remember that anything on this webside is not official information nor
is it anything more than the website's opinion or perception of what
REVIVED AGAIN: Only to have Referendum Question #3 answered "No, do not have
Selectmen pursue P&Z OK..."
N.Y.C. CEMETERY example of
one kind of historic property...Weston has history, too. A Planning and
Zoning issue, as well? QUESTION: Do you dig up your
when you move - or is this one of those "quiet title" matters?
Obviously, if P&Z gets involved, you must get a special permit,
file a map, issue a bond (in perpituity?)...this property's
basement a private cemetery?
WHAT NOW? DO YOU
THINK THE IDEA OF A TOWN CEMETERY IS NOW DEAD? NEWS FROM
- We have chosen to include information about the Probate process and activities of the Judge of Probate here.
THESE UNOFFICIAL MINUTES FOR
- "Walk" of possible sites here.
- MISSION STATEMENT
August 2009 here.
- MINUTES AND AGENDAS POSTED FROM
AUGUST 31, 2009 -
OCTOBER 26, 2009 (UNOFFICIAL);
- BOARD OF SELECTMEN FORMED
ANOTHER CEMETERY COMMITTEE: membership here.
2006, U.S. Interior Department named as a National Historial
Landmark Andrew Jackson Downing's
Conservancy not happy: “I
don’t think the use of the property is inconsistent with the agreements
(made in the Lachat deal),” said Mr. Major. “But when asked about this,
Steve Patton told me, ‘Fine, use eminent
domain.’ Those were his words.”
- A few headstones mark the site of a small
19th Century cemetery on land
now owned by Aquarion Water Company. The town asked Aquarion what it
would take to build a new town cemetery on the site at the corner of
Valley Forge Road and Newtown turnpike. —Thomas Nash photo
- History of the Cemetery Committee -
its reports, in part: contract, the Grever and Ward effort (initiated,
2007); in part, the Select
Cemetery Committee report, May 27, 2004; South Western
Regional Planning Agency 2002 study
- CEMETERY RESEARCH:
Truth stranger than fiction
A Project to Turn Corpses Into Compost
By CATRIN EINHORN
APRIL 13, 2015
Cullowhee, N.C. — The body of the tiny 78-year-old woman,
gray hair falling over stiffened shoulders, was brought to a hillside
at Western Carolina University still clad in a blue hospital gown and
She was laid on a bed of wood chips, and then more were heaped atop her. If all goes as hoped, the body will turn into compost.
It is a startling next step in the natural burial movement. Even as more
people opt for interment in simple shrouds or biodegradable caskets,
urban cemeteries continue to fill up. For the environmentally conscious,
cremation is a problematic option, as the process releases greenhouse
Armed with a prestigious environmental fellowship, Katrina Spade, a
37-year-old Seattle resident with a degree in architecture, has proposed
an alternative: a facility for human composting.
The idea is attracting interest from environmental advocates and
scientists. The woman laid to rest in wood chips is a first step in
testing how it would work.
“Composting makes people think of banana peels and coffee grounds,” Ms.
Spade said. But “our bodies have nutrients. What if we could grow new
life after we’ve died?”
Story in full:
Probate judge offers free Tuesday night seminars beginning April 22
By The Forum Staff on April 17, 2014
Probate Judge Lisa Wexler, who is providing free educational seminars on
Tuesdays this month and in May and June, will begin them on April 22
with the topic of What Happens When You Die With A Will.
The seminars take place on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at Westport Town Hall, Room 100. The public is invited.
Also this month, on April 29, is the topic Changing Your Name.
Next month: May 6, Mental Illness and the Probate Court;
May 13, Your
Rights as a Beneficiary of an Estate;
May 20, Your Responsibilities as a
Fiduciary – Executor or Administrator or Trustee;
May 27, What Does a
Conservator Do? Conservator of the Estate vs. Conservator of the Person.
On June 3, the topic is Intellectually Disabled Kids – Guardians &
and June 17, it is What Happens When You Die Without a
Many Cemeteries Damaged, but
Green-Wood Bore the Brunt of the Storm
By DAVID W. DUNLAP
November 25, 2012, 1:00 am
Obelisks that stood upright for generations at Green-Wood Cemetery,
perpetuating the memories of the Strong and Hallett and Wallace
families, hit the ground at crazy angles. The angel guarding the Lloyd
family plot lost its head, an arm and the tip of its wing. The
headstone of an 18-year-old boy, overturned by a falling pin oak, rests
upside down beside its pedestal. "Thy will be done," it says.
Hurricane Sandy ran roughly through cemeteries around New York City,
but it devastated Green-Wood in Brooklyn, a designated National
Historic Landmark. High winds destroyed or badly damaged at least 292
of the mature trees that lend so much beauty to the picturesque grounds
- oak, maple, beech, linden, pine, tulip, cherry and Bradford pear.
Because many trees and branches remain where they fell on Oct. 29,
cemetery officials have not had the chance to assess how many
monuments, headstones and ornamental fences were crushed, shattered or
overturned. Certainly, dozens were damaged.
Operators of other major cemeteries in New York -- including Woodlawn
in the Bronx, Trinity in Manhattan, Calvary in Queens, and Cypress
Hills in Brooklyn and Queens -- also reported downed trees and some
structural damage, but nothing of the magnitude of Green-Wood's loss.
Richard J. Moylan, the president of Green-Wood, said he had never
witnessed such destruction in his 40 years at the cemetery. He
estimated the clean-up would cost at least $500,000. Much of the
clearing work is being performed by the cemetery's own grounds crews,
who are working six-day weeks. Mr. Moylan said he did not know yet how
he would pay all the recovery costs.
The storm apparently spared the resting places of Green-Wood's most
famous occupants - Leonard Bernstein, Louis Comfort Tiffany and William
M. Tweed among them - though a falling London plane came close to the
grave of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and a beech fell to earth not
far from the grave of William Poole, the 19th-century gang leader
better known as Bill the Butcher.
A palisade of pin oaks along a cemetery road called Cypress Avenue
proved especially vulnerable. They stood at the base of the terminal
moraine, a glacial ridge that runs like a spine through Long Island,
and were completely exposed.
"The wind just seems to have had free rein in the flat area," said Art
Presson, the superintendent of grounds operations at Green-Wood, as he
took Mr. Moylan on a four-hour inspection tour last Tuesday. (With
shoulders slumped as he took in the wreckage, Mr. Moylan managed a thin
smile and said, "This is why I don't leave the office.")
Green-Wood's historical counterpart in the Bronx, Woodlawn Cemetery,
lost 35 trees, perhaps most poignantly an enormous pendant silver
linden near the Jerome Avenue entrance. Twenty-five trees lost major
limbs. Susan Olsen, the director of historical resources, said that one
obelisk was shattered and one statue was broken in half.
Cypress Hills Cemetery, on the Brooklyn-Queens line, lost about a dozen
trees. Thirty or more trees suffered significant limb damage. Frank
Lally, the office manager, said it appeared that no monuments were
An almost identical report came from Trinity Church Cemetery in
Manhattan: a dozen trees lost and no significant damage to monuments.
Linda Hanick, the chief spokeswoman for Trinity Church at the head of
Wall Street, which runs the uptown cemetery, said 13 trees were
Joseph Zwilling, the chief spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese
of New York, said that all four archdiocesan cemeteries in New York
City and Westchester and Rockland Counties, including Calvary in
Queens, had fallen trees and damaged headstones.
As for meeting clean-up and restoration costs, Mr. Moylan said,
"Unfortunately, we do not believe there are many options." Insurance
proceeds, if any, will be minimal, he said. A newly acquired wood
chipper is being carried as an advance against next year's capital
"The monuments are legally not ours, so we do not have an insurable
interest," Mr. Moylan said. "Yet we feel we have a moral obligation to
make the repairs as best as possible." He and Ms. Olsen, at Woodlawn,
said they were likely to take advantage of professional help offered by
the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
"Some private donors have already made some small contributions," Mr.
Moylan said, "but with the amount of suffering out there, we have not
made much of an effort to solicit funds. In fact, we have been
assisting a local synagogue and a local church in transporting food and
supplies to hard-hit neighborhoods."
If there is good news, it is that Green-Wood's 478 acres are so rich in
natural and architectural treasures that many vistas were left
untouched or scarcely disturbed. About 7,700 trees came through,
including delicate-looking willows and Japanese maples. New trees are
being planted constantly.
But there is no denying the cumulative and disheartening effect of
recent storms, including the October 2011 snowstorm that burdened trees
with heavy snow while they were still in leaf.
"The last three years have been one weather event after the next,
world-gone-mad kind of stuff," Mr. Presson said. "By far, this was the
PLUS correction of the name of a
tree not included
Busway construction through Fairview Cemetery in New Britain
Blessing or Boondoggle?
by Hugh McQuaid | Jul 13, 2012 4:40pm
The New Britain-Hartford busway is happening.
Construction crews are working on it across the state. But that hasn’t
stopped a group of Republican lawmakers from calling reporters to raise
objections at every turn, and the Malloy administration seems to be
growing tired of it.
The latest objection comes from New Britain where the busway route
passes through Fairview Cemetery over an old Amtrak right of way. Trees
had grown up on the abandoned rail line and crews were brought in to
remove them. The work brought construction equipment within a few feet
of the grave sites.
It prompted Candice Hewins, a New Britain resident with family buried
at Fairview, to pen a letter to Sen. Joe Markley, a constant opponent
of the busway project. Hewins said the busway will disrupt the “eternal
rest” of her grandparents and uncle. Markley’s staff invited reporters
to tour the cemetery and listen to the concerns of Markley and other
It wasn’t the first such event. In June, Republicans set up a press
conference for the owner of an auto repair shop in Newington, who was
unhappy with the state’s acquisition of part of the business’s property
to complete the project.
In all likelihood it won’t be the last time Markley and Republican
Reps. Rob Sampson and Whit Betts engage the media on the busway topic.
“People are going to realize as time goes on just how intrusive this
project is going to be,” Markley said Friday.
But the governor’s administration and the Department of Transportation
seem tired of defending a project that’s already been approved and set
Asked to comment on the project’s impact on the cemetery, one
Transportation Department spokesman said he couldn’t help and abruptly
hung up the phone. Another DOT spokesman was willing to defend the
project, but Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s senior communications
adviser, said the administration is “puzzled” by the media’s continued
attention to Markley.
“Sen. Markley is an elected official and he has the right to do
whatever he chooses to do. But this project is moving forward now,”
Occhiogrosso said. “... It seems a little silly that at least once a
week he has some sort of event and a story or two gets written and
there’s really no news.”
The project was fully vetted and the subject of several public hearings
where people had the opportunity to voice their concerns, he said. Now
it’s going forward whether Markley likes it or not, Occhiogrosso said.
Even with it going forward, Markley, Betts and Sampson have
persistently attacked it as a waste of money for a transportation
option no one will use. Standing near grave site a few feet from where
the rapid transit bus route will someday pass, Markley said the dead
are now being disturbed by the project.
“It’s even interfering with the peace of the grave, the one thing one
counts on,” he said.
Kevin Nursick, a Transportation Department spokesman, said the
department and the contractors used to clear the trees went to great
lengths to make sure the cemetery was respected and nothing was
damaged. If sawdust from the tree clearing landed on headstones,
someone was careful to dust it off at the end of the day, he said.
“We even had protocol established if a funeral was taking place we
would stop work a half hour before it started and would not commence
work until a half hour after it ended,” Nursick said.
“We understand that loved ones are buried there, including some family
members of people who worked on the tree crew,” he said.
Proponents of the project cite the several thousand jobs it’s creating
in the state’s badly ailing construction industry. Ed Reilly of the
Hartford Building Trades Council said the administration isn’t the only
group of people tired of hearing about the anti-busway events.
“We’ve had 40 percent unemployment in the construction industry for
years. These constant assaults are aggravating us too,” he said. “I’ve
got people with no income, people who couldn’t heat their homes in the
winter. It’s that bad and people have got to understand that.”
The busway project is expected to create 3,000 jobs over several years,
something Reilly calls “a blessing” for the construction industry. He
said it will also help the poor and disadvantaged have access to
transportation and even educational opportunities in New Britain.
Reilly said he’s grown frustrated with busway opponents.
“After awhile, I have to say to myself, ‘Why don’t they care?’ Not
everyone’s pocket is full of money,” he said.
Construction workers even showed up at one of the lawmakers’
anti-busway press conference in April to boo at them.
But the busway opponents argue it’s not a personal crusade on their
part, they’re just working on behalf of upset constituents.
“On a daily basis we’re being asked to do whatever we can to stop this
busway,” Betts said.
State Will Continue Regulating Funeral
Homes, Retracts Earlier Statement
The Hartford Courant
6:09 PM EDT, August 5, 2011
The state Department of Public Health said Friday that it will continue
licensing funeral homes, funeral directors and embalmers, saying an
announcement this week that it would no longer do so was "inaccurate."
