Letter: Make the M2 study public
Updated 4:28 pm, Tuesday, January 3, 2017
To the Editor:
We are writing to request the complete town-directed, state-supervised study M2 conducted on the Maple Street Cemetery.
Our understanding, from the state archaeologist’s office, was that M2 was asked to present the findings to P&Z two weeks ago, but as of this morning (Jan. 2) that has not occurred. The report will be made public via the Dodd Archives at the University of Connecticut (where the Connecticut state archaeologist’s office is located), but we are requesting the information sooner so it can be released to the public.
Our concerns are:
1) The argument has been made that M2 owns title to the portions of the Maple Street Cemetery because they believe certain plots never contained remains, which, in their opinion, would make this section of the cemetery, “not a cemetery;” and
2) Now that human remains have been found, M2’s argument seems to be that current laws do not apply because the human remains were interred before the laws were enacted; however,
Connecticut statutes state that — Sec. 19a-295. (Formerly Sec. 19-146) — Ownership and management of burial grounds. Town appropriations. Towns and ecclesiastical societies may procure and hold lands for burial grounds and provide a hearse and pall for the burial of the dead. Cemeteries may be acquired, owned and managed and controlled by such towns and ecclesiastical societies, and by cemetery associations heretofore incorporated or incorporated as provided in section 19a-296, and by no other persons, firms or corporations (italics our own).
Lastly, in the 65 conditions issued in November, number 22 reads: “This approval is expressly conditioned upon the submission of satisfactory evidence to the Planning & Zoning Department that there have been no burials on Parcel P at any time.”
Now that the three human remains were found interred on Parcel P, it would seem that Parcel P is, in fact, part of the original cemetery, that no part of it can be “owned” by any entity other than the above listed, and that approval must be amended and new plans submitted.