemetery to guide and direct by means of reasonable rules and regulations.  Much in the same manner that cities adopt building and zoning laws for the protection and guidance of its citizens, cemetery officials have adopted rules, based on long experience and careful study, for the benefit and mutual protection of the lot owners and the cemetery as a whole.

Rules and regulations must not be regarded as a restraint on personal liberty.  In this limited space we have, tried to show you they are proper and necessary.  If fairly, courteously and impartially enforced on our part and observed and complied with on your part, they can and have reacted to your benefit in decreased maintenance charges and lower Perpetual Care costs.  Do not form the opinion that in their enforcement those in charge are being capricious or arbitrary.   Remember, we are all striving to achieve the same end - the beautification of the home of our beloved dead, which should be a source of pride to you as a lot-owner, a credit to us and an acknowledged beauty spot in the community.

General Rules

1.  The Administration Office for St. Patrick Cemetery and St. Mary Cemetery is located at 1251 Gorham Street, Lowell, Massachusetts. 

2.  The Cemetery Office is open 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Monday through Friday.   The office is closed on all holidays and Holydays of obligation. 

3. The cemetery gates open at 8:00 A.M. and close at 4:00 P.M. daily.  During the summer months the gates are open until dusk. 

4.  Automobiles or other vehicles are not allowed to travel at a speed greater than ten miles per hour, and must not turn in the avenues. 

5.  Fences, hedges, curbing enclosures, ironwork, wirework, seats, vases, urns, posts, vigil lights, and steps are prohibited. 

6.  Grading, sodding, seeding, fertilizing, filling in lots and any type of planting by persons other than cemetery employees is prohibited. 

7.  All work within the grounds of said cemetery will be performed by cemetery employees only. 

8.  Articles such as shells, stone chips, mulch, glass receptacles, wooden crosses, statues, emblems, flag standards or any other object which may be considered objectionable will be removed by the Superintendent without further notice. 

9.  The Superintendent will dispose of all floral designs at his discretion. Funeral flowers will be removed immediately following the interment service.  A longer period is injurious to the sod and detracts from the general appearance of the cemetery. 

10.  Any person who destroys or defaces any monument, tree, shrub, plant or building is guilty of a serious offense, punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.  The law is strict on vandalism in cemeteries, and will be rigidly enforced. 

11. Potted plants and decorations are prohibited during the mowing season (April thru October).  Artificial flowers, baskets, wreaths, sprays, etc., are forbidden except during the winter months. 

12.  All Memorial Day plants and decorations will be removed seven days following the holiday. 

13.  All Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day plants and decorations will be removed three days following the holiday. 

Conditions and Restrictions

1.  The treatment of the grounds shall be subject to the general supervision and approval of the cemetery management, and to such reasonable rules and regulations as the management may pass for the future welfare and appearance of the cemetery.

2.  No transfer of lots or graves will be made without, the consent of the Director or Superintendent. Forms for legal transfers may be secured at the Cemetery Office.
3.  Said lot shall be indivisible and upon the decease of the owner, his heirs at law shall succeed to the privileges with the same restrictions, limitations and conditions. 

4.  When a lot owner so wishes he may designate the person or persons to be interred in said lot after his demise, by filling out the proper instrument conveying the lot in trust to the cemetery, after the person or persons have been interred, the lot will be closed forever. 

5.  To prevent grave settlement, concrete containers are required as outside cases for all burials.
6.  The Superintendent may use his best judgment in opening a grave, when the instructions are indefinite. 

7.  The cemetery management may refuse interment in any lot against which there is a bill outstanding, or any lot that is not under endowed care.

8.  Because of the uncertainty of soil conditions, the Cemetery will guarantee only one burial in each grave. 

9.  The capacity of a grave may be increased, whenever possible, by opening graves double deep. This service is subject to an extra charge. 

Monuments, Markers and Foundations

1.  Repairs and upkeep of all memorials is the responsibility of the lot owner.   The Cemetery will not be responsible for damage by vandals to any memorial within its confines. 

2.  Information relative to type and size of memorial allowed on any given lot may be obtained at the Cemetery Office. 

3.  The Superintendent shall have the authority to reject any plan or design for any memorial which, for reason of size, design, inscription, finish or quality of stone is, in the opinion of said unsuited to the lot or section on which it is to be placed. 

4.  The dimensions and composition of all monuments to be erected must be submitted to the Office of the Cemetery to be approved by the Superintendent. 

5.  No monument susceptible to disintegration or corrosion, such as limestone, sandstone, cement, or metal will be permitted. 

6.  All monuments shall be located on the lot by the Superintendent according to the plan for that particular lot. 

7.  Foundations will be built by cemetery employees only. 

8.  Flat markers are not allowed on lots marked by monuments. One monument or flat marker to a lot.  Granite Veterans Markers are allowed on all lots, contact the Cemetery Office for details.

9.  Lot owners and monument dealers may obtain more detailed copies of rules and regulations governing the erection of monuments and markers by applying at the Cemetery Office. 

Planting Policy 

Flowers only (either annuals or perennials) may be planted at the base of a monument with the following stipulations:

1.  The flowerbed may be no wider than the width of the monument base and must come out from the monument base no more than eight (8) inches.

2.  No shrubs, trees, or bushes may be planted in the planting bed.

3.  Ornaments, such as plastic decorations, pinwheels, animal figurines, balloons, etc. are not allowed.

4.  No bed covering, such as mulch or stones, etc. may be added to the planting bed.

5.  Upkeep of the planted materials is the sole responsibility of the person who has planted the flowers.

6.  St. Patrick Cemetery bears no responsibility for upkeep nor does it assume liability for damage, theft, or vandalism with regard to the plantings or the planting bed.

7.  If plantings and planting bed are not maintained, or if inappropriate materials appear in the bed, St. Patrick Cemetery reserves the right to remove any dead plants or inappropriate materials.

8.  On occasion, the cemetery maintenance staff may remove plantings to accommodate a burial or other activity.  Cemetery staff cannot replace plantings.

9.  Note that plantings cannot be placed on a Flat Marker Lot, but only on a Monument Lot.

American Flag Display and Removal Policy 

St. Patrick Cemetery adheres to the following guidelines regarding the display, care and removal of the American flag:

The American flag may be displayed from May 1st through November 30th in front of or on a monument.

The American flag must be displayed in such a way as to ensure it is not desecrated in the process of display – not touch the ground or become soiled.  If it becomes wet it must be dry before being stored.

If a flag becomes soiled or torn, it must be removed and properly disposed of (burned).  This is the responsibility of cemetery personnel.

The American flag will never be treated as waste or debris by cemetery personnel. All remaining flags will be removed by November 30th by cemetery personnel and turned over to the Veterans Administration.  If you wish to retain your flag, you must remove it prior to November 30th.

revised May 2011