Rules and Procedures Governing the Rosemont Cemetery Memorial Garden and Natural Burial Area
The Rosemont Cemetery (“Cemetery”), located in Rosemont, N.J., is a 12-acre non-denominational burying ground which is rich in history and natural beauty. The Rosemont Cemetery Association (“Association”) exists to procure and preserve land to be used exclusively as a cemetery, to deliver superior service to the public in providing for the right of interment, to provide for the respectful disposition of human remains, and to provide continual care of all final resting places within the cemetery. In addition, the Association is committed to preserving and enhancing the Cemetery’s natural beauty and heritage.
It is the desire of the Rosemont Cemetery Association to provide quality end of life choices to meet the needs of all in the community. As such, in addition to providing for traditional burials, the Association offers graves in its Memorial Garden and Natural Burial Area for those that wish to be buried in a more environmentally conscious way.
At Rosemont Cemetery, options are available for (1) traditional full body burial, (2) burial of cremains and (3) natural or “green” burials.
In 2015, in keeping with the Association’s stewardship to the land and to the community it serves, a small parcel of land at the northwestern-most section of its burial ground was set aside as a designated natural burial area and memorial garden. The Association’s mission in providing this area is to create a natural and meaningful memorial landscape that contributes to both the ecological and social health of the surrounding community. The Rosemont Cemetery Association is committed to developing and upholding the highest standards, ethics and best practices in offering natural burial.
The Rosemont Cemetery Association plans to enhance and preserve the Cemetery’s natural beauty by using native stones and other materials to preserve the landscape, while managing invasive species. It is the Association’s hope to provide those that choose natural burial, an opportunity to be part of a protected landscape while minimizing their environmental impact.
The purpose of this document is to provide the rules and regulations governing the Memorial Garden and Natural Burial Area. As such, this document will be provided to all employees, vendors, contractors, and funeral directors conducting business in this section of the cemetery. Additionally, this document will be provided to all those who choose to be interred in this area and will be made available online at www.therosemontcemetery.com.
A hardcopy of the Rosemont Cemetery Association’s bylaws, which pertain to the entire cemetery, is also available upon request or can be downloaded at www.therosemontcemetery.com. Unless otherwise stated, the rules and regulations as stated in the Association’s current bylaws apply to the Memorial Garden and Natural Burial Area of the cemetery. Both documents are in conformity with the existing laws of the State of New Jersey. In cases of discrepancy, state law supersedes these documents.
Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Interment
Full body graves in this area measure 4’ x 11’, and specially designated cremation graves measure 2’ x 2’. Sales in this area, as in other areas of the cemetery, confer to the purchaser the right to interment in the grave designated on the deed issued upon purchase. A deed, or certificate of interment rights, shall be issued upon full payment of the burial location. Ownership of the land itself is not conveyed and remains with the cemetery. Interment rights are subject to all applicable laws and governmental regulations and the current bylaws as adopted by the Rosemont Cemetery Association and on file with the New Jersey Cemetery Board.
In accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey, all full body burials are required to be conducted with a funeral director present. Funeral directors providing services to families selecting burial in this section must abide by, and certify, that they are following all applicable Association rules and regulations.
In keeping with the goal of the Memorial Garden and Natural Burial Area, the following restrictions are in effect.
The funeral director presenting a body for burial in the natural burial area must certify that it is free of embalming fluids. However, the use of natural preservation fluids approved by the Green Burial Council will be allowed. (For more information, visit the Green Burial Council website at http://greenburialcouncil.org/)
2. Burial Containers
In this section of the cemetery, burial containers must be constructed of 100% biodegradable and non-toxic materials made from renewable and/or sustainable resources, such as pine, grasses, reeds, bamboo, wicker, wool, or other natural, unfinished materials. All burial shrouds must be made of natural plant or animal fibers. Outer burial containers, such as concrete liners, metal vaults, partitions and slabs are prohibited. In addition, the following are NOT allowed:
· metal caskets
· metal fasteners and hinges
· adhesives and formaldehyde adhesives
· synthetic linings
· high VOC (volatile organic compounds) finishes
All natural burial containers must be rigid or semi-rigid and have at least four handles of adequate strength to support the weight of a body and the lowering of the body into the grave. The burial of shrouded remains is allowed, but it is recommended that remains be transported, and buried, in a biodegradable container. Alternately, a shroud may be used on its own but ONLY if supported by a pine board (minimum size 5’ x 1’) which is under, and attached to the shroud with four to six handles sewn into the fabric to accommodate carrying the body and lowering of the body into the grave.