"While the DPH is streamlining processes and reallocating resources in
response to budget cuts, it has no plans to stop licensing and
inspecting funeral homes, funeral directors or embalmers," the agency
said in a statement released Friday afternoon.
On Monday, the department said announced that it was deregulating the
funeral home profession as part of a proposed $20 million budget cut, a
move that also would stop regulation of college infirmaries and some
clinics. It said licensed professionals in those places would still be
subject to health department oversight.
"[W]e are gratified to see a retraction from [the DPH]," the
Connecticut Funeral Directors Association said in a statement on
Friday. "This decision is in the best interest of funeral directors
statewide and the families we serve."
The health department statement said that, if it decides to make
changes in licensing procedures in the future, it will meet first with
the funeral directors group.
The department's funeral and embalmer examining board has taken
disciplinary action against more than 40 funeral homes, directors and
embalmers in the past three years. In the past, some funeral home
operators have been disciplined, fined or banished from the profession
for such transgressions as cremating the wrong body, reselling top-tier
coffins that had already been bought by families, switching coffins
after families left a grave site and mishandling trust funds containing
thousands of dollars for prepaid funerals.
health department to scrap
embalmers targeted in sketchy plan to pare budget
By Judy Benson Day Staff Writer
Article published Aug 2, 2011
The state Department of Public Health announced a series of staff and
program reductions Monday, including one that came as a surprise to
people working in one of the most recession-proof businesses.
In a news release, the department announced it was eliminating state
licenses for funeral homes and funeral directors and embalmers as well
as for college infirmaries and some types of clinics. The facilities
will still be subject to public-health regulations and enforcement.
The news release did not specifically explain how the elimination of
the licenses would save the state money, nor did it provide details on
how the change would be implemented.
"DPH will focus investigations staff and resources on professions with
the most impact on the public's health," department spokesman William
Gerrish said in an email in response to questions. "The department is
currently working on implementing its budget reduction plan and more
details will become available."
The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association learned of the change
Monday when the news release was issued, said Pasquale Folino, the
association's vice president and director at Thomas Neilan & Sons
Funeral Home in New London. He said individual directors and embalmers
pay $110 to the state annually for licenses, and funeral homes pay an
annual licensing fee of $90 and an annual state inspection fee of $90.
"We're not sure what it means, and how they're going to implement
this," he said of the license elimination. "We've contacted DPH and
asked for a meeting. We're trying to get some clarity."
He said the association had no problems with the current system.
"The system that's been in place works," he said.
In its news release, the department said it was cutting a total of $20
million over two years through layoffs, retirements and elimination of
vacant positions as well as through improved efficiency. In his email
response, Gerrish said 33 staff will be laid off, seven vacant
positions will be eliminated and 15 additional staff members will be
retiring. The department currently has 523 state-funded staff positions.
"We are committed to minimizing the impact of these reductions and
ensuring that core public health services continue to be available to
people who need them the most," Dr. Jewel Mullen, public health
commissioner, said in the DPH release.
Among other changes:
• Children covered by private insurance who need blood tests for lead
levels will be tested by private laboratories. The department will
continue to provide the tests for uninsured children.
• Because of fewer staff, more time will be required for the department
to review applications for new community drinking water wells and water
• An online licensing system, now used for child care providers, will
be expanded to all professions licensed by the department. The
streamlined system will also make more information easily available to
"A single system will be more efficient, and DPH will no longer have to
manage multiple databases and their associated maintenance costs,"
my colleagues on the Board of Selectmen asked the wrong question
regarding the cemetery” - a comment from Selectman Gilbert
Weston referendum results: Both
budgets pass, cemetery question fails
Written by Patricia Gay
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 10:01
Weston voters approved the 2011-12 town and school operating budgets,
while a question about a town cemetery was defeated at the referendum
on Thursday, April 14. A total of 885 voters, or 13.5% of
Weston’s electorate, cast their ballots at the Weston Middle School
polling place. The final votes were: 697 voting in favor of the
$11,184,216 town operating budget, with 186 opposed. For the
education budget, 574 voted in favor of the $45,166,337 school
operating budget, with 308 opposed.
The third question asked if the town should refer a cemetery proposal
to the Planning and Zoning Commission, and appropriate up to $30,000
for the required documentation to do so. The vote was 338 voting yes,
while 536 voted no.
Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said she was pleased that both
the town and school operating budgets passed. “These budgets were
carefully vetted by the Board of Finance and the Annual Town Budget
Meeting (ATBM), and I’m glad that those budgets were upheld by a
machine vote,” she said.
Selectman Dan Gilbert said the vote was clear “the town supports both
the Board of Selectmen’s and Board of Education’s budgets.”
Phil Schaefer, chairman of the Weston Board of Education, was also
happy with the budget results. “The board is obviously pleased and
thankful for the strong public support of our 2011-12 operating budget,
a 1.05% increase, which is one of the lowest increases of school
systems in the region,” he said.
As to the defeat of the cemetery
question, Ms. Weinstein said she now considers the proposal to build a
town-owned interdenominational cemetery on the Fromson-Strassler
property a dead issue.
“Regarding the cemetery, the town
has spoken. My heart goes out to those who have fought for it for 20+
years, but I believe we finally have closure on this issue. I’d like to
thank the past and present members of the Cemetery Committee for all of
their hard work on the town’s behalf,” she said.
Longtime cemetery proponent Hal
Mathews was disappointed, noting that the cemetery had the potential to
make money for the town.
“What can one say after 21 years of
a failed mission? The right kind of leadership could have made the
difference in achieving this essential need for a town cemetery, but
those in charge ignored that responsibility, avoiding that basic
reality for those in need,” Mr. Mathews said.
Dr. Gilbert said while it was clear the town didn’t want to spend
$30,000 on a planning and zoning application for a town cemetery, the
question wasn’t worded well. “Unfortunately, my colleagues on the Board
of Selectmen asked the wrong question regarding the cemetery,” he said.
Dr. Gilbert has stated in the past that he favored asking voters a yes
or no question as to whether they wanted a town cemetery, with the
financial question separate.
Voter turnout was generally light throughout the day. Of the 6,458
registered voters in Weston, there was a 13.5% turnout for the
referendum. That number was down from last year, when 1,117 voted at
the referendum, representing 17.67% of the town’s electorate.
Of the 885 who voted this year, 826 were registered Weston voters who
voted in person, while 48 voted by absentee ballot. Also included in
that number were 11 property owners who aren’t registered voters (seven
voting in person and four by absentee ballot). People who own more than
$1,000 in property in Weston, even though they aren’t registered to
vote in town, are allowed to vote on budgetary matters that impact
Ms. Weinstein said she was “incredibly disappointed” by the low voter
turnout. “In the coming year, we need to work on ways to increase voter
participation,” she said.
Mr. Schaefer also expressed concern. “Complacency could eventually lead
to a budget defeat,” he said.
However, Nina Daniel, a member of the taxpayers group Weston For Fiscal
Responsibility (WFFR), and supporter of a referendum vote, said voter
turnout at the polls was significantly higher than the number who
attended the ATBM. She noted that 170 people attended the ATBM,
representing 2.48% of those eligible to vote, while 13.5% voted at the
Last year, 155 people, or 2.45% of eligible voters, attended the ATBM,
while 17.67% voted at referendum.
Dr. Gilbert agreed with Ms. Daniel and said the vote confirmed the need
for a machine ballot. “Given the turnout relative to the turnout at the
ATBM, the machine ballot better represents the whole town’s evaluation
of the budgets,” he said.
Until last year, the operating budgets were voted on only by those who
attended the ATBM meeting. But WFFR successfully led a petition drive
last year calling for a townwide referendum vote. With the promise of
another petition looming this year, the selectmen, on their own
initiative, called for the referendum.
“A referendum is good because people are given the opportunity to vote.
Very few choose to attend and vote at the ATBM. A significantly larger
percentage voted at the referendum,” Ms. Daniel said.
Budget and mill rate
Although the town and school operating budgets were decided at
referendum, portions of the 2011-12 budget were decided at the ATBM.
The ATBM approved a total debt service of $6,748,200, a 5.39% decrease
from the current budget, and a total capital budget of $1,027,303.
The referendum approved $11,184,216 town operating budget represents a
1.86% increase over the current budget, while the approved $45,166,337
school operating budget represents a 1.05% increase of the current
The new budget would be offset by projected revenues of $2,581,480,
making the net budget $61.544 million, a 0.78% increase over the
The mill rate is expected to be 23.92, a 0.25% increase from this
year’s rate of 23.86. At a mill rate of 23.92, a taxpayer with property
assessed at $500,000 would pay $30 more in taxes: $11,960 in July 2011
compared with $11,930 this year.
REFERENDUM QUESTION #3: 40+ VOTERS WHO FAVORED THE SCHOOL BUDGET
ALSO FAVORED THE IDEA OF A CEMETERY MOVING AHEAD
Next local election for the Board of
Selectmen decided by...40 votes? What is the future for "land
banked property" such as Fromson Strassler?
THE MORNING AFTER: Yes,
Question #1 YES - 697 NO - 186
Question #2 YES - 574 NO - 308
Question #3 YES - 348 NO - 536
TOTAL voting 885 (out of all
6000 plus registered voters plus an unknown number of "Grand List"
ON MARCH 30 AND APRIL 2, THE CEMETERY COMMITTEE CONDUCTED 90 MINUTE
PUBLIC MEETINGS TO PREPARE VOTERS FOR THE REFERENDUM. THE FORUM
WAS THERE AT THE FIRST - MARCH 31, 7:30PM; THE SECOND, ON
SATURDAY MORNING APRIL 2, WAS LESS WELL ATTENDED BUT JUST AS LONG!!!
cemetery plans are on the table
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 10:14
The Cemetery Committee is holding information meetings Wednesday, March
30, and Saturday, April 2, on its proposal to build a
non-denominational town cemetery.
Wednesday’s meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at town hall and will include
a presentation by the architectural firm Blair Hines Design Associates.
A representative from Willowbrook Cemetery Association of Westport is
also expected to be on hand.
The Cemetery Committee alone will hold a second informational meeting
Saturday, April 2, at 10:30 a.m. at town hall.
The committee’s plan calls for a cemetery to be built on approximately
two acres of an 85-acre lot known as the Fromson-Strassler property on
Upper Parish Road in the Weston section of Georgetown.
The cemetery will be developed and managed by an outside group such as
the Willowbrook Cemetery Association, which has helped the committee in
creating the initital plan.
Richard Wolf, chairman of the committee, told the Planning and Zoning
Commission March 7 that many people don’t know the business plan for
the cemetery calls for it to make money and be cash positive by the
year 2014. The town would not need to manage the cemetery in any
capacity, but the town would benefit in the proceeds from the sale of
gravesites, Mr. Wolf said.
There would be a maximum of 800 gravesites in a woodland-type, rural
The information meetings next week are part of an effort to inform the
public about the plan before an April 14 referendum vote regarding an
initial expenditure for the cemetery.
Voters will be asked at that time whether the town should refer the
cemetery proposal to P&Z and spend up to $30,000 for the
documentation needed to do so.
COMMITTEE UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS:
Wednesday evening, March 30,
2011 at 7:30pm in the Town Hall Meeting Room with a presentation from
cemetery design and management consultants. The Town TV
channel 79 will show this program live and then show repeats of the
The Cemetery Committee will give
another presentation on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 10:30am in the Town
Hall Meeting Room.
is a link to some visuals (just a
hint of the really excellent
The business plan will also be
presented (no visuals here).
"Mission Statement" for this
Cemetery Committee click here
CEMETERY COMMITTEE UNOFFICIAL MINUTES
OCTOBER 2009 - CURRENT: http://www.westonct.gov/meetings/29875/338728/296616
Weston Speak Up 2011: Townspeople get their say
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 10:33
The people have spoken.
About 75 people filled the Community Room at the Weston Public Library
last Saturday for the annual Weston Speak Up, sponsored by the League
of Women Voters. Residents had the opportunity to direct questions and
comments to approximately 20 representatives of local boards,
commissions, and committees, as well as two state representatives who
The mood at the open forum was often light and always respectful —
Moderator Laura Smits urged participants at the beginning to “remember
we are among friends and neighbors.” But people also spoke passionately
and seriously about issues that matter most to them.
Topics raised by the 18 people who had an opportunity to make it to the
microphones ranged from speeding on local streets, bicycle safety,
building on town property, road maintenance, and target shooting at the
rifle range, to lengthier discussions on a proposed town cemetery, a
new education initiative (AIM), and the town and school budgets.
“It went very well, and the room was packed,” said First Selectman
Gayle Weinstein, who said turnout for the event, which had been
postponed from its usual time in February due to bad weather, was
better than she had expected. She credited the more “intimate” setting
for putting people at ease.
