Yarmouth Revisits Cemetery Rules

cemeteryBy ROB WOODARD

YARMOUTH – At a hearing last night in Yarmouth, selectmen decided to revisit their cemetery rules, after hearing from residents upset about new enforcement of a policy prohibiting large displays on gravesites.

After the new enforcement began last week, officials heard from numerous people upset about the enforcement effort.

Last week, cemetery workers gathered graveside decorations throughout Chandler Gray Cemetery on Old Mill Way in West Yarmouth and put them in plastic bags—one per gravesite–for loved ones to collect. Chandler Gray, the town’s newest cemetery having been established in 1985, is the only one of the town’s seven cemeteries with plots available to sell to residents of the town.

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Regular visitors to the cemetery objected to the action and contacted Yarmouth Selectmen in protest.

Selectmen included the item on their agenda earlier this week but wanted to hold a special hearing for public comment. That hearing was held Friday night at 5 pm at the Yarmouth Senior Center.

Yarmouth Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries Director Pat Armstrong says the town could have done a better job of notifying residents of the new enforcement policy. She said the policy is important for the safety of workers who need to maintain and mow at the cemetery. Enforcement is also due to people complaining that the decorations were getting out of hand, she said.

“We were attempting to reach out and be in touch with people and unfortunately we didn’t do it as well as we should have and that caused some of this backlash and I apologize,” she said in an interview Thursday night.

After hearing from residents, selectmen decided to revisit the town’s policies about decorations on grave plots.