Community Updates

Adoption of Fruitport Cemetery Ordinance NO. 794

The following ordinance was adopted at the Fruitport Charter Township Board meeting on May 9, 2016.









            Section 1.  Addition of Chapter 21.  Chapter 21 is added to the Fruitport Charter Township Code of Ordinances, which Chapter will be known and cited as the "Fruitport Charter Township Cemetery Ordinance" and shall read in its entirety as follows.





Sec. 21-1.  Definitions.


            The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this Chapter, unless otherwise specifically stated.


            Babyland.  A portion of the cemetery designated exclusively for the burial of an infant or stillborn.  The space shall consist of a land area three feet wide and three and one half feet in length.


            Cemetery.  Any cemetery owned and operated by the Township.


            Cemetery Board.  The Cemetery Board shall consist of the Township Clerk, Cemetery Sexton, and two other individuals appointed by the Township Board.


            Grave Site.  Shall consist of a land area five feet wide and eight to ten feet in length. Each site shall be assigned a name at the time of purchase.


            Interment.  The disposition of the remains of a deceased person.


Sec. 21-2.  General rules.


            It is important that all persons within the cemetery should avoid conduct unbecoming a reverent place.


            A.        Impermissible conduct includes but is not limited to:


                        1.         Talking in a loud or boisterous manner;


                        2.         Consuming alcoholic beverages;


                        3.         Picking or removing flowers;


                        4.         Vandalizing any memorial, marker, fence, or structure;


                        5.         Driving above posted speed limits;


                        6.         Driving beyond designated roadways;


                        7.         Hunting of any kind; and


                        8.         Jumping or climbing over cemetery fences.


            B.        The following is also prohibited within the cemetery grounds:


                        1.         Dogs; and


                        2.         Off-road vehicles and snowmobiles.


Sec. 21-3.  Funerals.


            No tents shall be permitted for services taking place from November 1 through the following April 1. 


Sec. 21-4.  Sale of grave sites.


            The sale of a grave site grants a right of burial only and does not convey any other title to the site sold.  All sales shall be approved by the Township Clerk in writing on the approved form, who shall keep records of all sales.


Sec. 21-5.  Transfer of grave sites.


            Any grave site transfers shall be approved by the Township Clerk, who will issue an Assignment of Burial Permit and shall maintain records of all transfers.  The Township shall collect a fee for this service.


Sec. 21-6.  Forfeiture of vacant grave sites.


            A.        Grave sites sold on or after January 1, 2016 and remaining vacant 40 years from the date of their sale shall automatically revert to the Township upon occurrence of the following events.


                        For purposes of this Section, "vacant" shall mean:


                        1.         No interment; and


                        2.         No marker or monument.


            Notice shall be sent by the Township by first class mail to the last known address of the last owner of record.  The notice shall inform the owner of the expiration of the 40-year period and that all rights with respect to the grave sites will be forfeited if the owner does not affirmatively indicate in writing to the Township within 90 days from the date of mailing of the notice the owner's desire to retain those rights.


            If no written response to the notice indicating a desire to retain the grave sites in question is received by the Township from the last owner of record of the grave sites, or from the last owner's heirs or legal representatives, within 60 days from the date of mailing the notice, then the Township shall publish a final notice in a local newspaper indicating a need for written response within 30 days.


            If no written response to the mailed or published notice indicating a desire to retain the grave sites in question is received by the Township from the last owner of record of the grave sites, or from the last owner's heirs or legal representatives, within 90 days from the mailing date of the first notice or within 30 days from the publication date of the final notice, then the grave sites shall be forfeited to the Township.  In the event of forfeiture, the owner(s) shall not be entitled to any payment or reimbursement.


            If a timely response to the notice is received by the Township, indicating a desire to retain the grave sites in question, this process shall be repeated every 10 years until the grave sites are used or revert to the Township.  Owners may also reset the 10 year timing by written notice affirming their desire to retain interment rights.


            B.        Grave sites sold before January 1, 2016 and remaining vacant 40 years from the date of their sale (or, if the date of sale is unknown, remaining vacant after January 1, 2026) shall revert to the Township only if the Township pursues the procedures in Subsection A above  and pursues other reasonable due process procedures if the owners are unknown to determine if the owners of the grave sites wish to retain their ownership rights.  Only if the Township does not receive a timely indication of continued interest in the ownership rights of the grave sites shall the grave sites revert to the Township.  As in Subsection A above, the process shall be repeated every 10 years as necessary.


Sec. 21-7.  Interment regulations.


            A.        Under the direction of the Township Clerk, all interment requests must be made to the Cemetery Sexton, who will have control of the opening of graves and other matters relating to burials.  The Township Clerk must keep records of all interments.