One of the most discussed and most controversial topics was a proposal
to build a non-denominational cemetery on a two-acre portion of the
85-acre town-owned Fromson-Strassler property in Georgetown.
The Board of Selectmen decided to ask voters at a referendum April 14
to approve up to $30,000 to gather the documentation P&Z will need
for an 8-24 referral. A positive referral form P&Z says the
commission believes it is an appropriate use of the land.
Hal Mathews of Treadwell Lane, a longtime proponent of a cemetery in
town, asked Stephan Grozinger, chairman of P&Z, and First Selectman
Weinstein to answer, “yes or no, do you favor a non-denominational
Mr. Grozinger said he does personally, and after speaking with members
of the cemetery committee, he believes use of a portion of the property
might be consistent with the Town Plan of Conservation and Development,
as long as the committee can show it will not cost the town money in
the long run. He said he does not believe town officials should remain
neutral on the project.
Ms. Weinstein, on the other hand, said she believes as first selectman,
she must do just that. “What is at issue is what the community as a
whole thinks... My role is not to put my spin on it” but instead to
determine what a majority of townspeople want.
Selectman David Muller agreed with Ms. Weinstein. “I understand your
passionate support for this, but a cemetery will be there forever... To
go ahead without the town’s support would be a mistake,” Mr. Muller
said to Mr. Mathews.
Pat Heifetz of Ledgebrook Court asked why a public hearing has never
been posted and held on the cemetery question.
Ms. Weinstein said many public informational meetings have been held —
and were generally poorly attended — over the years.
“A public hearing is different,” Ms. Heifetz said. Unlike an
informational meeting, a hearing is not to get information from public
officials, but for public officials to get information from the people,
Lucy Bowden of Stonehenge Road wanted to know whether asking a question
about the cemetery was appropriate at the budget referendum, and why it
wouldn’t be discussed at the Annual Town Meeting (ATBM) before the
Ms. Weinstein explained the referendum is not an adjourned budget vote,
because the selectmen already voted to remove the budget votes from the
call of the ATBM.
Townspeople will have the chance to learn more about the cemetery
project and to comment on it at meetings set for Wednesday, March 30,
during a special public comment session at the beginning of the March
31 Board of Selectmen meeting, and at another informational meeting
Saturday, April 2.
Explanatory text will also be available at the polls Thursday, April
14, and for those voting absentee beforehand.
The other hot topic at Speak Up was a proposal by the school district
the implement a new initiative, the Weston Academic Innovation and
Measurement (A.I.M.) Project.
Tom Scarice, assistant superintendent of schools, said the program, to
be executed in collaboration with Columbia Teacher’s College, will
focus on preparing Weston students for the global skills needed for
students to succeed in the 21st Century.
The entire program is estimated to cost about $150,000 over the course
of three years, but the schools are partnering with the Weston
Education Foundation and the school PTOs for funding. Only $50,000 is
expected to come from the school operating budget in fiscal year 2012
and another $50,000 in 2013.
Christine Lomuscio of Cannondale Road said she believes the schools are
being unrealistic asking for so much money at a time when people are
hurting financially and when “municipal people are chipping away at
town salaries” in an effort to cut back.
She also questioned “how uneducated are our students now” if the
schools are saying things have to change so drastically.
Phil Schaefer, chairman of the school board, said much of what A.I.M.
addresses is being done, but not consistently. “We’re trying to create
Jeff Sears of Norfield Road said he supports the initiative 100%.
Meagan Couch of Aspetuck Glen said she, too, supports A.I.M., which
gives Weston a chance to “jump ahead,” She also voiced support for
paying Weston educators well. “Please leave teacher salaries alone.
They deserve it,” Ms. Couch said.
Nina Daniel of Goodhill Road said she is both pro-education and
pro-fiscal responsibility. “I don’t necessarily believe more money
produces better educated kids,” Ms. Daniel said.
She also took issue with the understanding that A.I.M. is a change in
the assessment method, not a change in curriculum.
Mr. Scarice said the goal is to find a metric to measure learning
against an international benchmark, resulting in “driving instruction
in the classroom.”
Many other issues were addressed at Speak Up, which is being shown in
its entirety daily on Cablevision public access Channel 79 at 10 p.m.
Some items discussed include:
A Kettle Creek Road resident said there is excessive speeding on his
road. Rick Phillips, chairman of the Police Commission, said studies
have shown speed bumps and stop signs are not effective deterrents; the
best deterrent is a police presence, he said. Police Chief John Troxell
said the town has a speed trailer and a box that will flash a driver’s
speed that may be hooked up. He said he will make sure they are used on
Kettle Creek in conjunction with enforcement.
Building on town property
Barbara Gross of Blue Spruce Drive compared a situation in 2004 — a
fence separating private property and the town-owned Revson baseball
fields — with a current situation where a Martin Road resident built a
wall on town property. First Selectman Weinstein said that was
different because the fence near Revson was built and then allowed to
remain based on recommendations by a former Board of Selectmen.
Target practice at rifle range in town
Ellen Uzenoff of Davis Hill Road asked if the town could “have a
dialogue” about the amount of time the rifle range near her home is
used. Chief Troxell said the range is owned by Aquarion, which manages
the Saugatuck Reservoir. Weston police use the range just twice a year
for two-week training sessions on semi-automatic rifles. In addition,
Aquarion employees train there, as do Westport police (who were asked
to stop using the range on Saturdays). Redding Police are likely going
to start using it, too. Chief Troxell said he will always investigate
any noise complaints.
First Selectman Weinstein explained some of the changes to the budget
voting process this year. The Annual Town Budget Meeting (ATBM) will be
held Wednesday, April 6, at the Weston High School auditorium at 8 p.m.
At that time, people will discuss and vote on the debt service and
capital budgets. Then the Town Meeting will have a chance to amend line
items in the town budget and the total school budget. Those numbers
will be sent to the voters at a referendum Thursday, April 14, for
final decision. A question on appropriating money for cemetery
application to P&Z will also be asked at the referendum. Absentee
voting may be done in person at the town clerk’s office in the days
leading up to the referendum.
Neil Horner of Catbrier Lane asked state Rep. John Shaban (R-135th) and
state Senator Toni Boucher (R-26th) to talk about what is going on in
Hartford. Mr. Shaban said in addressing the state’s $3.5-billion
structural deficit, there are some “hard cuts, hard reductions, and
hard decisions to be made.” Ms. Boucher said she is pleased the new
governor has vowed to not borrow money for operating expenses. However,
she is concerned about the proposed luxury tax and mandatory sick
leave. “I’m not seeing enough spending cuts based on the increases in
taxes,” she said.
Real estate conveyance tax
First Selectman Weinstein asked the state legislators if they support
making the real estate conveyance tax — which translates into more than
$300,000 per year in revenue for Weston — permanent. Mr. Shaban said
yes. “All my towns want it,” he said. Ms. Boucher said she is not in
favor of making it permanent, but she does support extending it.
Jeff Schwab of Old Hyde Road asked about the state of the town’s roads
and road the road maintenance budget. Tom Landry, town administrator,
reported the snow removal costs this year are “substantially over
budget.” The town’s long-term paving program, however, is very good, so
town roads may fare better than state roads when it comes to patching
potholes this spring, he said. “We have other things that will be a
bigger financial hit than that.”
Weston selectmen decide cemetery question — or do they?
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 12:19
In a split 2-1 vote, the Board of Selectmen last week approved the
wording for a third ballot question at the April 14 referendum.
It’s possible, however, based on information that came to light a few
days after the selectmen met, the board may have to reconsider again
the wording of the question.
At their meeting Thursday, March 3, the Board of Selectmen decided the
following. After being asked to approve town and school budgets for
2011-12, voters will be asked: “Shall the town of Weston refer a
proposal to construct a non-denominational municipal cemetery to the
Planning and Zoning Commission and appropriate up to $30,000 for the
However, P&Z met with the Cemetery Committee on Monday, March 7,
and commissioners learned one of the things the selectmen thought they
needed to pay for — an A-2 survey — may already exist. (See related
“If new information comes to the board, I’m happy to revise the
question,” First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said on Tuesday.
The Weston Cemetery Committee wants to put forth a proposal to build a
town cemetery on a two-acre section of the approximatly 85-acre
Fromson-Strassler property in Georgetown. Ms. Weinstein said the town
must first ask for an 8-24 referral from the P&Z Commission; a
positive 8-24 would mean P&Z believes the project to be an
appropriate use of town land.
Ms. Weinstein said she was basing the request for up to $30,000 on a
letter she received from and a conversation she had with Stephan
Grozinger, chairman of P&Z.
Mr. Grozinger’s Oct. 19, 2010 letter said P&Z would require:
• An A-2 survey of the entire Fromson-Strassler property, including the
location of any flood zones
• Information regarding proposed density of gravesites, layout of
paths, parking lots, hazardous materials that might be used, and the
dimensions of headstones and other structures
• An engineering study of the soil for the entire Fromson-Strassler
• Information on access to the proposed cemetery
• Information on possible impact on run-off and water quality in the
At their meeting Thursday, March 3, the selectmen discussed at great
length how to word the question on the ballot. They all agreed the
budget referendum was a good time to ask voters for input on the
cemetery before spending large amounts of money.
Ms. Weinstein and Selectman David Muller focused on asking about
approving money necessary for the initial 8-24 referral. Selectman Dan
Gilbert said he would prefer to ask voters if they believe Weston
should have a town cemetery and if they are willing to appropriate the
money to build it.
Mr. Muller said Dr. Gilbert’s question was a good one, but it would be
“flipping the approval by asking people to opine about a specific
project before we have the approval to do it,” he said.
Dr. Gilbert questioned where the $30,000 figure came from.
Ms. Weinstein said it was based on a conversation she had with Mr.
Grozinger about the estimated cost of the information required for the
Mr. Muller and Ms. Weinstein voted in favor of the question as
approved; Dr. Gilbert voted against.
Ms. Weinstein said this week she does not believe the survey of the
Fromson-Strassler property that was found has all the information
P&Z requires for the 8-24 referral.
“We know we need an A-2 survey, but the A-2 was just a small piece of
what we were told we need,” she said.
The Cemetery Committee plans to have more information on the project
available at Speak Up on Saturday, March 12, and it plans to hold an
informational meeting Wednesday, March 30.
Weston cemetery application: P&Z costs
may be less
Written by Patricia Gay
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 12:21
A recently discovered survey may lower the cost of getting an 8-24
planning and zoning approval for a proposed town cemetery.
At a meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday night,
land use director Tracy Kulikowski said a survey of the property where
the cemetery would be located was recently discovered at town hall.
“If there is an A-2 survey, it would cut the costs down,” said P&Z
Chairman Stephan Grozinger.
The survey’s discovery was good news for those who would like to see
Weston have a town cemetery. One of the sticking points for moving
forward was the cost involved in filing an application with P&Z.
The Board of Selectmen voted last Thursday to put a question on the
ballot at the April 14 budget vote that asks: “Shall the town of Weston
refer a proposal to construct a non-denominational municipal cemetery
to the Planning and Zoning Commission and appropriate up to $30,000 for
the required documentation?”
Mr. Grozinger was concerned about the $30,000 figure in the ballot
question, which has been attributed to him. “I disown it,” he said.
He said First Selectman Gayle Weinstein asked him in January if he
could tell her how much it would cost to get all the things that
P&Z required for the 8-24 cemetery application, including a survey
and soil studies.
“I had an extremely informal, off the cuff discussion with the first
selectman and said it could cost between $20,000 and $25,000. I had no
idea it would be the basis of the question. For a referendum I would
think you would want to get actual prices from vendors,” he said.
Members of the Cemetery Committee who were at the meeting to discuss
the cemetery plan said they were discouraged by the current wording of
“It seems to me it is worded so it will be voted down. That’s my
personal opinion,” said Richard Wolf, chairman of the Cemetery
P&Z Commissioner Jane Connolly said a figure like $30,000 would
likely sound high to many voters in this economy, and especially to
those not familiar with the cemetery plan.
Mr. Wolf said many people don’t know the business plan for the cemetery
calls for it to make money and be cash positive by the year 2014.
The plan calls for the cemetery to be built on approximately two acres
of an 85-acre lot known as the Fromson-Strassler property on Upper
Parish Road on the Wilton line. The lot is owned by the town of Weston.
Mr. Wolf said the cemetery would be developed and staffed by the
Willowbrook Cemetery Association of Westport. The town would not need
to manage the cemetery in any capacity, but the town would benefit in
the proceeds from the sale of gravesites.
There would be a maximum of 800 gravesites in a woodland-type, rural
setting, he said.
Mr. Wolf said if the cemetery question is defeated at the referendum,
most likely the Cemetery Committee would be disbanded and that would be
end of the plan.
