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Public Use Policies & Guidelines

Rockville Cemetery is a historic burial ground dating to the 1730s and is located in a residential community within the City of Rockville, Maryland. As the entire property has been designated by the Mayor and Council of Rockville as a Historic District, it is the ongoing mission of Rockville Cemetery Association [RCA] to provide interment sites for the community while also preserving the cemetery’s distinctive character and unique inherent features. To support this effort, the RCA Board of Directors has adopted the following policies to maintain acceptable standards for public use which are deemed appropriate and respectful of Rockville’s most historic cemetery and its resources.

Part I: GENERAL VISITATION

In order to protect its grounds, facilities, and resources, the following will be required of all visitors while on cemetery property, unless otherwise expressly authorized by RCA:

  1. Public visitation is permitted daily during daylight hours only:
    • Defined as one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.
  2. Vehicle parking is permitted on paved roadways only:
    • Parking is permitted for cemetery activities only.
    • Park in such a manner as to allow other vehicles to pass.
    • Use of grass areas to turn around is prohibited.
    • Overnight parking is prohibited.
  3. All domestic pets and service animals must be on leashes while on cemetery grounds.
  4. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES while on cemetery property include the following:
    • Disturbance or interruption of any other public activity or visitation on cemetery property, including excessive noise and boisterous behavior.
    • The disruption, injuring, or feeding of wildlife, or the damaging, altering, or removal of trees, shrubs, flowers, or any other natural or ornamental vegetation.
    • Unlawful possession or application of hazardous items, materials or substances, weapons, or conduct posing risks to persons, property, facilities, or wildlife.
    • All unlawful activities particularly involving the alteration, removal, or vandalism of any cemetery feature, utility, structure, monument objects, etc.
    • Dumping or depositing of waste, refuse, debris, trash, etc. on cemetery property.
    • Trespassing and/or use of the historic Caretaker’s House and fenced yard area.
    • Any camping or overnight activity, including construction of shelters, cooking of food items, open fires either in receptacles or direct contact with cemetery grounds, storage of personal possessions, or other associated activities.
  5. Visitors entering cemetery property freely accept all potential risks to personal health and personal property due to accident, incident, inherent conditions, weather, etc.
  6. RCA will be indemnified against any claim of personal injury, property damage or other losses incurred by any individual during any activity conducted on cemetery property.

Part II: SITE and NICHE OWNERSHIP

The following terms and conditions apply to the purchase [ground] sites and [columbarium] niche spaces in Rockville Cemetery:

  1. Site/Niche Owners are defined and recognized as those individuals providing full site fees to RCA for site and niche purchases.
    • Owners may be responsible for presenting proof of site or niche ownership prior to any interment or inurnment requested.
  2. Purchased sites and niches will be provided for the interment of human remains and/or cremains only, as identified by the site owner.
    • Specific interment of the remains of pets, service animals, etc. is prohibited. 
  3. Each [ground] site will be limited to receive [no more than] two interments, using the following configurations:
    • (1) Double-depth casket, followed by (1) single-depth casket.
    • (1) Single or double-depth casket, followed by (1) cremation urn.
    • (2) Cremation urns, interred either separately or simultaneously.
  4. Each [columbarium] niche space may contain [no more than] one (1) cremation urn.
  5. Site/Niche owners must be prepared to present proof of ownership by one of the following:
    • Original RCA Certificate of Sale [or] RCA Receipt of Sale (for Site purchases).
    • Original RCA License for Inurnment Agreement (for Niche purchases).
  6. CONVEYANCE OF OWNERSHIP: Site/Niche ownership, and entitlement of site/niche use for interments, may be conveyed/transferred to other individuals by one of the following processes:
    • Through probate and inheritance following the death of the original site owner:
      • Requires documented proof of entitlement by appropriate authority.
    • By sale or gift to other individual(s) or entities:
      • Requires written notification by the original owner [to RCA] requesting that site/niche ownership be transferred to other individuals identified.
    • Donation of site or niche back to RCA:
      • Owners conveying sites/niches will receive written acknowledgement of the donation to RCA [as a non-profit organization], including statement of current site and niche unit prices to confirm the value of this financial donation. 
  1. RCA will be responsible for the repair of accidental damages incurred by columbaria structures and inscribed niche panels, including all costs incurred, but not to include the repair or replacement costs of niche contents.
  2. Site and Niche owners agree to comply with all current RCA policies.

