Should one be able to bury a dead person anywhere they please?A Berks County man who buried his 10-month-old son in his backyard because he couldn’t afford a burial plot is being cited for zoning violations.
James A. Dodson of Colebrookdale Township told the Reading Eagle that when his infant son, Jesse Alexander Dodson, died in Auguest of a congenital liver condition he and his wife Chantal had more than $30,000 in medical bills. A $650 burial plot was not high on the list of things they could afford.
But after burying their son on their five-acre property, the Dodsons now face zoning violations from the township.
The commissioners in Colebrookdale Township, about 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia, said the Dodson family needs a zoning variance in case they move and want to come back to visit the boy's grave. The commissioners say the burial constitutes a zoning violation that could result in daily fines.
“I chose to do this version of home burial because he's very young,” Dodson told the Reading Eagle. “I can't even describe the sadness. We simply couldn't afford to go buy a plot.''
The Dodsons asked the board in December to consider waiving the zoning fee. This week, the board voted to issue a citation, saying that the couple had plenty of time to resolve the issue. The penalty could be up to $500 a day.
“We just need to mark this area, agree how it's going to be marked as a cemetery in perpetuity,” said Jeff Karver, Colebrookdale Township's solicitor. “We sympathize with any parent who loses children and we don't mean to make their situation any more difficult.”
FTR I say yes, as long as it is on their own property.
No! Creeps me out that there could be someone buried in my back yard! I dont even want to think about it I think it would be very problematic due to different beliefs about death and burial as well. What if you sold your property and then wanted to go back to visit Mom? Or what if you bought a house, wanted to put an addition on and dug up a body, ick!
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
Well, there probably are dead people housed near you.
At least, there are near me. I live on the east coast. Lots of bodies, and stuff, under us. Native Americans. Dead civil war dudes. French Creek, Gettysburg, Valley Forge etc. My back yard. Deadies. Super dead.
Digging up bodies can be problematic. A colleague was building a huge giant supertower thing in Chicago but ! OOPS ! they found that it was an african american gravesite when they started turning up bodies. They had to put up a memorial and whatnot. Held the whole project up by like 6 months.
Love it or hate it, there are way more dead people out there than there are living.
I don't have a problem with it as long as they own the property and it is a decent size (a couple acres vs. 10 sq ft in a townhouse complex or something).
Once you sell though, I don't think you should retain any rights to visit. If you want that then fork over the cash for a proper plot in a grave yard. And I think you should have to disclose to future buyers that granny in buried in the back yard, so that prospective buyers don't get any surprises down the road.
ETA Also because there could be confusion whether bodies are the result of homicides, there would need to be some sort of registration system (GPS coordinates or something) and codes on location near wells, depth of grave, and that sort of thing.
Last edited by kris_w; 03-25-2011 at 11:11 PM.
Sorry, just kidding. I know you are right. It is something that really creeps me out though and I dont like to think about it. It is not the fact that they are there so much as how disrespectful it feels to walk over a grave all the time. Then my husbands culture belives that a spirit can steal a child's body for their own if they choose, and even though I dont really believe that, you can only be immersed in a culture for so long before you start to wonder.
Im pretty sure there are no body's in my back yard though, and there is not way I would ever bury one there. I can barely get my garden spade though the clay, let alone dig a hole big enough for a body.
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
As long as it's his/her property... Then sure. When they move, I think they should take the body with them though and give it a proper burial or put the body in their new back yard.
OR, they can go the natural route and don't put the body in a casket, wrap it in special cloth that will decompose along with the body.
I think you should be able to bury people wherever you want. Good idea about the registration and au natural burial. I say, toss my butt in the pond when I die and let the fishies can take care of me. Dead bodies, those already in the ground don't creep me out or anything though. I don't need a $5000 box to be dead in, just dig a hole and throw me in, if it's on the back 40 whateva, I'm pretty sure I won't care at that point
Am I the only one who thinks depositing dead, possibly diseased bodies in the ground just wherever is not a great idea? Hello, water supply!
Yes, I think people should be able to bury loved ones on their own property. There should certainly be space requirements though and registrations.
At one of the houses I lived in as a child we must have buried a few dozen pets in the backyard. Wonder if anyone has dug any of those up yet? lol.