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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Milton Planning Board OKs Green Burial Ground

by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

September 02, 2008 MILTON — Milton's Planning Commission unanimously approved a use permit Aug. 27 for a proposed green burial site on Birmingham Road, but one commissioner was worried that neighbors in the area might not know what they're in for. The cemetery use permit was for resident Jim Bell's Milton Conservation Burial, a green burial site on Bell's home for 35 years, the 33-acre Richland Farm. Green burial means no above ground structures, no formaldehyde and caskets that biodegrade over time, leaving the body to literally return to the soil.The bodies will be locatable using GPS and perhaps a flat fieldstone, Bell said.
Originally the plan was to partner with the city to help purchase additional green space, but Bell said that didn't work out."Now we're trying to make a private cemetery," he said. "It will look exactly like it looks now: a horse pasture surrounded by woods."
As part of the process, Bell asked that a 75-foot buffer and 10-foot impervious setback be deleted from the site plan since nothing was actually being built. Normally those buffers are meant to hide structures. However, since nothing is going up at the site, staff recommended approving the deletion."I actually don't want to build anything," said Bell.

"Well that's a change," quipped Commissioner George Ragsdale. But Commissioner Curtis Mills was wary. He said he didn't understand the science of the project and wanted to know if there was any adverse effects to the soil."We're doing the exact same thing that happens in orthodox Jewish cemeteries, Muslim cemeteries and every single cemetery prior to the Civil War," Bell said. "We're not going in a new direction here."Commission chairman Paul Moore said he drives by the farm every day, and as such wanted to make sure the site would keep a natural look and not become "more groomed."Bell said it would not. In fact, he said the only difference might be a lump in the ground where the dirt has been mounded around a body. The body will likely be buried by backhoe, which would be decided by the funeral home, Bell said.
Mills was most worried that the existing natural buffer would be enough to shield nearby neighbors. The lots that back up to the farm are very large, said city planner Robin McDonald, and the homes are built a ways from the site."Would folks be out on their back deck cooking hamburgers and watching a funeral?" Mills asked. Bell assured them the natural density of trees between the neighborhood and farm would suffice, regardless of season.Mills was also very concerned that the property owners nearby hadn't shown up the meeting. He was worried they might not be aware that a cemetery was going in behind the lots, and might complain about adverse effects to their property values.Bell said he's lived next to Boiling Springs Baptist Church's cemetery for 35 years, and its residents make great neighbors."Green space adds to property value," he said. "And just because people are buried there, I see no evidence that detracts from property values."
In other business, Planning Commission:• Approved a rezoning and use permit for Bethany Summit, a 98-unit senior housing town home community on nearly 5 acres of Bethany Bend Road. As part of the approval, petitioner Bajun American Properties must follow Design Review Board recommendations for plantings and fencing on the site and keep the buildings at two stories, or 30 feet. In addition, the approval was conditional that Milton's upcoming sewer plan allow service to the area.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Will the dead folks need sewer?

Anonymous said...

Property values will go down in that area. Even if there is no headstones, funerals would disturb the area. There will be back hoe used for the graves and cars will be driving on the pasture grass and this all will be very visable from the road. It takes time for grass to regenerate and the area will show disturbance.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Bill B and Daisy could act as caretakers and watch to make sure that those who are no longer with us don't conspire against us. That's why we broke from Fulton....correct?

Anonymous said...

There will be back hoe used for the graves and cars will be driving on the grass........

Oh no, a tractor in a pasture the sky is falling.

Anonymous said...

If some of you truly understood the HISTORY behind this parcel of land and concerned more about preserving that along with our green space then I think you might get over the fact that there might be a back hoe in the pasture occasionally. If you could only hear firsthand the original Milton families talk about their home places, perhaps you'd understand why it is so important to save this humble part of Milton history.

This is a win-win for the community of Milton, IMHO. Dead or Alive (smile).

-PS

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see JZB totally @#%$ uo this poor man's proposal last night at the council meeting? She should be hung. Wait til "Bailey Farms and Gardens" need something!

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