Cemetery Bills Add Responsibility to Localities

January 28, 2022

HB 615 (Roem), which passed a subcommittee of House General Laws and will be recommended to the full committee on February 1, provides that no cemetery owned by a county or city shall be sold to a private owner unless the county or city has made a good faith effort to ensure, prior to sale, that the ownership of such cemetery is vested in the estate of the last owner of record or that permission for the sale has been granted by the family members or descendants of such owner. This may result in an inability for a locality to ever sell the land.

HB 961 (Roem) requires every locality to adopt an ordinance setting forth a register of identified cemeteries, graveyards, or other places of burial located on private property not belonging to any memorial or monumental association. The bill provides that the official local register shall include an official map and that both the register and map shall be available on the locality’s website if one exists. The bill also provides that the governing body shall publish a notice in a newspaper having general circulation in the locality at least two weeks prior to the sale of any property on such registry, or as soon thereafter as possible, and shall also publish the notice on the locality’s website if one exists.

VACo Contacts: Phyllis Errico, Esq., CAE and Joe Lerch, AICP

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