Ms. Connolly said if Mr. Wolf thought the question was skewed, perhaps
the committee should take the plan “off the table” and hold it for
Mr. Wolf said the committee is going to do its best to get the word out
to the public about the cemetery plan at Speak Up this Saturday at the
library at 10:30 a.m., and at a public meeting on Wednesday, March 30 ,
at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Room at Town Hall.
“It’s a well-organized and well-conceived plan. I hope it becomes a
reality,” Mr. Grozinger said.
Selectmen agenda with
Cemetery Committee item
THURSDAY JANUARY 20, 2011, 11:30AM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
1. Request for property tax refunds Total
Discussion/decision regarding approval of Blair
Hines Design’s proposal to prepare drawings and illustrations to
support the proposed development of a Town cemetery/done with one
Selectmen agenda with Cemetery Committee
THURSDAY JANUARY 6, 2011, 7:30PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
1. Pledge of Allegiance/done
2. Acceptance of gifts/thanks for small gifts
3. Discussion/decision regarding the appointment of Nancy Hammerslough
to fill the vacancy (Sandy O’Brien) on the Commission on Aging for a
term to expire December 31, 2012/done
4. Discussion/decision regarding the reappointment of Helen deKeizer to
the Commission on Aging for a term to expire December 31, 2012/done
5. Discussion/decision regarding the appointment of Nina Daniels to
fill the vacancy (Ernie Albin) on the Commission for the Aging for a
term to expire December 31, 2012/done.
6. Discussion/decision regarding the reappointment of Roland Poirier to
the Historic District Commission for a term to expire December 31,
7. Discussion/decision regarding a
request from the Cemetery Committee
for $1,600.00 for the preparation of preliminary development plans,
sketches and photo boards/done.
8. Request for property tax refunds - Total $3,900.51/done
9. Open Items
10. Any other business to come properly before the meeting/none.
Valley Forge Bridge- Tom Landry - third week in February it will
be open, not counting any delays for snow.
Grants- Gayle Weinstein Ticker File, Discuss as updated/nothing
Reimbursement from State for school projects- Tom Landry -
11. Discussion/approval of the joint BoS, BoF and BoE’s meeting minutes
of November 1, 2010, the Board of Selectmen’s meeting of November 18,
2010, December 2, 2010 and Executive Session minutes of November 18,
12. Executive Session-Department Public Works negotiations update
Weston town cemetery proposal faces
Written by Patricia Gay
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 11:26
The Planning and Zoning Commission has devised a list of requirements
should the town decide to move forward with a proposal to put a
cemetery on town property.
While no decision has yet been made to move forward with the proposal,
First Selectman Gayle Weinstein asked P&Z last week what
information it would require should the town ask for an 8-24 review of
the Fromson-Strassler property.
The Fromson-Strassler property is an 85-acre tract located in
Georgetown off Upper Parish Road, and is owned by the town of Weston.
The Board of Selectmen is looking into the feasibility of putting a
cemetery on a two-acre portion of the property.
State statute 8-24 requires municipalities to submit town building
projects to the Planning and Zoning Commission for review to make sure
the project is a suitable use of the property.
A few of the more recent projects subjected to an 8-24 review by
P&Z include the Valley Forge Bridge replacement, and construction
of the Booster Barn and Weston Food Pantry.
In a letter to Ms. Weinstein dated Oct. 19, P&Z Chairman Stephan
Grozinger said because the project would be situated on undeveloped
land at the end of a residential street, a special permit might be
necessary in order to allow a non-residential use in a residential
zone. He said the commission would be very sensitive to the
placement of the cemetery so as not to substantively diminish the value
of the Fromson-Strassler parcel.
The commission will require an A-2 survey of the entire property that
meets all of the standards the commission imposes on homeowners. For
example, the survey must indicate the location of any flood zones.
Another requirement is a full report of the plans for the cemetery
including density of gravesites; layout of paths, parking lots, and
driveways; whether remains treated with hazardous materials will be
permitted; and the dimensions of the headstones, mausoleums and
An engineering study of the soils in the area is required to ensure the
cemetery does not unduly impinge on other developable areas and
diminish their value.
The commission also wants to know how the cemetery will be accessed and
whether that access is currently public or private.
The final requirement is that the selectmen must demonstrate that the
project will not change the rate or direction of runoff and will not
threaten water quality.
Mr. Grozinger also recommended that the selectmen hold an informal
public meeting to gauge the public’s support for the cemetery before
submitting a formal application to P&Z.
In a recent townwide survey conducted by the town Cemetery Committee,
138 families expressed interest in purchasing grave sites if the town
were to develop a cemetery.
While preparing the 2010 Plan of Conservation and Development, P&Z
also conducted a survey and asked residents if they favored dedicating
town land for a cemetery or memorial garden. There were 341 respondents
in favor, 274 opposed, and 115 that failed to respond.
“That response, while not overwhelming, indicates interest among
Westonites in having a cemetery available to them within the boundaries
of the town,” Mr. Grozinger said.
He noted that there was also a significant level of opposition which
could indicate a “distaste” for the possibility of a cemetery in the
residential zone or could indicate that some people believe a cemetery
is not a good use of valuable and scarce public land.
“It is our hope your application will provide the commission with an
opportunity to engage the public in a meaningful dialogue and determine
the best way forward,” Mr. Grozinger said.
Townwide cemetery survey: Weston
selectmen split on mailing
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 11:51
In a split 2-1 vote on Aug. 5, the Board of Selectmen approved a
supplemental appropriation of up to $2,500 to cover the cost of a
townwide mailing from the Cemetery Committee. The mailing will consist
of a survey aimed at gauging interest in creating a cemetery in Weston.
Selectman Dan Gilbert voted against approving the appropriation, saying
he would rather see the Cemetery Committee first give a presentation to
townspeople, detailing exactly what the committee is proposing. The
other two selectmen said they want to first determine if there is an
interested audience before spending a lot of money on marketing.
Richard Wolf, a member of the Cemetery Committee, told the selectmen
the survey to be mailed would consist of two simple questions:
• Would you be interested in purchasing a family plot or individual
plots in a cemetery in Weston, and if so, how many?
• Would you be interested in full interment or ash interment grave
The survey is the latest in a long line of steps the current Cemetery
Committee has taken in its attempt to build a non-denominational town
cemetery. Town-owned properties were studied and narrowed down until
the Board of Selectmen told the committee to focus on development of
the Fromson-Strassler property in Georgetown.
Last month, the committee brought forward to the selectmen preliminary
proposals it had received from Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport for
site design and management of a cemetery on a portion of the
The committee said estimates for a preliminary site study — including a
master site plan, landscape design, land surveys, and marketing and
advertising — would cost upward of $66,000.
First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said at that meeting that while she was
impressed with Willowbrook’s proposal, she wanted to gauge the level of
interest among Westonites before investing that kind of money.
The board asked the Cemetery Committee to come up with a survey and
determine how much money would be needed to conduct it.
At the Aug. 5 meeting, Ms. Weinstein expressed surprise that the survey
Mr. Wolf proposed did not have any contact information on it in case
people had questions, nor did it ask for contact information from
survey participants who express an interest in the cemetery.
“This would be the perfect time to gather names, phone numbers, and
e-mail addresses for a database you could use going forward,” Ms.
Selectman Dave Muller also said he “feels strongly” the survey should
let people know that as of now, the Cemetery Committee and the Board of
Selectmen are looking at the Fromson-Strassler property as the most
likely spot for a cemetery.
Selectman Gilbert said he thinks a more comprehensive presentation to
the town should come before a survey.
“A survey is a good idea, but for me, money would be better spent by
presenting information to the town that’s as real as it can be to give
people an opportunity to evaluate something of substance,” he said.
People want to know what the cemetery will look like and what it is
going to cost, Dr. Gilbert added.
“I don’t think it will give you any valuable information,” and the
survey won’t tell town officials who is willing to “write a check” for
cemetery plots, he said.
Selectman Muller reminded Dr. Gilbert that at the last Board of
Selectmen meeting, they had talked about the fact that a presentation
would be helpful, but “no one would do that presentation for free.” In
fact, Mr. Muller said, it would cost many times the amount of a
townwide mailing, and would be money wasted if no one is even
interested in buying into a Weston cemetery.
“We don’t want to spend anything if people aren’t interested,” Mr.
Ms. Weinstein agreed with Mr. Muller, saying that if the survey
indicates there are people in town who are interested, “then we can
take that next step [and do a presentation], but at least you’ll know
you have an audience.”
And, if people return the survey with contact information, that will
show a “certain level of commitment,” and “at least you’ll know who
you’re marketing to,” Ms. Weinstein said.
Ms. Weinstein and Mr. Muller voted to approve up to $2,500 for the
townwide mailing, while Dr. Gilbert voted against.
The mailers were printed this week, and do include a space for people
to include their contact information.
The names of the Cemetery Committee members are listed on the survey,
but only the selectmen’s office phone number is listed as a contact for
anyone who has questions.
The survey asks people to respond if they are “interested in burial
spaces in Weston,” but it does not mention that Fromson-Strassler is
the property currently iunder consideration for the community cemetery.
The town plans to mail the survey after Labor Day, on Sept. 7.
Residents are asked to return responses using the pre-paid postage no
later than Sept. 17.
Conservation Commission purview? Isn't that another
Weston P&Z reviews family cemetery
Written by Patricia Gay
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 11:40
The Weston Planning and Zoning Commission is reviewing two potential
zoning regulations that, if approved, would allow cemeteries on private
Last week, The Forum looked at a draft regulation that would allow the
operation of a public cemetery on private property.
The second part two of this two-part series focuses on a draft
regulation that would allow the burial of family members in the
backyard under a Family Cemetery Special Permit.
Diane Von Furstenberg is not only an influential fashion designer, but
she has also influenced Weston’s Planning and Zoning Commission to
review its regulations regarding home burials.
It’s not Ms. Von Furstenberg personally who has come to P&Z’s
attention, but rather the action of the Zoning Commission of the town
of New Milford, which granted her a permit to create a family cemetery
for up to 20 plots in her yard at her Litchfield County residence.
An article about Ms. Von Furstenberg’s zoning approval appeared in the
April 15 issue of The New York Times, and it caught the eye of several
Weston P&Z members.
“We looked at our own regulations and realized they were silent about
home burials. So before we run into any problems, we believe we should
be proactive and address this issue,” said Stephan Grozinger, P&Z
To that end, P&Z is reviewing a draft zoning regulation titled,
“Family Cemetery Special Permit,” (see text of regulation online at
www.theWestonForum.com) which, if approved, would allow Westonites to
bury family members in their own yards.
“The reason I drafted the regulation is because the commission does not
deal in hypotheticals. We will examine the pros and cons of home
burials. If there is public support, we can pass a regulation that will
allow them. If the public is opposed, we can pass a regulation
prohibiting home burials. But whatever the case, we need to do
something, because as it stands now our regulations are silent about
them,” Mr. Grozinger said.
A recent court case about home burials has also convinced Mr. Grozinger
that the town of Weston needs to take some sort of action.
In Piquet vs. the town of Chester, the plaintiff Elise Piquet filed an
action in Superior Court asking whether she had the right to use her
private land for the burial of her late husband and for herself upon
her death. Her husband was buried in the couple’s backyard, without the
knowledge of the town’s zoning compliance officer, who, upon learning
of it, issued Ms. Piquet a cease and desist order for violating the
town’s zoning regulations.
Although the lower court found in favor of the town in a summary
judgment motion, the case is currently on appeal.
Chester and Weston’s zoning regulations are somewhat different on the
issue of cemeteries and home burials, but the fact that Weston’s
regulations say nothing at all about them could cause potential
liability and litigation, which Mr. Grozinger said he would like to
“There is no specific prohibition in Weston’s regulations against
burying someone in the backyard. The town does not need to incur the
expense of litigation on this issue. Either there needs to be an
outright prohibition or a regulation that stringently monitors home
burials,” Mr. Grozinger said.
In the home burial regulation under P&Z’s review, a cemetery
allowing the interment of “up to four human remains,” would be allowed
on residential properties.
The minimum setback would be 75 feet from the front, side, and back lot
P&Z has the right to request a bond to assure perpetual maintenance
of the cemetery. (It was reported that Ms. Von Furstenberg set up a
trust fund to maintain her cemetery in perpetuity.)
No remains treated with formaldehyde or other hazardous substances may
Grave markers are required to be flush to the ground and above-ground
vaults and mausoleums are prohibited.
The regulation has a sunset clause, and will expire on Dec. 31, 2015
unless renewed by P&Z.
“Although I can’t imagine a lot of people will support the regulation,
it’s only fair that the issue is brought to the public’s attention,”
Mr. Grozinger said.
In discussing the issue informally with people around town, Mr.
Grozinger said many said that while they were not in favor of home
burial for their own families, they would not object if their neighbors
did so under regulated conditions.
A discussion of the draft regulation for family cemeteries, as well as
a discussion on a draft regulation for public cemeteries on private
property, is scheduled for P&Z’s regular meeting on Sept. 7.