The outer dimensions of the burial container may not exceed 2 ½’ x 7’.
3. Burial Adornments
The Association, at its discretion, may allow the deceased to be interred with personal jewelry. However, no other adornments, ornamentation or keepsakes that are not 100% biodegradable shall be buried within the grave.
The Association must be provided a minimum of 48 hours’ notice of a pending interment in this section. If a grave cannot be opened when specified, due to weather or ground conditions, the Superintendent may open a grave in such location as he may deem best so as not to delay the funeral. A new deed, which shall override the original deed, will be issued for the interment in the new location. All reasonable efforts will be made to avoid this situation.
Prior to presentation for burial, the funeral director must certify that all requirements in Items 1 – 3, listed above, have been met. If, at the time of burial, the body being presented is embalmed with non-approved natural materials, or otherwise does not meet the regulations of the Rosemont Memorial Garden and Natural Burial Area, the Cemetery will provide a grave in the traditional section for that body and their grave in the natural burial area will be forfeited.
Due to the nature of natural burials, each full size 4’ x 11’ grave may contain up to (1) one full body and one set of cremains or (2) up to three sets of cremains. In specially designated cremation graves, only one set of cremains may be interred in each grave. Disinterments will not be allowed under any circumstances.
In accordance with N.J. state law, interments will be of human remains only.
For safety reasons, all grave openings will be conducted by cemetery staff or approved contractors and will take place prior to the scheduled time of burial. Family members and loved ones who choose may participate in the closing of the grave, but only under the direct supervision of the funeral director, and a cemetery staff member or approved contractor must be present. All persons attending the burial must remain a safe distance from any mechanized equipment being used, as determined by a cemetery staff member or representative.
5. Grave Markers and Memorials
In order that the appearance of the Memorial Garden and Natural Burial Area is in keeping with its mission, the Cemetery restricts the type, size, design, and number of grave markers used in this area.
While grave markers are not required in the cemetery, should loved ones wish to memorialize the deceased, the following restrictions apply. One approved grave marker may be used per grave. On full graves, the marker must be placed by cemetery staff on the undisturbed section of the grave. Markers must be flat and may be engraved only with the name of the deceased, date of birth and date of death. The Association retains the right to reject any marker that it feels is inconsistent with the purpose and feel of the area.
Grave markers in the Natural Burial Area will adhere to the specifications listed below. The Association chose this material because it is a native stone that has a more even surface that can easily be etched and has edges that can be rounded and softened.
Memorial marker specifications:
Thermal Blue Stone
1 ½’ thickness
12” x 18” for full body grave; 12” x 12” for cremation grave
(Stones may not exceed these sizes)
These stones are available locally and may be purchased at any supplier that carries stones meeting the specifications listed above. Information on vendors may be obtained from the Association.
Grave markers in this area will have no foundations and concrete may not be used in the installation of any grave marker.
The Association will not maintain or repair grave markers and is not responsible for damage, wear and tear, deterioration or weathering. Given that these stones do not have a foundation and will undergo natural weathering, these stones should not be expected to last as long as traditional granite markers. Markers that need to be replaced shall not be the responsibility of the Association.
6. Decorations/Grave Ornamentation
In keeping with the Rosemont Cemetery Association’s goal of maintaining the natural feel of the Memorial Garden and Natural Burial Area, the number and types of plantings will be limited to designated, pre-planned areas. Therefore, any unauthorized and/or non-native plants will be removed.
