Rules and Regulations
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HERITAGE ACRES MEMORIAL SANCTUARY
RULES AND REGULATIONS
Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary, LLC (“Heritage Acres”) exists to provide a natural burial option in the Greater Cincinnati area. Heritage Acres is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit limited liability company located in the State of Ohio, owned by Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church (2710 Newtown Road, Cincinnati, OH 45244), and operating as a natural or “green” burial ground.
As a natural burial ground, Heritage Acres will strive as much as possible to follow the guidelines of the Green Burial Council (greenburialcouncil.org). Whether actively pursuing GBC certification or not, Heritage Acres shall, at a minimum, require:
- For body burials, the body shall not have been embalmed.
- Any container, casket, urn, shroud or clothing buried in the ground at Heritage Acres shall be fully biodegradable and shall be made of natural, plant-derived materials.
- No concrete vaults (partial, inverted or otherwise), vault lids, concrete boxes, slabs or partitioned liners, or any other non-biodegradable materials, shall be buried in the ground at Heritage Acres.
- No glass, plastic, or other non-biodegradable containers or materials shall be placed in or on grave sites.
- No toxic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides shall be used on the grounds of Heritage Acres.
- Both the burial sections of Heritage Acres and any wilderness area shall be preserved and maintained in a natural fashion. Grass will not be cut on a regular basis. Only approved, native vegetation may be planted at Heritage Acres. Any landscaping shall be minimal, naturally introduced and maintained, and shall be compatible with regional ecosystems. Any planting is to be done only by Heritage Acres staff or its designated volunteers.
- Heritage Acres makes every effort to maintain the integrity of each burial site consistent with natural burial practices. It is understood that over time, natural changes to the landscape will occur, and unforeseen events may alter the appearance of any grave.
- Any grave markers or other markings, signage, or flowers shall be tasteful, and comprised only of natural materials.
- Heritage Acres reserves the right to refuse or remove any items placed within its grounds that do not adhere to these restrictions.
- All burials at Heritage Acres require a minimum 48 hours notice.
- Heritage Acres reserves the right to refuse burial if the condition of the deceased or any burial clothing, accessories or container(s) do not conform with green burial guidelines, specifically as outlined in items (1) and (2) above.
- All burials at Heritage Acres will be guided by relevant state law and in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code. In cases involving certain communicable diseases, it may be deemed necessary for the deceased to be cremated in order to be buried at Heritage Acres.
- Heritage Acres relies upon the identification of the deceased provided to us by the funeral home, next-of-kin, or other authorized representative, and shall have no obligation to independently establish or verify the identity of the remains to be interred.
- Each body burial plot (“interment space”) shall be a minimum of 9 feet by 12 feet. The dimensions of the actual grave dug on the plot shall be determined by circumstances such as the size of the burial container or body, and soil, slope, tree roots, etc.
- Each body burial grave shall be a minimum of 42 inches deep.
- Each cremation burial plot (“inurnment space”) shall be a minimum of 3 feet by 3 feet. The dimensions of the actual grave dug on the plot shall be determined by circumstances such as the size of the urn or container, and soil, slope, tree roots, etc.
- Each cremation burial grave shall be a minimum of 18 inches deep.
- Instead of a single body burial, up to four sets of cremated remains may be buried within one interment space.
- Plots for burial of pets or their ashes may also be available at the discretion of the Heritage Acres Board of Trustees.
- Only small, tasteful grave markers of natural, native materials such as fieldstone or creekstone, wood, etc., will be allowed. Markers shall be flat to the ground and shall not be larger than 18 inches by 12 inches. Engraving of brief, appropriate memorialization such as name and dates of the deceased, symbols and messages will be allowed.
- Heritage Acres must approve all grave markers or decorations. Heritage Acres shall handle all installations of grave markers.
- Aligned with Universalist principles, Heritage Acres shall not discriminate in any way against any person for any reason – including but not limited to gender, age, religion, race, national origin, sexual orientation or ability.
The mission of Heritage Acres is to provide a natural burial option in the Greater Cincinnati area. As such we shall offer:
- Sites for body burial and cremation burial;
- A scatter garden for comingled scattering of ashes;
- Grave-opening (family and loved ones may be allowed to assist in the digging of a grave if desired). Hand-dug graves are preferred, but under certain circumstances Heritage Acres may determine that a grave must be machine-dug;
- Grave-closing (family and loved ones may be allowed to assist in closing the grave if desired). Heritage Acres reserves the right to mix natural materials with soils prior to or at the time of interment or inurnment to enhance ecological processes. Final filling of the grave may include the creation of a mound that will settle over time;
- Grave opening and grave closing must be supervised by a representative of Heritage Acres at all times;
- Graveside services shall be allowed as the grave location, space and situation permit;
- A free consultation with the person or persons seeking to make arrangements for a burial at Heritage Acres;
- Administrative services, referral to funeral providers and local or county authorities, and appropriate record keeping and plot location (including the use of GPS / GIS);
- The caring presence of a representative or representatives of Heritage Acres at, during and following the burial.
Use of the Property
Heritage Acres shall double as a nature preserve and natural burial ground. As such, it is expected that the public will occasionally be present to enjoy its pristine natural beauty.
- All persons shall comply with posted property hours – dawn to dusk. After-hours visitation is not allowed;
- Alcohol and illegal drug use on Heritage Acres property are strictly prohibited;
- Hunting, and the discharge of firearms (except as part of a military honor guard in connection with a burial or memorial service), are strictly prohibited;
- Off-road vehicles may not be driven on Heritage Acres property, except as used by Heritage Acres staff or volunteers for cemetery business;
- All visitors use Heritage Acres property at their own risk. Given that the grounds are a nature preserve, visitors assume all risks associated with hazards found in natural environments, including but not limited to slip, trip and fall hazards, uneven terrain and paths, holes, wet grass, low or fallen tree branches, falling and fallen trees, etc. Wildlife may be present. Plants may be present that could cause an allergic reaction. Proper care should be taken at all times. Heritage Acres shall not be responsible for any injury or death, or damage to personal property, that may occur due either to the proper use, or intentional misuse, of its property;
- Pets must be on a leash at all times. Owners shall clean up after their pets.
- During the calendar year 2017, persons contributing to the initial startup of Heritage Acres will have the opportunity to be honored as members of the Heritage Acres “Founders Circle.”
- A tax-deductible donation of $2,500 made to Heritage Acres on or before Dec. 31, 2017, will allow one individual to become part of the Heritage Acres Founders Circle;
Founders Circle members will be permanently remembered on a suitable plaque or marker on the property, in keeping with the signage restrictions listed above under “Green Burial,” and will be listed in promotional material and other descriptions of Heritage Acres as deemed appropriate. From time to time, events and celebrations in their honor will be offered;
- Persons in the Founders Circle shall have the option to pre-purchase burial rights at any time, at 50% less than the current listed burial price. If someone in the Founders Circle dies without having pre-purchased burial rights, their estate may purchase at-need burial rights at 25% less than the current listed burial price;
If Heritage Acres has yet to establish an operating cemetery at the time of the death of a member of the Founders Circle, their one-time, $2,500 tax-deductible donation is not refundable.
Heritage Acres has the final authority to interpret these Rules and Regulations.
Prices and costs shall be listed separately.
Rules and Regulations as revised Sept. 8, 2020