Village of Cassopolis, MI
Cass County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Council of the Village of Cassopolis 7-11-1994 by Ord. No. 184 (Ch. 10, Art. II, of the 2003 Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 144-1 Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
BURIAL SPACE
A plot, or portion thereof, in a cemetery designed and intended for the interment of a human body, but not used for such purpose.
CEMETERY
One or a combination of more than one of the following:
A. 
A burial ground for earth interments.
B. 
A mausoleum for crypt entombment.
C. 
A crematory for the cremation for human remains.
CEMETERY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The three individuals appointed by the Village Council to oversee the proper operation of the cemetery. They are invested by law with the duty of managing and controlling the cemetery.
CEMETERY MERCHANDISE
All merchandise sold to the public by a cemetery, including vaults, concrete boxes, monuments, memorials and foundations.
CEMETERY OFFICE
The main office of the cemetery located at 121 North Disbrow Street.
CEMETERY SERVICES
All services offered to the public, including grave openings and closings.
CERTIFICATE OF OWNERSHIP
The original conveyance given by the cemetery to the original purchaser.
CREMATION
The incineration of the body of a deceased person.
INTERMENT
The disposition of human remains by earth interment, entombment or inurement.
LOT
Two or more numbered plots.
LOT MARKER
Any means used by the cemetery to locate corners of the lot or plot.
MANAGEMENT
The Prospect Hill Cemetery sexton, or representative thereof, or the Village Manager.
MARKER
A memorial flush with the ground.
MAUSOLEUM
A structure used, or intended to be used, for the entombment in a crypt in the structure of the remains of deceased persons.
MEMORIAL
A monument, marker, tablet, headstone, private mausoleum or tomb for family or individual use, tombstone, lot enclosure, urn and crypt and niche place.
MONUMENT
A tombstone or memorial of granite or marble which shall extend above the surface of the ground.
NONRESIDENT
A person whose primary mailing address is not within the corporate limits of the Village.
OWNER
Any person owning or possessing the privileges, license or right of interment in any burial space.
PLOT
A space of sufficient size to accommodate one adult interment approximately three feet six inches by 10 feet.
RESIDENT
A person whose primary mailing address is within the corporate limits of the Village.
SEXTON
The Village Department of Public Works Superintendent.

§ 144-2 Scope.

The provisions of this chapter apply to Prospect Hill Cemetery.

§ 144-3 Sale of plots.

Cemetery plots may be sold both to residents and nonresidents by the Cemetery Sexton or his representative. The rate to be charged for a cemetery plot shall be determined by the Cemetery Board of Trustees and approved by the Village Council from time to time. Before any burial can be made in a plot or lot, complete payment for the plot must be made to the cemetery. Descriptions of plots will be in accordance with the cemetery plats which are kept on file at the cemetery office.

§ 144-4 Form for sale of plots.

All sales of plots shall be made on a form jointly approved by the Cemetery Board of Trustees and the Village Council, which grants a right to burial only and does not convey any other title to the plot or burial space sold. Such form shall be executed by the Village Clerk, the Cemetery Sexton or a representative thereof. No sale of plots are allowed to a funeral home or representatives thereof unless for the burial of their personal family. The instrument of conveyance of this chapter and any amendments thereto constitute the sole agreement between the cemetery and the plot owner. A statement by any employee or agent, unless confirmed in writing by the management, shall in no way bind the cemetery.

§ 144-5 Records.

It shall be the responsibility of the Cemetery Sexton, or a representative appointed by him, to record, upon the notice of a burial needing to take place, the following information in a book or other form which is readily available to, and kept by, the management:
A. 
Name of the deceased;
B. 
Place of nativity;
C. 
Residence and age of deceased;
D. 
Cause of death;
E. 
In the case of a minor, the name of his parents.

§ 144-6 Use restrictions of plots.

No plot or lot shall be used for any purpose other than for the burial of the human dead. The right to enlarge, reduce, replat or change the boundaries or grading of the cemetery, or a section, from time to time, including the right to modify or change the locations of or remove or remap roads, drives or walks shall be reserved by the cemetery board, but is not a right of plot owners. The right to lay, maintain and operate, or alter or change pipe lines or gutters for sprinkling systems, drainage or any other purpose, is also expressly reserved by the cemetery board. The cemetery board also reserves to itself and to those lawfully entitled thereto a perpetual right of ingress and egress over plots for the purpose of passing to or from other plots.

§ 144-7 Transfer of ownership.

A. 
Burial rights may only be transferred to those persons eligible to be original purchasers of cemetery lots or burial spaces within the Village and may be affected only by endorsement of an assignment of such burial permit upon the original burial permit form issued by the Village Clerk, Cemetery Sexton, or his representative, and entered upon the official records of Prospect Hill Cemetery. Upon such assignment, approval and record, the person responsible for allowing the change shall issue a new burial permit to the assignee and shall cancel and terminate upon such records, the original assigned permit. This subsection shall be used prospectively only.
B. 
The Village may repurchase any unused cemetery plot or burial space from the owner for the original price paid the Village upon written request of the owner or his legal heirs or representatives.