            B.        The Township shall be notified at least two business days in advance of the proposed interment, to allow sufficient time for the opening of the grave site.  No Monday interments will be allowed.


            C.        All full burials must be made in standard vaults made of concrete or other material approved by the Cemetery Board. 


Sec. 21-8.  Interment of cremated remains.


            No more than three cremains may be interred at a single grave site.  Cremation vaults are permitted but not required.


            The scattering of cremains anywhere in the cemetery is prohibited.


Sec. 21-9.  Repurchase of grave sites.


            Upon the written request of the owner or owner's representatives or heirs, the Township may repurchase any grave site for the original purchase price.


Sec. 21-10.  Markers.


            A.        All markers or memorials must be made of recognized durable granite marble, standard bronze, or other material equivalent in durability and approved by the Cemetery Board.


            B.        Only one marker shall be permitted per grave site.


            C.        All makers shall face the same direction as those surrounding.


            D.        Marker Sizes.  The following is an index to marker sizing and is a guideline to be followed by all monument companies which deliver monuments to the cemetery.  Any deviation requests shall be submitted to the Cemetery Board for consideration.  Any marker delivered to the cemetery with larger dimensions and without proper approval shall be unacceptable and shall not be allowed; if installed the larger marker shall be subject to immediate removal.


Type of Marker

(See Attached Figure 1)




Flush markers - single

28 inches

16 inches

2 inch border - military

Flush markers - double

42 inches

16 inches


Bevel markers - single

32 inches

16 inches

36 inches (no bases allowed)

Slant markers - single

32 inches

16 inches

36 inches (32 inches with 4 inch


Double markers

52 inches

16 inches

36 inches (32 inches with 4

inch base)

Babyland markers

16 inches

8 inches

16 inches (no bases allowed)


A double marker may have a base, but the overall size must remain within the guidelines. No marker shall exceed 36 inches tall, nor shall any 3-tier markers be allowed.




Sec. 21-11.  Footings or foundations.


            The footing or foundation upon which any maker is placed shall be constructed by the Cemetery Sexton at the expense of the owner of the grave site.  The footing or foundation shall be two  inches longer and two inches wider than the above-ground marker.


Sec. 21-12.  Decoration of grave sites.


            A.        Flowers, plants, or hanging pots shall be placed on the side of the marker, rather than in front or behind it.


            B.        Up to three items may be placed on a grave site.  However, the following items are not permitted: glass, wooden items, rocks, crosses, mulch, bark, statues, arbors, wire fences, or walls.  The only permitted benches are headstone benches, which must not exceed 30 inches on a single grave site or 48 inches on a double grave site.


            C.        Urns are to be emptied and turned over by each October 1.


            D.        Winter decorations may be placed on graves from November 1 through the following April 1.


Sec. 21-13.  Ground maintenance.


            A.        No planting of shrubs, bushes, or trees shall be allowed.  In the interest of maintaining proper appearance and use of the cemetery, the Cemetery Sexton reserves the right to remove or trim any tree, plant, or shrub currently located within the cemetery.


            B.        The Cemetery Sexton shall also have the right and authority to remove and dispose of any growth, emblem, display, or container that through decay, deterioration, damage, or otherwise become unsightly, a source of litter, or a maintenance problem.


            C.        Surfaces other than earth or sod are prohibited, unless established by the Township.


Sec. 21-14.  Liability for damage.


            The Township shall not be liable for any lost or damaged item from any grave site, or for damage to any grave site.


Sec. 21-15.  Cemetery charges.


            Cemetery charges are set forth in Section 14-2 of this Code.


Sec. 21-16.  Penalties.


            Any person who violates a provision of this Chapter shall be responsible for a municipal civil infraction, and upon an admission or determination of responsibility thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500.00 plus court costs.  Each day that a violation occurs shall be considered to be a separate violation.  The issuance of a citation for a municipal civil infraction shall not in any way limit the Township in seeking enforcement of the provisions of this Chapter, including, but not limited to, requesting a civil restraining order from any court of competent jurisdiction."


            Section 2.  Repeal.  All resolutions, ordinances, orders in conflict in whole or in part with any of the provisions of this Chapter are, to the extent of such conflict, repealed.


            Section 3.  Effective date.  This Ordinance was approved and adopted by the Township Board of Fruitport Charter Township, Muskegon County, Michigan, on May 9, 2016, after introduction and a first reading on April 25, 2016, and publication after such first reading as required by Michigan Act 359 of 1947, as amended.  This Ordinance shall be effective 30 days after its publication.




______________________________                        ______________________________

Brian Werschem, Township Supervisor                      Carol Hulka, Township Clerk