In addition, ornamentation on, or near, graves will be restricted to floral displays made up of fresh cut flowers, greens and other natural elements, such as pine cones, berried vines, etc. All such displays must be free of materials that are not 100% biodegradable.
The following are NOT permitted:
· plastic wrap
· ceramic, glass or plastic vases and other non-biodegradable containers
· artificial flowers
· potted plants
· boxes, toys, artwork and other ornaments
· chairs or similar articles
All holiday embellishments and decorations which have met the above restrictions must be removed by families within one week following the holiday. In order to maintain the neat, natural appearance of this area, Cemetery staff will remove any ornamentation left after this time. All decorations not meeting the above requirements will be removed immediately.
The Rosemont Cemetery Association is not responsible for any items left on the graves.
Procedures for Cemetery Officials, Funeral Directors and Grave Diggers
While a funeral director is not required for the burial of cremains, all full body burials must take place under the supervision of a funeral director and are the responsibility of the funeral director. In this section of the cemetery, the funeral director must be pre-approved by the Green Burial Council as a green burial provider and/or must adhere strictly to the rules provided in this document and in the Bylaws of the Rosemont Cemetery. Additionally, a cemetery staff member or authorized contractor is required to be present for all burials.
Prior to any burial taking place, the funeral director must:
· provide at least 48 hours’ notice of the impending burial
· verify that all restrictions listed herein, including embalming and burial container restrictions have been met
· provide the name and date of death of the deceased
· provide the name and contact information for the person taking responsibility for the burial
· provide the exact size, type and material of the burial container being used
· provide the date and time of the interment at the cemetery
· provide proof of interment rights
During the burial ceremony, the funeral director will be responsible for providing 4 – 6 able-bodied pall bearers and for getting the body to the dug hole, managing the burial and the participants and directing the ceremony. The funeral director will also be responsible for monitoring the duration of the ceremony. Ceremonies lasting longer than 1 ½ hours will be subject to an additional fee payable to the Grave Digger.
No persons, other than authorized cemetery employees or contractors may perform work within the cemetery without prior written authorization issued by the Rosemont Cemetery Association.
All full body burial graves measure 4’ x 11’. Whenever possible, graves will be opened using a small track hoe to limit the size and weight of the machinery used. Excavation for a burial should be located as close as possible to the center of the grave. The hole to be excavated will measure 5’ deep, 7’ long and 36” across. Upon excavation, top soil will be kept separate from the rest of the soil and will be used as the very top layer of the dirt mounded over the burial.
All full body burials will be at a depth of five feet. To assist the decomposition process, the bottom of each grave will be lined with a 1 to 2 inch thick layer of native woodchips, leaves, pine boughs or other natural material prior to the placement of the burial container. The purpose of the organic matter is to introduce oxygen and microbes into the grave. For the same reason, loved ones are also encouraged to leave their fresh flowers in the grave prior to the closing.
For all full body burials taking place in shrouds, prior to backfilling the grave with dirt, a layer of pine boughs, woodchips, leaves, or other natural material will be placed on top of the body in order to create a barrier between the deceased and the dirt being placed in the grave.
All full body burials will have a minimum of five feet of cover over its shallowest point, which will create a mound over the burial. This mound serves several purposes, including helping cemetery staff locate existing burials, reducing maintenance by lessening repeated backfilling, and allowing for natural settling. The Association will make the final determination regarding the grading, levelling, filling, and seeding of all graves.
Burials of cremains will be covered with a minimum 12” cover of dirt.
To further assist workers in negotiating equipment through the Natural Burial Area, graves will be sold and grouped to leave open pathways for access. Once the graves in a section are filled or mostly filled, the graves under those pathways may be made available for sale and another group of graves in a new section will be opened for sale. This practice allows workers to back their way out of the area in order to ensure that no remains will be disturbed. When it becomes necessary to perform a burial near graves containing buried remains, the contractors and cemetery staff will use plywood boards to displace the weight of the vehicles to minimize disruption to any graves.