A tentative date of Sept. 20 has been set for a public hearing on the
draft regulations, if there is a decision by the commission to take one
or both of them to the next level.
two-acre residential and hereafter district?
Under P&Z review Public cemetery
on private property?
Written by Patricia Gay, Weston FORUM
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 10:44
[One of the few cemeteries in Weston is the one behind Emmanuel
Episcopal Church on Lyons Plain Road. The Planning and Zoning
Commission is considering regulating the operation of a public cemetery
on private property. —Kimberly Donnelly photo]
One of the few cemeteries in Weston is the one behind Emmanuel
Episcopal Church on Lyons Plain Road. The Planning and Zoning
Commission is considering regulating the operation of a public cemetery
on private property. —Kimberly Donnelly photo
The Weston Planning and Zoning Commission is reviewing two potential
zoning regulations that, if approved, would allow cemeteries on private
property. Part one of this two-part series focuses on a draft
regulation that would allow the operation of a public cemetery on
private property. Next week — family burials in the backyard.
For years, the town of Weston has been grappling with the idea of
putting a public cemetery on town property.
In May, the Board of Selectmen moved a step forward in the process by
asking the town’s ad hoc Cemetery Committee to focus its efforts on the
100-acre Fromson-Strassler property in Georgetown to see if part of it
would be suitable for use as a cemetery.
While waiting for the Cemetery Committee’s findings on costs and
feasibility (which it is expected to present at Thursday's Board of
Selectmen meeting), the Planning and Zoning Commission is looking into
another alternative — allowing cemeteries on private property.
“Cemeteries have been a prominent issue in Weston for more than a
decade, and while the committee is exploring the use of putting a
cemetery on public land, P&Z is looking at the use of private
land,” said Stephan Grozinger, P&Z chairman.
To that end, P&Z is reviewing a regulation Mr. Grozinger drafted,
titled “Public Cemetery Special Permit” (click here for text of
regulation), spelling out the limitations and restrictions for
cemeteries on private land.
Mr. Grozinger pointed out that the regulation was drafted to provide a
starting point for discussion on the topic, which is in its preliminary
“The commission has discussed the idea casually, but we plan to do it
more formally in September. If the regulation gets the commission’s
support, the next step would be to hold a public hearing to see if
there is public support for it,” Mr. Grozinger said.
The draft regulation contains numerous limitations for cemeteries on
private land, and includes minimum acreage requirements, setbacks,
parking restrictions, planting and fencing requirements, and maximum
Any lot in Weston could be used for a cemetery and “the internment of
human remains,” provided it complies with the conditions set forth in
The minimum lot size required is one and one-half (1.5) acres, which
Mr. Grozinger said is intended to keep cemeteries small.
The cemetery would need a minimum road frontage of 200 feet, and the
total of land covered by buildings, parking and driveways, may not
exceed 5% of the lot.
There would be a minimum setback of 75 feet for all gravesites and
memorial gardens from the front, side, and back lot lines. “This
requirement is more restrictive than regular setbacks, which are 50
feet from the front and 30 feet from the sides,” Mr. Grozinger said.
There is also a minimum 75-foot setback for parking.
The regulation allows P&Z to require additional areas be set aside
to protect natural features, sightlines or neighboring properties.
A planting plan for the lot would need to be submitted for P&Z
approval, and the commission could require the installation of fences
or walls if it deems them necessary.
Dwellings would be prohibited on the lot, and all cemeteries must
comply with state burial laws and regulations.
Any developer of a site would be required to submit a bond to provide
for the cemetery’s perpetual maintenance.
There would be a maximum of 500 gravesites allowed per acre. Grave
markers would be restricted in size and could not exceed 32 inches in
height, 20 inches in width, and four inches in depth.
P&Z, in its discretion, could restrict the type of grave markers to
ones that are flush to the ground.
Above-ground burial vaults or mausoleums would be prohibited except for
memorial gardens and columbarium wall structures for the internment of
With an eye towards natural internment, no remains treated with
formaldehyde or other hazardous substances would be allowed.
Mr. Grozinger said there would be several benefits to the town in
allowing public cemeteries on private property.
A main benefit is the potential for generating additional tax revenues.
Lots that are presently open space would be taxed as developed lots,
Mr. Grozinger said.
A cemetery lot would not add the expense of additional children for the
schools, and the land would remain “virtually undisturbed” in
perpetuity, Mr. Grozinger said.
“Another thing that makes this alternative attractive,” Mr. Grozinger
said, “is it conserves space without spending town money.” He noted
that the town would most likely have to enter into a ground lease on
the town-owned Fromson-Strassler property and make infrastructure
improvements in order for it to be viable for a cemetery.
Privacy is another important factor to take into account, Mr. Grozinger
said. Under the current zoning regulations, a neighbor may build a
tennis court with a chain link fence 30 feet from someone’s property
line — substantially closer than the 75-foot setback for grave markers.
A discussion of the draft regulation is scheduled for P&Z’s regular
meeting on Sept. 7. A tentative date of Sept. 20 has been set for a
public hearing, if there is a decision by the commission to take the
regulation to the next level.
In September, the commission will also discuss a draft regulation for
family burial in backyards, which is the subject of part two of this
series and will appear in next week’s Forum.
DRAFT REGULATION FOR PUBLIC CEMETERIES, FROM THE FORUM
Public cemetery: Special
permit draft regulation
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 10:51
The Planning and Zoning Commission is reviewing this draft regulation
that would allow cemeteries on private property with a special permit.
341.8 Public Cemetery Special Permit
1. Cemetery Use. The use of any lot as a cemetery for the internment of
human remains shall be permitted subject to the conditions set forth
2. Location: Cemeteries shall be permitted only on a minimum lot area
of one and one half acre (1.5 acre) and only in locations with safe and
convenient vehicular access as determined by the commission. The
commission may reject an application in the event it deems the proposed
location or other circumstances unsuitable on any aesthetic, social, or
3. Coverage: A minimum rectangle shall be contained within the lot of
170 feet by 200 feet. Minimum road frontage shall be 200 feet. The sum
total of land covered with buildings, parking and driveway surfaces
shall not exceed five percent (5%) of the lot.
4. Setbacks and Parking: Minimum setback of all gravesites, memorial
gardens, and ancillary structures shall be 75 feet from the front, side
and back lot lines. Minimum parking setback shall be 75 feet from the
front, side and back lot lines. The commission may set aside additional
areas of the lot to further protect natural features, sightlines, or
neighboring properties. The commission shall determine the location and
dimensions of any parking and driveway areas and may determine the
materials to be used.
5. Additional Requirements:
(a) General Requirements. No application for a cemetery special permit
shall be approved unless such application includes:
i) A plan showing the location of each proposed gravesite on the lot as
fully developed together with proposed walking/access paths, driveways,
parking areas, and ancillary structures. In no event shall any
gravesite be developed which is not shown on the plan approved by the
ii) A plan showing proposed plantings on the lot as fully developed
including species, height and caliper of all trees and shrubs.
iii) The complete contracts and proposed burial policies to govern the
development and operation of the lot (excluding monetary terms)
providing for adequate remedies, exercisable by the commission or its
designee, in the event this regulation, the conditions of the special
permit approval, the contract or the policies are violated. Following
approval, no contract for the provision of burial or management
services to the lot may be amended or assigned without the approval of
the commission. Following approval, no provision of proposed burial
policies governing the development and operation of the lot may be
amended without the approval of the commission.
iv) A report demonstrating that the lot’s topographical and soil
conditions are adequate for the use and density proposed, and that
there shall be no material hazard to the water supply (expressly
including any possible future wells which may be located immediately
adjacent to the boundary lines of the lot) as a result of the proposed
use, all certified to the commission by an engineer/soil scientist
registered in the State of Connecticut.
v) The commission may require that the lot be subject to a covenant
prohibiting any subdivision of such lot.
(b) State Approval and Licensing. Any special permit approval shall
remain subject to approval of the proposal, and the on-going licensure
of the operator, by the appropriate agency or agencies of the State of
(c) Dwellings. Dwelling use on the lot shall be prohibited.
(d) Plantings /Fencing: The commission shall approve a planting plan
for the lot which shall provide for the replacement of planting
material as needed. The commission may require the installation and
maintenance of a fences or walls on the lot as it deems necessary or
desirable in its discretion.
(e) Maintenance: The commission may require the submission of a bond
and/or submission of a fee for each developed grave site, adequate in
the commission’s discretion, to provide for the perpetual maintenance
of the lot, plantings, ancillary structures, walls and fences, and/or
shall approve a plan providing adequate funding for such care. All such
funds shall be held in a manner so as to be secure and bankruptcy
(f) Maximum Internment Density: No more than five hundred (500)
gravesites per acre shall be developed on the lot. The commission may,
in its discretion, (i) require a lesser density, (ii) permit increased
density for internment without a vault or coffin, and (iii) permit
increased density to encourage preservation of specific large trees or
natural formations. Nothing in the foregoing shall prohibit or limit
the stacked internment of two remains within a single gravesite.
(g) Maximum Grave Marker Size: grave markers shall not exceed
thirty-two (32) inches in height, twenty (20) inches in width, and four
(4) inches in depth. The commission may, in its discretion, require
standard design of grave marker, require smaller grave markers (or
grave markers which are flush to the ground) throughout the lot or any
portion thereof, and may limit the materials from which said markers
may be fashioned.
(h) Above-ground Burial Vaults: Above-ground burial vaults or
mausoleums shall not be permitted except as otherwise permitted
pursuant to subsection (k), below.
(i) Natural Internment: No remains may be interred which have been
treated with formaldehyde or other hazardous substance. The commission
may, as part of its approval or at any time following approval, require
certification of compliance with the foregoing.
(j) Unvaulted Internment: No more than twenty-five (25) remains shall
be interned without a vault in any twelve (12) month period. The
commission may, in its discretion, require that all remains be interred
(k) Memorial Garden/Ancillary Structures: Memorial Garden and
columbarium wall structures for the internment of cremated remains and
ancillary structures for the care of the plot may be constructed in
such location as may be determined by the commission.
(l) Additional Restrictions. There shall be no exterior lighting or
public address system of any kind on the lot. No merchandise or service
shall be advertised, displayed or sold on the lot.
(m) Non-native Soil. No soil may be deposited on the lot at any time
unless such soil has been tested and certified to the commission as
being free of any hazardous substance by an engineer/soil scientist
registered in the State of Connecticut.
(n) Maximum Cemetery Development. No more than five (5) non-contiguous
lots may be issued a special permit under this Section.
(o) Exemption. The provisions of Sections 332.1 and 332.7 shall not
apply to this Section.
Old Montville burying ground among
forsaken cemeteries; Law allows towns to take control, but
provides no funding
New London DAY
By STEPHANIE REITZ Associated Press Writer
Article published Jul 5, 2010
Montville - Almost 125 years ago, 15-month-old Emma Wheeler was laid to
rest within sight of her family's church near a stone wall in a New
The church is now long gone, and the cemetery is abandoned. Over time,
the toddler's grave and the rest of the Montville burial grounds became
obscured by shoulder-high branches, brambles and fern fronds.
It's a scene mirrored at an untold number of abandoned cemeteries
nationwide, leaving state and local governments under pressure from
residents to clean up the burial grounds out of respect for the dead -
without imposing more costs on the living.
Last year, Connecticut joined a number of states that have enacted laws
that let towns acquire abandoned cemeteries if they cannot find the
legal owners or heirs and if no burials have taken place for
But the new law only allows for the acquisitions and cleanups. It
doesn't require towns to do so or allocate any money to pay for the
Likewise, officials in many other states say it's proven nearly
impossible to pinpoint exactly how many abandoned burial grounds exist,
much less find the legal owners or shoulder the cost of cleaning them
up. Part of the reason: Cemeteries weren't on tax rolls, so there was
little impetus for governments to track their ownership.
Many abandoned cemeteries are the remnants of family farmstead burial
grounds. Some were burial grounds for slaves and their descendants, who
were segregated from whites even in death. Others are former
churchyards abandoned when the churches disbanded or the last sexton
died. Some were in frontier territories that were left behind as
pioneers moved on.
In Florida, a legislative task force said some counties have more than
100 abandoned cemeteries each, and that thousands of other lost burial
grounds probably remain undiscovered.
Researchers a few decades ago estimated that North Carolina had at
least 10,000 abandoned cemeteries - a figure that some researchers now
think is too low, given the longtime Southern tradition of being buried
on the family homestead.
"Especially with the new mobility in the South after World War II,
people moved away and there often would be nobody left to take care of
the family graves," said John Clauser, a former archaeologist for the
state of North Carolina. "The holly takes over, the yucca starts
running wild. Within a few decades, there'd be just about no sign to
the casual observer that the graves were there."
