Our Adornment Policy
Many times people ask why is it necessary to limit grave decorations and enforce an adornment policy, and by what authority do we do so.
Ohio law empowers cemetery Boards to adopt Rules and Regulations governing the cemetery, its practices and activities and the practices of it's lot owners on cemetery grounds. The Ohio law gives the Rules and Regulations passed by a Cemetery Board of Trustees the force of "Law" or "Statute".
B. Interment "Rights"
It is important to note that when one purchases cemetery "property", they are really not purchasing "property" or gaining "property rights" or"property owner rights". The cemetery always continues to own the property and continues to have the property rights and can therefore govern its use. A lot "owner" is really purchasing an "interment right," not property, and the right of interment does not imply or include normal property rights. One can not build a house on a lot for example, nor even plant a tree on it without cemetery permission.
C. Rules and Regulations
Copies of Woodland Cemetery's "Rules and Regulations" and it's " Adornment Policy" are provided to every purchaser at the time of purchase and are always available from the Woodland Office during normal working hours. Interment Right Owners agree, when purchasing interment rights, to abide by the Rules and Regulations as they exist at time of purchase, or as they may be changed at any time after purchase. Rules and Regulations are not " grandfathered." If one purchases an interment right under one set of Rules and Regulations, they are bound to be governed by all subsequent changes. To do otherwise over a 165 year history would result in absolute chaos on the grounds. We believe you will understand this inherently as well, and even suggest that you will conclude that this is a good thing: One set of rules governing all Burial Right Owners, regardless of purchase date. No " seniority" is accorded to long time Owners.
D. Three Reasons Why
That brings us to the issue of " Why?" we limit certain types of adornments and accompaniments such as monuments, shrubs, vegetation, etc. Those limits are summarized herein as contained in the full Rules and Regulations, so we won' t repeat them here. Instead, we share three broad based rationales in the belief that you will agree, it is in your interest and in the interest of all Interment Right Owners to have limits and policies and it is also in everyone's interest that Woodland enforce them.
First and foremost is the issue of safety. Worker safety; Owner safety; Visitor Safety; and Neighbor Safety. Woodland prohibits such items as candles, ceramic or plaster or plastic angels or statues, decorative or even memorial rocks or signs, fences, shepherd's hooks, hanging baskets, flags, stuffed animals etc. because they pose a real danger to everyone. Mowers turn items into missiles that can hurt and maim a passerby, other mourners, people driving by on the road and workers maintaining the grounds. A mower recently threw part of a statue nearly 50 yards to break a window in our employee kitchen. These items pose a constant and significant hazard and while they might be judged attractive, or symbolic or meaningful to some, they are a danger to all.
After safety as a reason for limitations, we would list maintenance considerations as a justification for certain prohibitions. Metal fences or worse yet, brick borders for graves pose significant maintenance challenges as well as safety concerns. Signs, flags, statues, etc. all cause significant increases in worker time to stop a mower and move and remove, or to trim around. Upright monuments can't be permitted in certain areas because of maintenance, mowing and trimming efficiencies as well as the design and beautification issues discussed below. The less money we must spend on inconvenient and illdesigned and poorly enforced maintenance issues, the more money we can spend on beautification, restoration and planting.
That brings us to the next issue; beauty, appearance, ambience, serenity, nature, the environment, green space, quiet contemplation, and visual pleasantness. We believe this is the essence of our cemetery and the reason many come here. We believe that garish plastic flowers and signs and faded flags and scarecrows and stuffed animals and warped and faded pictures and broken angels and Easter eggs are an affront to the senses of loving and caring and mourning survivors as they seek serenity and contemplation and prayer in the park. In fact, they tell us this when they are offended by the debris many people litter the grounds with under the guise of memorialization. Instead, we regulate the types and locations of certain monuments and shrubs and trees, and encourage the planting of natural, real flowers that blend with nature instead of becoming plastic and faded. We do plot and section design and landscape art in an effort to preserve and enhance the beauty that is Woodland. And we believe that the vast majority of our owners agree with this philosophy and want Rules and Regulations and want them enforced.
And so, for the sake of safety, for the sake of conservation of resources and for the sake of sensual serenity and beauty, we ask that you comply fully with these policies. Please help provide a debris free natural environment that is soothing to the senses and warming to the heart. Thank you.