§ 144-8 Forfeiture of vacant plots.

Cemetery plots or lots sold after the effective date of the ordinance from which this chapter is derived, and remaining vacant 70 years from the date of their sale, shall automatically revert to the Village upon the occurrence of the following events:
A. 
Notice shall be sent by the Village Clerk by registered mail to the last known address of the last owner of record informing him of the expiration of the seventy-year period and that all rights with respect to such plots or lots will be forfeited if he does not affirmatively indicate in writing to the Village Clerk, within 60 days from the date of mailing of notice, his desire to retain such burial rights.
B. 
If no written response to such notice indicating a desire to retain the cemetery plots or lots in question is received by the Village Clerk from the last owner of record of such plots or lots, or his heirs or legal representative, within 60 days from the date of mailing of such notice.
C. 
Under this chapter, the board of cemetery trustees shall reserve the right to cancel the conveyance of burial rights to any party or representative thereof involved in the conveyance of burial rights if the Cemetery Board of Trustees determines that the rules and regulations of the cemetery spelled out in this chapter are not followed.

§ 144-9 Plot size and purchase price.

A. 
Each adult plot shall be three feet six inches by 10 feet. Plot costs shall be as established by resolution.
B. 
Each infant or stillborn plot shall be 30 inches by seven feet.
C. 
Any transfer of one or more plots from an original purchaser to a qualified assignee shall cost the amount established by resolution.
D. 
The charges in this section shall be paid to the Village Clerk, Cemetery Sexton or his representative, and shall be deposited in the Village's cemetery fund.
E. 
The rates in this section may periodically be altered to accommodate increased costs and needed reserve funds for cemetery maintenance, tree removal and upkeep, and other improvements. Such a change must be approved by the Village Council through a resolution when approved by the Cemetery Board of Trustees.

§ 144-10 Grave opening charges.

A. 
Opening and closing costs for graves shall be as established by resolution. These costs may also be changed when deemed necessary by the Cemetery Board of Trustees and by the Village Council.
B. 
No plots or burial spaces shall be opened and closed except under the direction and control of the Cemetery Sexton. This provision shall not apply to proceedings for the removal and reinterment of bodies and remains, which matters are under the supervision of the county health department.

§ 144-11 Care of plots.

A. 
The general care of the cemetery is assumed by the management and includes the cutting and sprinkling of grass at reasonable intervals, the raking and cleaning of the grounds and the pruning of shrubs and trees that may be placed by management.
B. 
The general care assumed by the cemetery shall in no way mean the maintenance, repair or replacement of any memorial, tomb or mausoleum placed or erected upon lots; nor the doing of any special or unusual work in the cemetery caused by the elements, an act of God, common enemy, thieves, vandals, strikers, malicious mischief makers, explosions, unavoidable accidents, invasions, insurrections, riots or by the order of any military or civil authority, whether the damage be direct or collateral, other than as provided in this section.

§ 144-12 Endowment fund.

A. 
The cemetery will forever maintain, as required by state law, a perpetual care fund to be held in trust. The Village Council may hold for the Cemetery Board the perpetual care fund and shall make sure that at least 15% of the price of the plots will be contributed to this fund. Annual income of the fund will be used to defray the costs of caring for and maintaining the cemetery.
B. 
Special care provided by the establishment of an endowment, as mentioned in Subsection A of this section, shall be limited to the income received from the investment of the endowment fund, notwithstanding anything stated to the contrary in this chapter.

§ 144-13 Investment of endowment fund.

The money received for perpetual care shall be held in a trust, namely in the cemetery perpetual care fund, and invested as provided by law. The Cemetery Board of Trustees may exercise the right, however, either to handle all investments itself, or to deposit funds with any person, company or corporation qualified to act as trustee for such funds.

§ 144-14 Correction of errors.

The cemetery reserves, and shall retain, the right to correct any errors that may be made by it either in making interments, disinterments or removals, of the description, transfer or conveyance of any interment property, either by canceling such conveyance and substituting and conveying in lieu thereof other interment property of equal value and similar location as far as possible, or as may be selected by the management, or, in the sole discretion of the management, refunding the amount of money paid on account of such purchase. If such error shall involve the interment of the remains of any person in such property, the cemetery reserves and shall have the right to remove or transfer such remains so interred to such other property of equal value and similar location as may be substituted and conveyed in lieu thereof.

§ 144-15 Interment regulations.

