Rules & Regulations

The Chelmsford Cemetery Department disclaims all responsibility for loss or damage to any lot, monument, memorial or planting from causes beyond its reasonable control, including but not limited to loss or damage caused by an act of God, the elements, earthquake, vandals, thieves, malicious mischief makers, order of an military or civil authority, civil disturbance, unavoidable accidents or any cause, similar or dissimilar, beyond the control of the Cemetery whether the loss or damage be direct or related.

The following regulations have been adopted by the Board of Cemetery Commissioners for the governance of all public cemeteries in the Town of Chelmsford, control of which is entrusted to the said Board of Cemetery Commissioners.

I. Ownership

1. The right granted to the owner of any lot or grave is a sole and exclusive right of human burial and the erection of monuments or markers subject to the terms, conditions and regulations of the board of Cemetery Commissioners as they may exist from time to time. The premises in which such rights are granted shall be used only for the purpose of a place of human burial for the dead.

2. The owners of rights of burial in the cemeteries, or their heirs, shall not grant, sell, alienate or convey the said exclusive right of burial, to a person or persons without having obtained the written approval and consent of the commissioners, but it shall be optional with the commissioners to grant or withhold such approval and consent. A statement should be filed with the cemetery office listing the names and addresses of all heirs and a majority of the heirs must designate one of their number to be a representative.

3. Any owner of a right of burial, who wishes to sell a lot, shall so advise the Commissioners who may repurchase the lot or unused portion of said lot for the same sum that was paid by the owner or for a proportional sum of the unused graves.

4. All burials in said graves or lots shall be under the personal charge of the Superintendent of Cemeteries. All work within the immediate vicinity of a funeral shall be suspended until the conclusion of the religious service.

5. No interments shall be made until the superintendent shall have been furnished with a permit such as may be required by the laws of the Commonwealth, together with an order from the owner of the right of burial in the lot, in which the interment is to be made, or from a legal representative. No interment shall be made until the fees provided for in the schedule adopted by the Commissioners shall have been paid.

6. Neither the Town nor the Cemetery Commissioners or Cemetery employees shall be held responsible for removing a casket from a hearse to the burial site. This is the sole responsibility of the Funeral Director, nor will the Cemetery handle a concrete grave box or lid for placement where an interment is to take place.

7. Neither the Town nor the Cemetery Commissioners and the officers and employees thereof shall be held responsible for any order given, or mistakes occurring, due to the lack of precise and proper information or instructions from the owner of the rights of burial or a legal representative as to the particular space, size and locations in a plot where an interment or disinterment is desired.

8. The Cemetery Commissioners reserve the right to correct any errors that may be made in making interments, disinterments or removals and neither they nor the Town nor the respective officers and employees thereof shall be held liable on account of the failure of any devises to operate normally or conditions beyond their control.

9. All casket burials shall be made using a minimum of a concrete box with a one piece cover, or in an outer container of stone, concrete or a combination thereof, of sufficient strength and durability to constitute a reasonable permanent support for the weight above it. Cremation burials must be made using a permanent/durable outside container, of sufficient strength and durability to constitute a reasonable permanent support for the weight above it and also having the ability to be retrieved.

10. All fees for opening or preparing a grave shall be paid at the office of the Cemetery Department. There will be an extra charge for Saturday or holiday interments and after the hour of 2:30 P.M. Monday - Friday

11. No grave shall be opened for interment by any person not in the employ of the Cemetery Department.

II. Perpetual Care

1. Chelmsford Cemeteries are Perpetual Care cemeteries. All money that is designated for the Cemetery is used for Cemetery management purposes: the principle is set aside for investment and the proceeds thereof are used to provide general care. The care trust fund is to be understood as that care, maintenance and development necessitated by natural growth and ordinary wear, and includes the management and the care of cutting of lawns, cleaning and maintenance of roadways, walks and buildings, provided there is sufficient income funds for these purposes.

2. The Perpetual Care Fund income in no case means the maintenance, repair or replacement of any memorial placed or erected upon any lot or grave: nor the planting, cutting, watering or care of any privately planted flowers, trees or shrubs: nor does it mean the reconstruction of any granite or special work in the cemetery of a lot or grave.

3. The owner of a right of burial must create a permanent fund according to the schedule adopted by the Commissioners, the income from which is be used forever to fill, level, top dress, cut and take care of the grass on said lot or grave. Any remaining income from the fund is to be used by the Commissioners as they deem to be for the best interest of the lot or grave.

III. Monuments

1. No monuments shall be erected without the approval of the Superintendent and according to the specifications adopted by the Commissioners.

2. Only one central or family memorial shall be allowed on a family lot and only in that space reserved for it. All flat markers must be set flush with the ground. No corner boundary markers are permitted on lots. The Cemetery Commissioners reserve the right to remove corner posts and curbings deemed necessary for the benefit of the cemetery.

3. All foundations for monuments must be installed by a monument company. A foundation for a memorial shall not be built on any lot for which there is a claim by the Town or Cemetery Commissioners against the owner for any indebtedness.

4. All foundation orders require a signed statement by the lot owner and memorial manufacturer and must be accompanied by the applicable fee for same.

5. If any monument, effigy or any structure whatever, or any inscription be placed in or upon any lot or grave, which shall be determined by Commissioners to be offensive or improper, the Cemetery Commissioners shall have the right to order its removal and if the owner or legal representative fails to remove it, the Commissioners shall have the right to enter upon such lot or grave and remove the said offensive or improper object.

6. Monuments shall be for the sole purpose of memorializing those interred in a specific ground lot/space. Under NO circumstances will the Cemetery Commission allow/approve a monument permit with the availability of additional In-Urnments with-in the structure.

