Bill In Frederick County Legislative Package Deals With Abandoned Burial Plots

It could generate a lot of discussion during the 2022 General Assembly Session.

Frederick, Md (KM) A bill in the Frederick County Legislative Package concerning abandoned burial plots could generate a lot of discussion during the 2022 General Assembly Session.   The measure would require owners of these plots to notify the cemetery of their current mailing address. The cemetery could also terminate the ownership rights after 75-years if the plot remains vacant or unused for a long period of time.

County Executive Jan Gardner outlined that bill during a recent meeting of the local Legislative Delegation. “We did check with cemeteries in Frederick County, such as Mount Olivet and also Resthaven, and a couple of smaller ones. And they all agreed that there’s an issue with vacant burial lots where they can’t find who owns it,” she said.

But Delegate Jesse  Pippy raised a concern about this bill. “Part of what  this make this controversial is that people do buy burial lots 100 years, 200 years in advance with the idea that their family and extended family can still use it,” he said.

“They’re still owned by somebody,” Pippy continued. “Whether the cemetery is able to keep good records or locate these individuals is somewhat irrelevant if somebody still owns it. The idea that you could give somebody  else ‘s burial lot away is somewhat controversial.”

Delegate Karen Lewis Young suggested the time limit be increased from 75 to 100 years. “You have to consider longevity, moving, and the ability to discover the ownership,” she said.

This bill, which comes at the request of Pleasant Hill Cemetery Association in Monrovia, would only cover Frederick County.

The 2022 Maryland General Assembly is scheduled to gavel into session on January 12th, 2022.

By Kevin McManus