Connecticut's law, which went into effect in the fall, lets
municipalities take over abandoned cemeteries if no burials have taken
place and no plots have been sold in at least 40 years. The cemetery
also must have been left without maintenance for at least 10 years, and
either the owner can't be found or doesn't object to giving up the site.
Michele Pedro, who has explored the remnants of the Montville burial
ground in search of her husband's ancestors, pressed town officials to
restore it, resulting in a volunteer cleanup event.
But that's just a temporary fix.
Montville officials currently have no plans - or the money - to acquire
the cemetery, despite having permission to do so through the new law.
The land hasn't been on the tax rolls for centuries because of its
status as a burial ground even though its owner, the Chesterfield
Baptist Church, disbanded in the late 1800s.
Its graves date to the late 1700s and include veterans of wars dating
to the Revolution.
"I find it absolutely horrifying that anybody would disrespect the dead
by letting this get so out of hand," Pedro, of Waterford, said on a
recent afternoon as she pushed through branches and brush before the
"Even if you don't care about the dead or about history, it's only
common decency to care at least enough about the veterans in a place
like this to give them some dignity," she said.
Since many such cemeteries aren't on the tax rolls, chasing down
today's legal owners can be a challenge.
That's the case in Lowell, Mass., where volunteers are tending a
half-acre cemetery on land whose most recent owners of record have been
dead for more than a century.
With no taxes to collect, no one has aggressively tried to track down
the landowners' descendants. They probably number in the hundreds and
likely have no idea they have a stake in an abandoned cemetery.
In Easton, Conn., the town has taken over three abandoned cemeteries
since the fall and paid for the cleanups with grants, donations and an
"The places were going to rack and ruin and becoming a bit of an
eyesore," said Town Clerk Derek Buckley, also the town's sexton. "We
all felt an obligation to these people because many of them were the
founding members of our town."
the Big Death
Environmentalists take their
zealotry to new lows.
C. W. Cooke, National Review
September 6, 2011 4:00 A.M.
North Korea recently, the journalist Christopher Hitchens reflected
darkly that, bad as things are in the Communist country, “at least you
can die.” Well, it seems that Kim Jong Il and his merry band have one
up on the West. For, here in the free world, even death does not
guarantee you escape from the unwanted attentions of the green
movement. A Scottish company, whose staff have clearly spent many a
long, dark night of the soul fretting over the hazards posed by the
greenhouse-gas emissions and energy consumption of funeral-parlor
cremation ovens, has developed a new system that literally liquefies
The system, which dissolves corpses in heated alkaline water and then
smashes the bones up for good measure, has been successfully tested in
Australia, and parent company Resomation Ltd. is trying to get the law
changed in Europe, the United Kingdom, and all 50 U.S. states to expand
the practice. The technique was allegedly “developed in response to the
public’s increasing environmental concerns.” I must confess that the
mercury content of the burning corpse has never been at the top of the
bereaved’s list of concerns at any funeral I have attended, but perhaps
I am underestimating the comfort that knowing your late loved one is in
for three hours of chemical dissolution — and some good mechanical
bone-cracking to boot — can bring to the disconsolate, especially if
the procedure is undertaken in the name of environmental purity. Come
on Gaia, let’s stick one to Big Death!
Florida will be the first U.S. state fully to enjoy widespread
employment of the process, after an Ohio state court deprived Buckeyes
of the honor on the grounds that it violated state law. Still, Ohioans
managed to dispose of 19 bodies in this manner before the injunction
took force. Once dissolved, the remains are so clean that they can be
poured into the municipal water system, and resomation inventor Sandy
Sullivan assures his critics that the liquefied body tissue poses no
environmental risk. Residents of Florida will no doubt take comfort in
that the next time they switch on their taps for a cooling glass of
The green “solutions” do not end there. Other proposals include
freeze-drying the body with liquid nitrogen and then vibrating it until
it shatters into fragments, which are passed through filters that
separate the remains into different out-trays, a form of afterlife
garbage disposal that sounds as if it had come from the more surreal
pages of the Onion. The key “advantage” of the procedure, developed by
Swedish creator Susanne Wiigh-Masak, is that the body can then be
poured into a shallow grave and become soil. In order to test the
efficacy of the process, developers fitted a pig with an artificial
metal hip, before killing it and pushing it through the contraption.
Thus she proved her “organic” credentials.
These, along with the fad of “natural burial” — in which coffins,
embalming fluid, and all the salutary advances of the past thousand
years are rejected in favor of shallow graves and what effectively
amounts to composting — are part of an ongoing and regressive attempt
to impose a narrow conception of “sustainability” on even our most
private moments. Currently, such systems are voluntary, and families
remain free to choose how they dispose of their dead. But if the
history of the green movement is anything to go by, such choice will
not last long, especially when reducing carbon emissions is the
motivating factor. In Agamemnon, the father of tragedy, Aeschylus,
noted that “death is better, a milder fate than tyranny.” If he could
have seen where things were going, he might not have drawn such a clear
A casket made of willow,
a renewable material.
Into the Great Green Beyond
By JOHN COLLINS RUDOLF
30, 2010, 8:31 am
At the end of an eco-conscious life, there is a final choice a person
can make to limit his or her impact on the planet: a green funeral.
“Consumers might live green, but they don’t think about dying green,”
said Darren Crouch, president of Passages International, with offices
in Albuquerque, N.M., and Berkshire, England, which supplies funeral
homes with environmentally friendly caskets and urns. “They don’t know
that they can green their funeral.”
Of the more than 2.4 million deaths per year in the United States,
roughly 70 percent of the newly departed are interred in traditional
caskets — that is, wood, steel or even copper caskets, many of which
are then encased in slabs of reinforced concrete to prevent the weight
of the earth from causing them to collapse. For those who go the casket
route, embalming with toxic chemicals like formaldehyde remains common.
As a result, the environmental footprint of the dead is a heavy one.
Every year, cemeteries across the nation bury approximately 30 million
board feet of hardwood, 104,000 tons of steel, 2,700 tons of copper and
bronze and 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, according to
statistics gathered by environmental groups and advocates for green
For those inclined toward a green funeral for themselves or a loved
one, there are several options. One is cremation and burial in a
biodegradable urn. Caskets made from renewable materials are also
becoming popular; when the actress Lynn Redgrave passed away recently,
for instance, she was buried not in a traditional hardwood casket, but
in one made from bamboo.
And in England, there is a growing trend toward so-called woodland
burials, in which bodies are buried not in regimented plots but in
fields and forests, allowing the remains to quickly return to nature.
Green caskets and eco-friendly burial options remain somewhat rare in
the United States, so planning ahead is a good move, proponents say.
One useful resource is the nonprofit Green Burial Council.
“There are greener alternatives within the funeral industry,” Mr.
Crouch said. “But when someone dies, you don’t have much time to
research your options.”
The Planning & Zoning Commission is preparing to hold public
hearings in the Fall on two new special permit zones: one for
town cemetery special permit and one for "family" burials on private
SELECTMEN'S FOLLOW-UP COMMENTS MAY 19,
Above is a grave from a collection of headstones displayed on an
internet site. Rural looking!
At their Special Meeting May 19th, the Board of Selectmen reviewed
their 'walk' of three possible cemetery sites, taken on May 1st, and
discussed with Cemetery Committee members present their
reactions. The Cemetery Committe was invited back in later
June to provide what information they might be able to get together on
making an estimate of costs for a Town Cemetery at F-S.
We started our "walk" by parking at
Town Hall (upper left)...
JOINT BOARD OF SELECTMEN AND CEMETERY
COMMITTEE "WALK" OF 3 POTENTIAL CEMETERY PROPERTIES SATURDAY MAY 1,
2010, 11am to 12:30pm
Special Joint Meeting of Cemetery
Committee and Selectmen - photos of first stop - Jarvis Military
A quorum of both Cemetery Committee and Board of
Selectmen were present at this "site walk" (4 of 5 from Cemetery
Committee, full Board of Selectmen) and First Selectperson Weinstein
opened the meeting on time and then passed the leadership of the "walk"
to Chair. Richard Wolf of the Cemetery Committee. Quite a few
citizens, several of whom were neighbors (but not all) were at the
first stop - Jarvis. The second stop was to be the Moore property
and the last, Fromson-Strassler. "About Town" only attended the
first site of three.
The Jarvis Military Academy
Possible Weston cemetery sites: Jarvis
property seems most suitable
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Thursday, 04 March 2010 00:00
Based on specific considerations weighed by the town’s Cemetery
Committee, it appears the Jarvis property on the corner of Norfield and
Weston roads — the current location of the Parks and Recreation
Department offices — is most suitable for use as a town cemetery.
Last week, the Cemetery Committee offered the Board of Selectmen a
rating of three sites the town might consider using as a cemetery.
These are the Jarvis property (site of the old Jarvis Military Academy)
in Weston Center; the Moore property on Lord’s Highway; and the
Fromson-Strassler property in Georgetown.
In rating the sites, the committee considered things such as
development, maintenance and management costs; visibility to neighbors
and from major roads; accessibility; environmental conditions; future
expansion possibilities; compatibility with surroundings; and potential
opposition by neighbors or regulatory problems.
The Jarvis property scored highest in both unweighted tabulation of
ratings and in a weighted tabulation, which assigns a value based on
importance to each consideration.
Jarvis received a total weighted rating of 2,139 points out of a
possible total of 4,000. Fromson-Strassler received 1,860 points, and
Moore 1,750 points.
The Jarvis property rated highest for considerations such as
accessibility to a major road, topographic suitability, and subsoil
However, it did not rate well when it comes to future expandability (it
is only a two-acre parcel). Jarvis rated 2, compared with 100 for each
of the other two properties.
The only other considerations in which the Jarvis site rated lower than
both the other properties was character of the property as a cemetery
and present adequacy of the site.
The Cemetery Committee said the character of the property as a cemetery
is based on expert opinion that a preferred site has a “rising uphill
approach, or gently level, undulating or rolling, minimal forest cover,
[and] ‘marginal agriculture.’”
In addition, the committee members believe a site should “complement
Weston’s rural character and/or blend with exisiting development.”
The character of the Jarvis site was given a weighted rating of 144,
compared with 200 for the Moore property, and a 188 for
As for present adequacy of the site, the committee said a desired site
would provide the town with burial space for 50 years, which means a
site of approximately two acres minimum. Since Jarvis is only two
acres, is was rated a 165, comared with 250 for Moore, and 220 for
Fromson-Strassler, both of which are larger.
The Cemetery Committee is made up of Richard Wolf, chairman, Pamela
Bochinski, Benjamin Hume, Harold Matthews, and Stewart Pearl.
The selectmen decided that sometime after the end of this month — after
Selectman Dan Gilbert returns from an extended trip — the selectmen
will walk each of the properties with Cemetery Committee members.
First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said after that, the board will seek
“We may each have personal preferences, but we all have a
responsibillity to the community going forward,” Ms. Weinstein said.
FROM WHIDBEY ISLAND TO WESTON?
Tuesday, 2/2/2010 1:29 pm
Langley eyes fees for green burials
By ROY JACOBSON, South Whidbey Record Reporter
Jan 29 2010, 4:17 PM · UPDATED
The first reading of a proposed new fee schedule to include green
burials at the city cemetery will occupy the Langley City Council at
its meeting next week.
The council meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, at city hall on Second
The city’s Cemetery Board came up with a suggested price for the new
green-burial plots at Langley Woodman Cemetery.
The cemetery has set aside 48 plots for green burials, which are done
without cement grave liners or embalming, and involve biodegradable
caskets or sheaths.
There are only 11 other certified green-burial sites in the United
States, two of them in Washington state, at Burlington and in Eastern
Washington, said Debbie Mahler, city finance director.
Each green-burial site at Woodman Cemetery is 6 feet by 10 feet,
compared to the standard 4 feet by 8 feet, and requires more space so
maintenance vehicles don’t drive over the graves, risking the chance of
The Cemetery Board recommends charging $1,200 per plot, with an
additional maintenance fee of $400.
Because there have been several requests from off-island residents for
the green-burial plots, a six-month pre-sale price for local residents
of $1,000 plus $400 maintenance also is recommended, Mahler said.
Weston FORUM article and editorial
on "open public meeting" televised on Channel 79 live! #4 Moore
COMMITTEE: DECEMBER 2, 2009 AT 7:30PM IN THE TOWN
HALL MEETING ROOM - "OPEN PUBLIC MEETING" NOTES...
Present: Richard Wolf, Pam Bochinski, Hal Mathews, Stewart Pearl,
Benjamin Hume; Margaret Wirtenberg; John Conte, Town
Engineer; invited members of the public including the Board of
Selectmen (Gayle Weinstein, First Selectman, Dan Gilbert and David
Muller), two members of the Board of Finance (Mike O’Brien and Bob
Atkinson), one member of the Planning and Zoning Commission (Jane
Connelly), two members of the Commission on Aging (Lois Miller, Terry
Hulley) and another dozen citizens. Former First Selectman Woody
Bliss was present.
