The City of Delta has amended its cemetery regulations to make maintenance of grass, shrubs and trees around the gravesites easier.
Family members are provided with a copy of the regulations when they purchase a gravesite in the Delta City Cemetery on 3rd Street. Unfortunately, some loved ones have interpreted the regulations to be more permissive than they actually are. They adorn gravesites with crosses, figurines, Broncos/Rockies pennants, pinwheels, solar lights, crosses and fences. Wind socks are hung from nearby trees.
City crews have taken the time to remove the mementoes before mowing or weeding, but are blamed when the items aren't replaced exactly as they were. There are also instances where items have turned up missing or are broken and the city takes the blame.
A simple change in wording will hopefully resolve the issue and save time for maintenance workers. Council voted unanimously to change the wording from "Lots may be improved, landscaped, maintained or decorated as allowed in this section ..." to "No lots may be improved, landscaped, maintained or decorated by any person other than the city except as allowed in this section."
What follows in the landscaping and maintenance portion of the regulations has not been changed. Shells, stones, glass ornaments, non-permanent vases, glasses, urns, fences, etc., have never been allowed, but city staff believes grieving families don't read beyond "Lots may be improved, landscaped, maintained or decorated ..."
"The language change does not modify what is allowed, but will hopefully reduce or eliminate misunderstandings," city manager David Torgler noted in a memo to council members.
The complete list of cemetery regulations can be found on the city website, www.cityofdelta.net.
Although the regulations permit the removal of unauthorized items at the city's discretion, council members and staff agreed every situation should be handled with the utmost respect for grieving family members.