7. When any memorial is to be removed or any inscription made thereon, or to be cleaned or repaired, a written request must be made to the Superintendent giving the owner’s address and also giving the name and address of the person to do the work.

8. Monument restrictions and sizes are as follows:

Flat Markers
Lot Size Length Width Thickness
Single 2' ± 1" 1'2" ± ¾" 4" Min.
Double 3' ± 1" 1'2" ± ¾" 4" Min.
Monuments
Length Width Total Height
Double 3'1" ± 7" 1'6" Max. 3' ± 2"
Three/Four 4'3" ± 1'3" 1'6" Max. 3' ± 2"
Six/Eight 6'7" ± 1'7" 2'0" Max. 3' ± 2"

Exceptions may be made with the approval of the Superintendent and Commissioners.

Note: Monuments are not allowed on single grave lots.

IV. Work on Lots

1. No other person than the owner, except the Superintendent or his employees, shall be allowed to perform any work on a lot or parcel of ground without a permit for the Superintendent, obtained upon application, and all persons so employed shall be under the control and supervision of the Superintendent.

2. The cemetery grounds must be left in good order upon the conclusion of any work on lot. All work must be done during the work hours of the cemetery, and cease at the close of the working day.

3. Workmen employed in the construction of vaults, the erection of monuments, etc. shall be subject the control and direction of the Superintendent, and any workman failing to conform to these regulations will not afterwards be permitted to work in the grounds.

4. The Superintendent is responsible for the care of the cemeteries and he is authorized to remove all persons who violate these regulations, and directed to cause violators of the law to be prosecuted.

V. General Care

1. On graves or lots where no monument has been erected, under no condition shall the sod be allowed to be broken or removed.

2. No tree within a lot or upon a grave shall be cut down or removed without the consent of the Cemetery Commissioners.

3. When owners perform any work on their lots or graves, they must remove all refuse materials to such places as are provided by the Superintendent.

4. No person shall gather any flowers, either wild or cultivated, in a cemetery nor shall he remove, cut, break, or mark any tree, shrub or plant, or shall mark, deface or injure any monument, building rustic seat or other structure within a cemetery.

5. No person shall rest upon lots which do not belong to him, or walk upon or across lots or lawns to gain access to their lots or graves, other than by paths or avenues so designated.

6. Children are not allowed in the cemeteries, except when accompanied by a parent or some adult having them in charge.

7. Persons carrying refreshments or intoxicating beverages will not be permitted in cemeteries, not persons with firearms, except at military funerals. The use of all other implements calculated to annoy or destroy birds, squirrels or any other harmless animals found thereon is strictly forbidden.

8. No owner or other person shall be allowed to maintain a lot at any other grade, or cause the same to be graded in any other manner than that established by the Cemetery Commissioners.

9. No employee shall receive any fee or gratuity from any person except the standard fees prescribed by the Cemetery Commissioners and to be paid to the Town Treasurer. Any employee violating this rule shall be dismissed.

10. The Cemetery Commissioners shall have the authority to grant permission to owners to depart in special instances from the provisions of the foregoing regulations, in and only in cases where it clearly appears that the spirit and intent of the regulations will not thereby be violated.

11. Dogs, pets and recreational activities are strictly prohibited.

VI. Planting Rules

1. No urns, window boxes, markers, boxed wreaths, fences curbing, hedges, trees or other ornaments or memorials of a permanent nature shall be placed or planted upon the graves or lots without the approval of the Superintendent.

2. Autumn decorations and plants shall be removed by November 15th. Christmas decorations and wreaths shall be removed by the 15th of January.

3. One flower bed is allowed on each monument lot and shall not extend more than 12” from the base of the monument.

4. Flower beds may NOT be outlined with stones, marble chips, curbing, fencing, or edging made of metal, wood or vinyl.

5. If any shrub situated in any lot, or upon any grave, shall by means of its roots or branches or otherwise become detrimental to said lots, or to the adjacent lots, avenues or paths, or dangerous or inconvenient, the Commissioners or the Superintendent or his employees shall have the right to enter upon said lot or grave and remove said tree, shrub or bush or parts thereof as are thus detrimental, dangerous or inconvenient.

6. It is not allowable to outline a plot or grave with evergreens, curbing, flowers, etc.

7. Shrubs may be planted near monuments with the permission of the Cemetery Superintendent.

8. Rose bushes and other thorny plantings are not permitted.

9. Baskets or other containers, not of a permanent nature, must be removed by the owners if they wish to preserve them, otherwise they shall be removed by the Superintendent, when in his judgment the plants or flowers have decayed.

10. Decayed flowers or plants shall be removed by the Superintendent when deemed advisable. Artificial flowers and decorations are not permitted.

11. Flowers must not be brought into the cemetery except for decorations, and they must not be carried out under any pretense whatever, except by permission of the Superintendent.

12. The Cemetery Department is not responsible for any flowers or any other decorations placed on graves or lots by the owners.

VII. Miscellaneous

1. The Cemetery Commissions may adopt a schedule of fees for interments and other services and privileges provided to owners, and may make such orders and take such actions as are necessary to implement these regulations.

2. To preserve the distinctive characteristics of the Town’s cemeteries and to promote the availability of burial lots for all residents of Chelmsford, the Cemetery Commission reserves the right to establish reasonable limits on the quantity of graves or cemetery lots that may be purchased by one individual or family. (Approved March 27, 2000 Special Town Meeting Art. 3)

3. Cremations: The Chelmsford Cemetery Commission allows either two cremation burials in each grave space or one cremation and one traditional (casket) burial. The purpose of this regulation is to be able to properly memorialize. For a one grave lot, we allow a 2" x 1" Flat Marker at the head of the grave and also at the foot of the grave, maximum of two.