The meeting was called to order by Chair. Richard Wolf at
@7:35pm. Wolf read the charge to this
The Committee introduced themselves to the public and explained their
interest in the subject and why they volunteered to serve.
Pam Bochinski gave a thorough description of what had transpired over
the 18 years since the first Cemetery Committee began work. That
first Committee recommended that the Town take over Coley Cemetery.
The second Committee recommended using parts of Bisceglie
Park. The third Committee did a business plan for a
non-denominational cemetery on the newly acquired Fromson-Strassler
parcel. Committee #4, using a professional consultant, did a
review of parcels, creating a matrix evaluating their possibilities and
recommended properties that were either not available or
Richard Wolf then went on to explain how the new Committee had a
slightly different charge (for 50 years worth of burials instead of 100
years), so that more Town-owned properties were in play. He
described the map. There were 10 or so potential sites located
Town Engineer Conte then went through his engineering assessment of the
top 4 sites, discussing soils, depth to bedrock and other physical
conditions; access was discussed.
The public was recognized at all times if they had questions or
comments. Discussion ensued regarding the next steps, with the
new Board of Selectmen making some suggestions about methodology,
timing and the parcels themselves. Chair. Wolf thanked everyone
Architect pushes for changes at city cemetery
By Mary E. O’Leary, Register Topics
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
NEW HAVEN — Architect Robert Stern made the case Tuesday for a “small
intervention” in the wall on one side of the Grove Street Cemetery, but
the owners of burial plots there dismissed the proposal as an intrusion
into sacred space.
“The walk along Prospect Street is very unfriendly from the outside. It
would be nice to catch a glimpse inside,” Stern said as he explained a
plan to insert a cast-iron fence in three places along the 8-foot-tall
He would also add another row of tall trees along the street, flowering
bushes and ground cover, as well as more appropriate lighting adjacent
to this section of the cemetery, which is a National Historic Landmark.
“I think, from the public’s perception, it is a bleak environment, but
it can change into something much softer and more friendly,” said Stern.
The cemetery already has a cast-iron fence along the Grove Street
perimeter; the sandstone wall on the three other sides was not added
until 1841, after the original wooden fence deteriorated.
The suggestion to replace part of the sandstone with three four-foot
sections of iron fencing was made by Charles Ellis, a proprietor of the
cemetery and one of 11 members of its standing committee, who will make
the final decision on any changes.
G. Harold Welch Jr., president of the standing committee, told the
large audience of preservationists and proprietors that they won’t rush
to make a decision. Anyone who owns a burial plot is a proprietor.
Ellis said his experience with cemeteries growing up in Massachusetts
and going to school in Cambridge was of quiet, open spaces, and he
considered opening up a portion of the wall along the Grove Street
Cemetery as “a marvelous opportunity to improve the overall experience”
of the city landmark.
Ellis, who is married to Yale Vice President Linda Lorimer, said the
plan is not endorsed by the university, which is building two new
residential colleges a block from the cemetery, but more of his idea,
“to do something that might be useful to this community.”
Several widows who spoke up at the meeting agreed with the improved
landscaping and lighting, but not touching the wall.
One woman said she drove her dying husband to the cemetery to show him
where he would be buried. “He felt happy and content, if it is possible
for anyone to feel happy that they had found the right place for them
to be buried,” she said.
The thought that the cemetery would be opened up to passers-by “feels
like such a violation of the committment I made to him. ... I find it
bizarre to change something that is such a wonderful place,” she said
to clapping from the audience.
Another woman said the Grove Street Cemetery is an example of a closed
burial space, and to change it would violate that concept. “It’s a
cemetery, not an attraction,” she offered.
Stern was not able to test how much noise and emissions would creep
into the cemetery, but said any changes would be small compared to the
amount of traffic already passing by on Grove Street.
Susan Saccio wasn’t buying any of the explanations.
Just having purchased a burial spot for herself and her husband, she
found the proposal “very upsetting. This is a beautiful blessed space,”
where visitors find peace and quiet, she said. “Leave the wall alone.”
“That wall really does imply a separation, whatever it is — it made me
come here today,” to speak up, said Adrienne Lewis, whose husband, Gene
Lewis, an architect, is buried there. “He just loved it” and would be
happy she opposed any change, she said.
Stern, also the dean of the Yale Architecture School, said there have
been changes over the years at the cemetery, as with most built
“In my view, this is not a breaking of the sacred trust between 1840
and today. ... I have spent all my life as a preservationist. ... No
building that I know of has been preserved exactly as it was,” while
landscapes are constantly evolving, Stern said.
The Rev. Sandra Olsen of Center Church on the Green said she often
accompanies visitors to the cemetery for memorial services and they are
always comforted by the “mixture of intimacy and privacy they find. I
don’t see the need to change that.”
Anstress Farwell of the New Haven Urban Design League presented Welch
with a petition signed by 450 people opposed to the fence, but in favor
of better landscaping.
Burials Offer an Intimate
By KATIE ZEZIMA
July 21, 2009
PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — When Nathaniel Roe, 92, died at his 18th-century
farmhouse here the morning of June 6, his family did not call a funeral
home to handle the arrangements.
Instead, Mr. Roe’s children, like a growing number of people
nationwide, decided to care for their father in death as they had in
the last months of his life. They washed Mr. Roe’s body, dressed him in
his favorite Harrods tweed jacket and red Brooks Brothers tie and laid
him on a bed so family members could privately say their last goodbyes.
The next day, Mr. Roe was placed in a pine coffin made by his son,
along with a tuft of wool from the sheep he once kept. He was buried on
his farm in a grove off a walking path he traversed each day.
“It just seemed like the natural, loving way to do things,” said
Jennifer Roe-Ward, Mr. Roe’s granddaughter. “It let him have his
Advocates say the number of home funerals, where everything from caring
for the dead to the visiting hours to the building of the coffin is
done at home, has soared in the last five years, putting the funerals
“where home births were 30 years ago,” according to Chuck Lakin, a home
funeral proponent and coffin builder in Waterville, Me.
The cost savings can be substantial, all the more important in an
economic downturn. The average American funeral costs about $6,000 for
the services of a funeral home, in addition to the costs of cremation
or burial. A home funeral can be as inexpensive as the cost of pine for
a coffin (for a backyard burial) or a few hundred dollars for cremation
or several hundred dollars for cemetery costs.
The Roes spent $250.
More people are inquiring about the lower-cost options, said Joshua
Slocum, director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit
watchdog group. “Home funerals aren’t for everybody, but if there’s not
enough money to pay the mortgage, there certainly isn’t enough money to
pay for a funeral,” Mr. Slocum said.
Baby boomers who are handling arrangements for the first time are
particularly looking for a more intimate experience.
“It’s organic and informal, and it’s on our terms,” said Nancy Manahan
of Minneapolis, who helped care for her sister-in-law, Diane Manahan,
after she died of cancer in 2001, and was a co-author of a book,
“Living Consciously, Dying Gracefully,” about the experience. “It’s not
having strangers intruding into the privacy of the family. It’s not
outsourcing the dying process to professionals.”
While only a tiny portion of the nation’s dead are cared for at home,
the number is growing. There are at least 45 organizations or
individuals nationwide that help families with the process, compared
with only two in 2002, Mr. Slocum said. The cost of a death
midwife, as some of the coaches call themselves, varies from about $200
for an initial consultation to $3,000 if the midwife needs to travel.
In Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska and New York,
laws require that a funeral director handle human remains at some point
in the process. In the 44 other states and the District of Columbia,
loved ones can be responsible for the body themselves.
Families are typically required to obtain the death certificate and a
burial transit permit so the body can be moved from a hospital to a
cemetery, or, more typically, a crematory.
But even in states where a funeral director is required, home funerals
are far less expensive.
“I think with our economy being the way that it currently is, and it’s
getting worse, that many people who may not have chosen to do these
types of things may be forced to because of the finances,” said Verlene
McLemore, of Detroit, who held a home funeral for her son, Dean, in
2007. She spent about $1,300 for a funeral director’s services.
Some families, like the Roes, choose burial on private land, with a
town permit. In most states, those rules are an issue of local control.
“Can Grandma be buried in the backyard? Yes, for the most part if the
backyard is rural or semirural,” said Mr. Slocum.
(Some members of Michael Jackson’s family have spoken of making
Neverland Ranch near Santa Barbara the singer’s final resting place,
but officials say no one has submitted an application to the California
Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, which would have to approve the home
Recently, some states, with the backing of the funeral industry, have
considered restricting the practice of home funerals. Oregon
legislators last month passed a bill that would require death midwives
to be licensed, something no state currently does. Many death
midwives are like Jerrigrace Lyons, who was asked to participate in the
home funeral of a close friend, a 54-year-old woman who died
unexpectedly in 1994. Ms. Lyons was initially frightened at the
prospect of handling the body, but she participated anyway.
The experience was life changing, she said, and inspired her to help
others plan home funerals. She opened Final Passages in Sebastopol,
Calif., in 1995 and said she had helped more than 300 families with
funerals. Weekend workshops for those interested in home funerals have
a waiting list. Ms. Lyons educates the bereaved about the
realities of after-death care: placing dry ice underneath the body to
keep it cool, tying the jaw shut so it does not open.
Mr. Lakin, a woodworker, makes coffins specifically for home funerals.
Ranging in price from $480 to $1,200, they double as bookcases,
entertainment centers and coffee tables until they need to be used.
He became interested in home funerals after his father died 30 years
ago and he felt there was a “disconnect” during the funeral process.
Mr. Lakin is now a resource for funeral directors in central Maine and
a local hospice. His coffins are sold to people like Ginny
Landry, 77, who wants a home funeral one day but is content to use her
coffin to showcase the quilts she makes. It once stood in her bedroom,
but her husband, Rudolph, made her move it to a guest room because he
pictured her in the coffin every time he laid eyes on it.
“It’s very comforting to me, knowing I have it there so my children
won’t have to make a decision as to where I’m going to go,” Ms. Landry
During her battle with cancer, Diane Manahan also requested a home
funeral, and the family did not know then how much it would help them
with their grief.
“There’s something about touching, watching, sitting with a body that
lets you know the person is no longer there,” Nancy Manahan said. “We
didn’t even realize how emotionally meaningful those rituals are, doing
it ourselves, until we did it.”
Valley Forge Cemetery:
Aquarion lays out challenges if Weston
by Kimberly Donnelly
Mar 5, 2008
The town would have to jump through several hoops to put a cemetery on
the corner of Valley Forge Road and Newtown Turpike — and there’s no
guarantee after jumping through them that it would ultimately be
approved by the landowners.
That was the conclusion the Board of Selectmen came to after speaking
with representatives from Aquarion Water Company on Feb. 28.
“You have a challenge ahead of you if you wish to consider the site in
question,” said Leendert DeJong, manager of watershed and environmental
management for Aquarion.
First of all, Mr. DeJong said, a state law was established in 1949 that
prohibits cemeteries within a half-mile of a public water supply. The
site in question is 800 feet from the Saugatuck Reservoir.
Selectman Glenn Major clarified that the law does not say the town
can’t locate a cemetery there, but if it wants to, the town would have
to go to Superior Court and prove the cemetery is a public convenience,
a necessity, and it will not be detrimental.
Mr. DeJong agreed, but said there are other hurdles.
In 2002, what was formerly Aquarion land around the Saugatuck River
Watershed was acquired by the state. In 2004, Governor M. Jodi Rell
established the Centennial Watershed State Forest — the site in
question is part of that 15,000-acre tract.
The land is technically owned by Aquarion, but is managed by the
Conservation Land Committee (CLC), made up of the Nature Conservancy,
the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Aquarion.
Mr. DeJong said conservation easements and a natural resources
agreement exist between the three parties.
The agreement says Class I land, such as that being considered for the
cemetery site, is to be “dedicated and preserved in perpetuity in its
natural and open condition for the protection of natural resources,”
Mr. DeJong said. The interpretation of that, he continued, is that the
land is intended to be used as open space and for recreational use only.
In addition, Mr. DeJong said, the state health department has the
ultimate say in what is approved or not on Class I land, so the
cemetery proposal would require health department review and approval.
Steve Stamos, manager of natural resources for Aquarion, is the water
company’s representative on CLC. He told the selectmen the group would
consider a cemetery to be inconsistent with the natural resource
Mr. Major said, “One could make the argument that a cemetery is not
inconsistent with what’s being done here.” He wondered if the Superior
Court, the state DEP, and the Nature Conservancy “sign off on that area
as being a cemetery,” would Aquarion agree.
If Aquarion would simply never agree to having a cemetery on the site
under any circumstances, “that obviously would have a huge bearing on
how we proceed,” Mr. Major said.
Mr. DeJong said they could take the question to CLC at its meeting this
week “and get a direct answer.”
However, Mr. Stamos said, “I can tell you, the answer is going to be
First Selectman Woody Bliss said the board would still like an official
answer from CLC, and Mr. Stamos agreed he would get one.
