MPI is pleased to report that on October 31, 2017, the Montgomery County Council adopted the first legislation ever to protect local burial sites. Following a public hearing on September 12, receipt of many emails and letters from caring citizens, and two PHED committee meetings in October, the amended bills went to the full Council. With two unanimous votes, the Council took bold first steps to identify and preserve our historic cemeteries. Soon after, the County Executive signed both pieces of legislation into law.
Both of these laws will aid property owners, descendants, and advocates to identify all cemeteries in Montgomery County as well to enable their survival for the appreciation of current and future generations. MPI thanks the lead sponsors of these bills—Council members Berliner, Leventhal, and Rice—and all Council members who voted to protect local burial sites.
Advocates for Montgomery County cemeteries can soon rest a bit easier because local sites will be listed in an official inventory that covers the entire County, including municipalities with their own planning and zoning authority, and that all cemeteries will be protected during the subdivision and development process. This is a solid victory for all of our cemeteries — of whatever size and age, in neglected or good condition, of religious or family background, whether African American or White in origin, or whether currently in the news or quietly waiting in the background to be documented.
To read more about the final versions of cemetery legislation passed by the Montgomery County Council, see New Laws Will Help to Protect Montgomery County Cemeteries.