A. 
The cemetery will open for interments from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily with the exception of Memorial Day, July 4, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. When Memorial Day or July 4 falls on Saturday or Monday and delay will cause unreasonable hardship or inconvenience, interments may be made on such days. When an interment is to be made in a plot, the location of such interment shall be designated by the plot owner. Should the lot owner fail or neglect to make such designation, the cemetery reserves the right to make the interment in a location designated by management.
B. 
Not less than 24 hours' notice shall be given in advance of any time of any funeral to allow for the opening of the burial space. Once a funeral procession enters the cemetery, the procession shall be under the charge of the Cemetery Sexton or his representative.
C. 
The appropriate permit for the burial space involved, together with appropriate identification of the person to be buried, where necessary, shall be presented to the Village Clerk, the Cemetery Sexton or his representative. Where such permit has been lost or destroyed, the Cemetery Sexton shall be satisfied, from his records, that the person to be buried in the burial space is an authorized and appropriate one before any interment is commenced or completed.
D. 
Once a casket containing a body is within the confines of the cemetery, the funeral director, his embalmer, assistant, employee or agent, shall not be permitted to open the casket or to touch the body without the consent of the legal representative of the deceased, or an order signed by a court of competent jurisdiction.
E. 
The cemetery will not be responsible for any order given by telephone or for any mistake occurring from the want of precise and proper instructions as to the particular space, size of grave and location in a plot, where interment is desired.
F. 
No trucks, trailers or vault carriers will be allowed to park, or be left near, the grave site during services.

§ 144-16 Disinterment regulations.

Management and the employees of the cemetery are the only persons who will be permitted to open graves with the following exceptions:
A. 
When the cemetery is directed to make a disinterment by order of a court of competent jurisdiction and a certified copy of such order has been filed with the management.
B. 
When the coroner directs the disinterment for the purpose of holding an inquest and has filed with the management a signed authorization to release the body to himself and his lawful agents. In such case, the disinterment must be made by the coroner or his lawful agents. Cemetery employees will not be permitted to assist the coroner or his agents.

§ 144-17 Charges for interment.

The specific charges for interment are listed under § 144-9. All charges for interment or services in connection with such interment shall be paid to management who will issue a receipt upon request. Arrangements for the payment of any and all indebtedness due to the cemetery must be made before interment will be made.

§ 144-18 Ground maintenance.

A. 
The cemetery will undertake to maintain, as may be practicable, the planting of trees and shrubs, to preserve and maintain landscape features, but shall not undertake the maintenance of individual planting of urns or plants. The Cemetery Board of Trustees does reserve the right, however, to remove or trim any tree, plant or shrub located within the cemetery in the interest of maintaining proper appearance and the use of the cemetery. The management and the Cemetery Board of Trustees shall not be responsible for any kinds of plantings damaged by the elements, vandals, thieves or by other causes beyond its control.
B. 
The management shall have the further authority to remove all floral designs, flowers, weeds, trees, shrubs, plants or herbage of any kind from the cemetery as soon as, in the judgment of the management, they become unsightly, dangerous, detrimental or diseased, or when they do not conform to the standards maintained. The management has the right to place American flags next to the markers and monuments of war veterans and members of organizations as deemed appropriate by the Cemetery Board of Trustees.
C. 
No hedge shall be more than three feet in height.
D. 
The Cemetery Board of Trustees shall be the body solely responsible to determine what section of the cemetery shall have markers (flush) versus monuments (aboveground), if it so desires.
E. 
The Cemetery Board of Trustees reserves the right to remove any monuments, markers, structures, inscriptions or enclosures of plots, as they deem necessary.

§ 144-19 Floral plantings.

A. 
There shall be no glass containers used on the premises for the holding of floral bouquets.
B. 
Flowers shall not be planted in the cemetery, either in the ground in front of monuments or markers, or in containers around monuments or markers earlier than two weeks (14 days) prior to Mother's Day. Such flowers shall not be allowed to remain two weeks (14 days) after Labor Day. Cemetery management has the right to remove flowers that are placed before or after the dates specified in this section. It is understood that arrangements may be placed during the Christmas season but must be removed by March 1 of each year.
C. 
In-ground planting of floral arrangements or other plantings shall only be allowed directly in front or behind a monument or marker and must not exceed 16 inches in front or behind the monument or marker and be no wider than the width of the monument or marker.
D. 
Plot blankets traditionally put on plots during the winter months, especially the Christmas season, may be placed by relatives of the deceased. It should be understood that such blankets have a tendency of killing the grass located under the blankets and poisoning the soil. The cemetery management shall not be responsible for the reseeding or resodding of grass over plots where the grass has died due to the placing of a blanket.
E. 
The cemetery reserves the right to prevent the removal of any flowers, floral designs, trees, shrubs, plants or herbage of any kind unless the management gives consent.
F. 
It shall be unlawful under this chapter to pick, mutilate or remove any flowers, shrubs, monument or other marker from the cemetery unless such person is employed by the Cemetery Board of Trustees or the Village.

§ 144-20 Ground maintenance.

Management reserves the right to remove mounds which hinder the free use of a lawn mower or other grading apparatus. Management also reserves the right to prevent plot owners and family from grading, leveling or excavating upon a burial space unless the management gives permission.

§ 144-21 Vault.

All burials shall be within a standard concrete/steel/fiberglass/nylon vault installed or constructed in each burial space before interment.

§ 144-22 Cemetery hours.

A. 
The cemetery shall be open to the general public from the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. each day.
B. 
No person shall be permitted in the cemetery at any time other than the hours specified in Subsection A of this section, except upon permission of the Village Council, Cemetery Board of Trustees or the sexton of the cemetery, or his representative.