CEMETERY COMMITTEE REPORTS TO SELECTMEN
DEC. 20, 2007:
attended this Selectmen's meeting, and as we heard it, it was the
opinion of the Chair. of the Cemetery Committee Richard Wolf that only
the Lachat property (see above right) fits the bill as a site for a
Town cemetery, and this view is supported in the study by a
consultant. FORUM report follows:
eyes Lachat for cemetery
by BRIAN GIOIELE, Weston Forum
Jan 2, 2008
A portion of the Lachat property, near the corner of Godfrey Road West
and Newtown Turnpike, has been recommended as a possible site for a new
town cemetery. —Kimberly Donnelly photo
Cemetery experts believe that the Lachat property could be home to more
than just a nature center.
The Cemetery Committee’s report — presented to the Board of Selectmen
Dec. 20 — says a four-acre portion of the Lachat property is the
“physically and aesthetically most suitable location for a proposed
cemetery of the sites reviewed.”
The only problem is the land is jointly owned by the town and the
Nature Conservancy. And Selectmen Glenn Major said Dr. Steve Patton,
director of the conservancy’s Devil’s Den, has said that type of use is
“I don’t think the use of the property is inconsistent with the
agreements (made in the Lachat deal),” said Mr. Major. “But when asked
about this, Steve Patton told me, ‘Fine, use eminent domain.’ Those
were his words.”
The Lachat site was among five locations in town analyzed for character
and cemetery potential by Grever & Ward Inc. Landscape Architects
and Cemetery Planners.
The other sites were:
• Some three acres on the corner of Valley Forge Road
and Newtown Turnpike.
• The library site on Norfield Road.
• The Jarvis property where Jarvis House sits on
• Expansion of the existing Coley Cemetery on Weston
Road, just south of Goodhill Road.
“We decided that only one site of town-owned property could be
recommended at this point in time, and that is a portion of the Lachat
site,” said Cemetery Committee member Richard Wolf.
The committee’s report notes the delicate nature of the site’s
ownership, but a cemetery would not be “incompatible with other uses
“The committee is mindful of the practical and political issues which
the use of a portion of the Lachat property for this purpose may
present,” said the committee’s report. “Nevertheless, the committee
strongly believes that this cemetery site should be included as part of
the land use master plan now being developed for the Lachat property by
the town and the Nature Conservancy.”
When asked the remaining order of preference of sites after the Lachat
property, Mr. Wolf said that no such decision was made.
“It is important that we have an order of preference for the other
options,” Mr. Major said.
“The committee hasn’t done that,” said Pam Bochinski, committee
chairman. “The consultant doesn’t feel that the other sites, other than
the possible exception of the Valley Forge site, are good cemetery
sites at all.”
The selectmen then asked why the Valley Forge site, which was also
found appropriate for a cemetery in the consultant’s report, was not
recommended. The committee said using that site would require
land acquisition, since the property in question is part of the
Centennial Watershed State Forest, jointly managed by Aquarion Water
Co., the state Department of Environmental Protection, and the Nature
Ms. Bochinski said Aquarion officials have stated the company would not
allow such a development, meaning eminent domain would again be the
only option. Mr. Major asked for more information about the
suitability of the Valley Forge Road site as well as estimates on what
the costs would be to use eminent domain to take either the four acres
of Lachat land or the three acres of Valley Forge Road property.
“If we in fact have to spend X amount of money, we might determine that
it would be more cost-effective for us to investigate purchasing
properties that we had not considered purchasing before,” Mr. Major
The consultant found the Lachat site “appears to be a very viable
choice for a town cemetery” that could hold some 2,000 graves plus
substantial facilities for cremated remains.
“The immediate neighborhood is thinly populated, no major commercial or
other public facilities are competing for existing infrastructure, the
demand for public services is practically nil, and safety conflicts are
not apparent,” the report states.
This site would have longevity of 50 years as a cemetery, according to
the consultants. The Valley Forge Road site, located at the
corner of Newtown Turnpike, could yield 2.4 acres of interment space,
or some 2,200 graves. This means the site would last some 55 years, the
“There are no notable restrictive site limitations other than the small
existing cemetery whose limits of occupation are unknown,” the report
states. “An archeological study would likely ensue in respect to the
existing burial ground to establish its limits and avoid compromising
its historical and heritage values.
“Otherwise, there are no neighborhood constraints, businesses or
competitive entities to challenge its usage,” the report states.
Ms. Bochinski said that not only land acquisition but also clearing of
the property make the Valley Forge Road location unsuitable. But
Mr. Major said using the Lachat site could prove to be the “most
complicated regarding deed restrictions.”
However, Mr. Wolf said the committee still felt the Lachat land would
be most suitable for a town cemetery.
“We thought there was a possibility of switching. The town could give
up the rights to an equivalent piece of land to the Nature
Conservancy,” Ms. Bochinski said.
“I specifically asked Steve (Patton). He was very unequivocal: ‘No,’”
responded Mr. Major.
Selectman Gayle Weinstein asked about reutilizing Coley Cemetery, an
idea the committee members shot down immediately.
“Quite frankly, some committee members have said you can recompose the
committee if you decide to look at Coley,” said Mr. Wolf. “We have
taken the position that Lachat is the only property that would satisfy
the needs of a town cemetery, unless the town purchases other land.”
Ms. Bochinski said expanding Coley Cemetery would yield another 200 to
300 new grave sites, while ultimately destroying the historical
character of the old cemetery. She said any new graves would “really be
cramming things in there.”
“So the committee’s position is it is Lachat or nothing?” asked Mr.
“Yes,” responded Mr. Wolf.
News from around
Cemetery Group Links Two More Accounts To Cross
New London DAY
By Jenna Cho
Published on 9/26/2007
Ledyard — In a matter of months, the Gales Ferry Cemetery Association's
new board of directors has gone from having no records of its financial
history to learning about the existence of three separate bank accounts
under its name.
The latest discoveries were of two high-yield Certificate of Deposit
accounts, since closed, that the association's former sexton, Cynthia
L. Cross, had held at The Dime Savings Bank. It was the same bank that
had held a checking account in the association's name that association
officials say Cross used regularly to write checks from and deposit
Association President Susan Billing is hopeful the information she is
gathering will help with an ongoing police investigation on
discrepancies in the cemetery association's finances, which Cross, 53,
appears to have operated single-handedly for years. Cross has not been
charged with any criminal wrongdoing in the cemetery investigation.
Cross is currently serving a prison sentence for embezzling $152,000
from the Town of Ledyard's Water Pollution Control Authority. In that
case, Cross was said to have pocketed cash payments made to the WPCA
while she worked as its executive administrator.
Billing said Cross denied use of any bank account to conduct
association business before she resigned in June. Billing discovered
the CD accounts by requesting bank information on two deposits made to
the association's checking account.
“Bank accounts are like road maps, right to the source of the money,”
The problem, Billing said, was that banks only kept records for a
certain number of years, and some of the history the association seeks
goes back 17 years, when Cross took over as sexton from retired town
treasurer Catherine L. Clark.
The CD accounts were closed on May 20, 2002 and Aug. 7, 2003. The
account amounts — $8,104.22 and $4,996.97 — were deposited back into
the checking account the same days the CD accounts were closed.
Association secretary Mary Emerich said that while Cross publicly
denied managing any bank accounts under the association's name, Cross
once told Emerich specifically that she was using interest generated
from a CD account to maintain the cemetery.
The existence of the CD accounts also raises a question about the
existence of a Board of Directors. Billing said Cross had told her
before resigning that she worked under a board that met annually. The
names Cross provided as board members didn't check out, but Billing
said that bank records of the CD account that was closed in August 2003
showed that a woman named Kimberly E. Smith, identified in the records
as the association's president, signed on that account.
Billing said she has not yet verified Smith's involvement and remained
uncertain as to whether a board truly existed during Cross' time as
sexton. The association reorganized in June and elected a new board.
Billing has requested information on 30 more deposits Cross made to the
association's checking account. She said she hoped the history of those
deposits would yield even more information on Cross' management of the
“I think it's good news, even though unfortunately the money's not
there,” said Billing of the discovery of the CD accounts. “What I'm
hoping for is that one of the other deposits may show a source that
still has funds in it. And I know that's probably wishful thinking, but
it would be nice. If we don't find out, if we don't ask, we'll never
MINUTES OF THE CEMETERY COMMITTEE SINCE THE
OCTOBER 26, 2009 MEETING ARE NOT ONLINE HERE, BUT AVAILABLE IN THE TOWN
CLERK'S OFFICE & AT THE TOWN OF WESTON WEBSITE: http://www.westonct.gov/meetings/29875/338728/296616
Notices/informal, unofficial minutes below
Hal Mathews, Pam Bochinski, Stewart Pearl, Richard Wolf,
NOTE: A "walk" of the Fromson-Strassler Property including the
Town Engineer scheduled for Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 2:45pm, beginning
at the termination of Upper Parish Road.
Please note that we have not posted the notices or minutes online for
some time - they are available in the Town Clerk's Office for public
inspection. Please read the FORUM story about the Cemetery
Committee's Public Hearing here.
Minutes of Oct. 26, 2009
Minutes of October
WALK scheduled for September 26, 2009 at 9am (Saturday) of properties
discussed at Sept. 8th meeting.
8, 2009 at 7:30pm, Commission Roon at Town Hall
- Election of Chair., appointment of Secretary/Richard Wolf,
- Review of Town owned properties/done
- Schedule of future meetings/until selected 10+ properties
are shown on maps with topo lines, "walk" will be deferred;
- Such other business as members may wish to raise.
Agenda, Monday, August 31, 2009 at 7:30pm, Commission Room at
- Election of Chair., appointment of Sec'y/not
done - to be done next time
- Review and discussion of Selectmen's charge
and discussion of strategy to meet same/to review all properties of,
now a smaller figure, 2
acres and more owned by Town, as mapped,
- Schedule of future meetings/during the week in
the evenings, either Tuesday or Wednesday at Town Hall
- Other business/discussion of previous Cemetery
Town" did not continue attending this Ad Hoc Committee because some of
the work was being done in Executive Session (land discussions) to
which we would not be invited to attend (since we are not on the
The fifth meeting of this Committee will take place on Saturday,
January 6, 2007 at 9:30am in the Commission Room at Town Hall.
The posted agenda includes approval of minutes of the previous meeting
and a continuation of the discussion and evaluation of potential
The fourth meeting of the renewed Cemetery Committee (#3 was a
windshield survey of Town owned and some not Town-owned properties
reviewed for possible consideration for a Town of Weston cemetery -
"About Town" did not go on this legally noticed [Dec. 2] "tour.") took
Saturday morning, December 9, 2006.
After reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of sites "visited" on Dec.
Committee concluded that a spread-sheet analysis and whatever visual
aides needed to communicate its work, could be prepared later in
January 2007 for informal review by the Town leadership prior to
further steps such as actually proposing an application [NOTE:
this website's opinion coming up...] for a new zone for
cemeteries, or a new Special Permit category for a Town Cemetery, to
the Planning and Zoning Commission.
In the second meeting of this new group, on Saturday, November 18,
2006, it was decided to move ahead with a quick review of land
available including any made available since the last effort
(windshield survey) as soon as a list of "top ten" sites can be
assembled and located on appropriate maps to scale; after the
"windshield survey" the Committee will meet on Saturday, December 9,
2006 at 10am in the Commission Room at Town Hall.
New ideas regarding the existing memorial and role of a cemetery in
community life were broached.
Minutes of the Cemetery Committee are available at the Town Clerk's
public record...contact Town
Clerk for membership on the immediately previous (2007) Ad
The Town of Weston has
studying the need for a Town Cemetery for perhaps 15 years. An Ad
Hoc Committee has been active in several bursts of activity in that
time. All minutes are available at Town Hall, as this has been
one of the very best Committees ever appointed for posting notices and
keeping up to date minutes on file! Video record of "testimony"
by members at LWV of Weston "Speak Up" events over the years is witness
In 2006, a new effort began, ultimately coming to no conclusion that
could be supported by the Selectmen. References in our Board of
Selectmen's Minutes on-line are as follows:
- Board of Finance asked to approve
request for additional $500 at next meeting (Sept. 13?).
of consultant made - Grever &
Ward proposal in part. The
consultant will make a
report or recommendation to Cemetery Committee, who then will apply to
the Planning and Zoning Commission for zoning approval for a Town
- Board of Finance,
March 15, 2007 Special Meeting, approved "up to $10,000" for a
consultant to assist the Committee in preparing for potential
presentations to Selectmen and then Planning and Zoning;
previously, Board of Selectmen had approved the request.
- Latest: October
- A new effort: July
- October 20, 2005;
- Committee reappointed through end of fiscal year, August 18, 2005;
- July 2, 2003.
- Earliest mention on-line here.