Township of Lawrence, MI
Van Buren County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Board of Trustees of the Township of Lawrence 7-14-2005, as amended 5-8-2008; 7-11-2013 (Ord. No. 21 of the 2005 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
An ordinance to establish a plat of lots within Hill Cemetery devoted to the burial of military personnel and their respective spouses; to regulate the size, use and transfer of lots within the military plat, to establish rules regarding eligibility; to provide a schedule of expenses; and to provide penalties for the violation of said ordinance.
This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Hill Cemetery Military Plat."
It is the intent of this chapter to recognize that a portion of Hill Cemetery has been platted and is reserved for military personnel found eligible under the terms of this chapter. It is the further intent of this chapter to provide special regulation of the use of lots within the plat.
A. 
The plat will be an area for approximately 200 grave lots, to be established and recorded in single grave lots as follows:
(1) 
Each single grave lot: 3.5 feet (three feet six inches) by 11 feet, or 38.5 square feet.
(2) 
Each grave shall have one full burial, one full burial plus one cremation interment, or two cremation interments.
(3) 
A person eligible to purchase a lot within the military plat may not purchase more than one for him- or herself.
(4) 
Maximum interment is two per grave lot, with a single headstone.
B. 
Headstones are to be military upright granite-type only. Only accepted military-type markings shall be allowed on the headstones, each of which shall be approved by the Township Sexton in advance of placement to ensure uniformity in size, shape, color, style and information included. Any marker which is not uniform and has not been preapproved is subject to removal without notice. Headstones will be set by the Township Sexton upon a cement foundation provided by the Township. Each grave lot shall have a single headstone.
C. 
Planting of shrubbery and/or trees is strictly forbidden in the military plat without the express written consent of the Lawrence Township Board. Yucca plants and additional landscaping of any type is strictly forbidden and will be removed. Flowers or other decorative items left on the grave lots will become the property of the Lawrence Township Board of Trustees after seven days, and any such items that are deemed to be nonaesthetically pleasing will be removed by the Township Sexton at his or her discretion.
D. 
Purchase of lots in the military plat will require a Form DD-214 or other official document showing the status of the military personnel's departure from the military and the following:
(1) 
Lots will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis to or on behalf of qualified military personnel, who will receive a Certificate of Deed for a lot in the military plat issued by the Township Clerk. No more than one lot shall be sold to any one qualified person, one for him- or herself.
(2) 
Lots will be filled from the center of the row outward from side to side based on the availability at the time of death upon presentation of a Certificate of Deed. An entire row shall be filled before using any lot in a succeeding row. The row closest to the War Memorial shall be filled first.
(3) 
All lot sales are final and nonrefundable for sales made after May 8, 2008. Lots may not be transferred to person(s) who are not qualified for burial in the military plat. All transfers must be approved by the Township.
(4) 
A Certificate of Deed will not be provided until payment is received and proof is submitted showing that the person to be buried is eligible.
(5) 
In the event the spouse precedes the eligible veteran in death, the following options are available:
(a) 
Spouse is buried in the veteran's plat with full burial. The veteran must purchase a military headstone with information for both veteran and spouse on the stone (veteran's death date to be added at such time as veteran becomes deceased). At time of the veteran's death, a cremation interment shall occur.
(b) 
Spouse is buried in the veteran's plat with cremation interment. The veteran must purchase a military headstone with information for both veteran and spouse on the stone (veteran's death date to be added at such time as veteran becomes deceased). At time of veteran's death, a cremation interment or full burial shall occur.
A. 
In order to be eligible for burial in the military plat, a person:
(1) 
Must not have died or been discharged under dishonorable circumstances, as determined by military officials; and
(2) 
Must:
(a) 
Be or have been an active-duty member of the United States Military; or
(b) 
Be the deceased spouse of eligible military personnel or be the surviving spouse of military personnel buried within the plat.
B. 
Prior to burial, a person's eligibility shall be determined using evidence supplied by decedent and/or decedent's family. Substantial misrepresentations affecting eligibility, whether made negligently or otherwise, shall be deemed just cause for disinterment. Upon interment of either eligible military personnel or his or her spouse, the next available lot shall be used.
A. 
The cost of a lot in the military plat will be as follows until amended by the Lawrence Township Board:
B. 
Each grave lot will be $2,600, which includes perpetual care.
C. 
Citizens who meet the military requirement set forth in this chapter and one or more of the following shall receive a $2,300 credit toward the purchase of the lot.
(1) 
Graduated from Lawrence Public Schools; and/or
(2) 
Have resided in the Lawrence Public School District for five or more years; and/or
(3) 
At the time of death, having a Lawrence ("674") telephone exchange or being a member of the Lawrence Post of the American Legion (Post 174).
D. 
Citizens who meet the military requirement set forth in this chapter and died as a result of military operations shall receive the lot, and lot opening and closing, free of charge.
E. 
Grave opening and closing costs in the military plat will be as follows until amended by the Lawrence Township Board:
(1) 
$1,600 on weekdays.
(2) 
$2,000 on weekends (after 4:00 p.m. on Friday and before 9:00 a.m. on Monday).
F. 
Citizens who meet the above requirements for a credit on the purchase of a lot shall receive a credit of $1,400 on weekdays and $1,800 on weekends toward the opening and closing costs.
G. 
Transfer of lots to other qualified persons will require a $100 transfer fee.
Cemetery lots sold within the military plat after the effective date of this chapter which remains vacant or unused for 25 years from the date of sale shall automatically revert to the Township upon the happening of one of the following events:
A. 
The owner of record does not respond to a notice sent by the Township Clerk advising that the 25 years has elapsed since sale without the lot being used and further advising that should the Clerk not receive a written request to retain rights in the lot; ownership of the same shall revert to the Township 60 days after the notice is first sent to the owner's last known address.
B. 
In the event an heir of the owner of record should respond to the written notice, rights in the lot shall be retained by the heir if he or she is eligible to be buried in the military plat under the terms of this chapter. The heir may immediately request transfer of the lot to a person who is eligible to be buried within the plat and, if not done within 60 days of being notified of this right by the Clerk, then all rights in the same shall revert to the Township.
[Amended 4-12-2018]
Any person found to have violated this chapter by a court of competent jurisdiction is responsible for a municipal civil infraction under Chapter 25, Municipal Civil Infractions, of the Code of the Township of Lawrence.
The provisions of this chapter are declared severable, and should any provision, section or part be found invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall affect only the particular provision, section or part involved in the decision and shall not affect or invalidate the remainder of the chapter, which shall remain in full force and effect. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with this chapter are repealed.
This chapter shall take effect 30 days after publication as required by law.