Part III:  COLUMBARIUM NICHE INSCRIPTION

This policy ensures that all Columbarium niche inscriptions present a clear, concise and consistent appearance that is respectful to each individual inurned and considerate of the overall appearance of the Columbarium unit.  This is achieved through the application of standard number of lines of text, font style and sizes, uniform spacing and other standards as described by the following:

  1. Inscriptions may include up to four lines including name, birth and death dates, and other text.
  2. A symbol, such as a cross, Star of David, or military symbol may be included on a fifth line, to be inscribed above the name.  Up to two symbols may be inscribed on this line.  (If production of a symbol requires an “art” or “set up” charge, this extra charge will be the responsibility of the niche owner or his/her representative.)
  3. The first line of text, or the first two lines as required for longer names, shall be reserved for the name of the person inurned in the niche.
  4. The next line below the name shall be reserved for birth and death years, with a hyphen separating the two dates.  If full birth and death dates (month, day. year) are used, the dates shall be inscribed on two lines.
    • For full birth and death dates, the standard format shall be month (three-letter abbreviation with a period, except for June and July which shall be spelled completely), day (one or two digits), and year (four digits).
  5. The standard font shall be Press Times Roman unless otherwise identified.
    • Names shall be inscribed at 1.50” in height.  When two lines are used for the name, the first line (first and middle names) shall be 1.25” in height, and the second line (surname) shall be 1.50” in height.
    • Dates shall be inscribed at 1.0” in height.
    • Additional text (e.g. “Beloved Wife”) shall be inscribed below the last date line at 1.0” in height.
    • Symbols shall be inscribed at 1.75” in height, and located above the first name line.

Any deviation from these policies must be approved by the RCA Board of Directors.

COLUMBARIUM NICHE INSCRIPTION OPTIONS

It is the responsibility of each niche owner to select the preferred FORMAT for the information to be engraved on the niche’s cover, by identifying one of the following Inscription Examples:

INSCRIPTION EXAMPLE #1:

Provides the following:

  • Single line for desired Religious Symbol
  • Two lines for Name of the deceased
  • Single line for Birth and Death Years only
  • Single line for brief Sentiment

INSCRIPTION EXAMPLE #2:

 Provides the following:

  • Two lines for Name of the deceased
  • Single line for Birth and Death Years only

INSCRIPTION EXAMPLE #3:

 Provides the following: 

  • Two lines for Name of the deceased
  • Single line for Full Birth Date
  • Single line for Full Death Date

IMPORTANT:

 Niche owners are advised that each black marble niche cover is a SINGLE piece of stone which simultaneously covers four individual niche spaces.  Periodically, and without notice, it may be necessary to remove this cover to perform the engraving for a neighboring niche space’s cover, and the identification of your family member’s niche will be missing as well.  PLEASE BE AWARE that this is only a temporary condition until the updated cover can be returned. 

Prior to the actual engraving of the niche panel inscription, each niche owner will be provided a draft rendering of the inscription [produced by our vendor] for final approval.  Niche inscriptions can require as much as four-six weeks before completion and return to the columbarium.

Part IV: INTERMENT ACTIVITIES

Describes the permitted scope and conduct of actual funeral services, rites, and other interment activities determined to be appropriate for, and conducive to, the historic character of this historic cemetery.  Whenever possible, within its stated mission and within the established character of this Historic District property, RCA will make efforts to accommodate respective burial services in consideration of religious affiliation:

  1. The conduct of any interment activity [i.e. funeral service] may only occur with the expressed, advanced approval of RCA.
  2. Scheduling of interments will be contingent upon the following:
    • RCA capabilities of securing contracted excavation support to open/close interment sites.
    • Physical availability and accessibility of the affected site.
    • Conflicts with previously-scheduled activities.
  3. The actual closing and securing of interment sites by RCA contractor must be completed within one (1) hour of the scheduled service start time:
    • Formal/informal service activity may continue beyond contracted service time.
  1. Site owners will be responsible for the purchase and installation of a grave liner or vault to contain the casket or remains to be interred, to be arranged through their funeral service provider.
  1. Use of urn vaults for the ground interment of cremains urns, purchased and provided by the site owner, is considered optional but recommended by RCA.
  1. Interment activities will be subject to the laws of the City of Rockville. In addition, the following are explicitly PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES as part of funeral services:
    • Use of electric or battery-powered amplification devices.
    • Release of balloons or drone devices.
    • Discharge of fireworks, firearms, or other incendiary devices or weapons.
    • Any open fires having ceremonial significance which are in direct contact with cemetery grounds, resources, or facilities, including the disposal of resulting ashes on any cemetery property.
    • Disturbance of animal life, cemetery resources, visitors, or house tenants.
  2. Ceremonial discharge of firearms by qualified providers requires the advanced expressed approval of the Rockville City Police Department.
  3. Site/Niche owners will be considered responsible for any/all damages to cemetery property or facilities resulting from interment service activities, including any required repairs and all associated costs.
    • Compensation to RCA for any/all repairs required will be pursuant to the authorization and approval of any desired site monument or niche inscription.
  4. RCA reserves the right to suspend or terminate interment service activities at any time if determined to endanger or be potentially harmful to individuals, cemetery grounds, or facilities.

Part V: MONUMENTS, MARKERS and MEMORIALS

Installation of any monument, marker, and memorial in Rockville Cemetery is subject to the following terms and conditions and approval of Rockville Cemetery Association, Inc. (RCA):

  1. Site owners are responsible for the purchase, installation and maintenance of approved monuments and memorials in perpetuity, including all associated fees and any/all actuary consideration.
  2. Site owners acknowledge and ensure that monuments et al comply with RCA policies.
  3. Rockville Cemetery Association will be the only approval authority regarding the installation of monuments, markers, and memorials in Rockville Cemetery.
  4. Monuments et al authorized by RCA are the only structures/features permitted on sites on a PERPETUAL (i.e. permanent) basis.
  5. RCA reserves the right of final approval prior to the installation of all monuments:
    • Draft specifications and images of desired monuments must be provided in writing to RCA for approval PRIOR to any monument purchase and installation, either by the site owner, purchaser, or monument service provider on their behalf.
    • Monument specifications, physical composition, and inscription content* will be evaluated to determine compatibility with the intended landscape character of this historic cemetery property:
      • *Inscription content deemed inappropriate and unacceptable includes, but is not limited to, profane language, nudity or sexual reference, images displaying inciteful or seditious content, promotion of illegal or illicit activity, and inscriptions determined to be insensitive, insulting, or derogatory toward any race, creed, nationality, or personal identity.
      • Monument inscriptions that are encouraged and acceptable include traditional quotations from religious passages, published poetry, literature quotations, or music lyrics considered representative of the deceased’s character, recognized religious and professional affiliation emblems, and classic cemetery symbolism borne from natural elements.  
  1. Monuments are to be manufactured, installed, maintained and/or repaired by qualified industry vendors, conservators, and/or certified professionals only. All monuments must include a sufficient supporting foundation of crushed stone or concrete, etc. as recommended or required by manufacturers.
  2. No installed monument may be attached or connected to existing cemetery features (e.g. structures, adjacent monuments, vegetation, utility services, etc.) to support function or appearance without the advanced written authorization of RCA.
  3. Headstones, lot markers and corner stones will be the only above-ground monument objects permitted on sites in perpetuity.  Temporary site markers, provided by the cemetery or funeral service providers, must consist of such composition and be installed in such a manner as to facilitate grounds maintenance activities with minimal impedance.
  4. No monument shall be installed on interment sites with any side being  closer than two (2) inches from respective site  borders, or exceeding 42-inches in total above-ground height, without RCA authorization. The exception will be corner stones intended to specify site locations.
  5. MEMORIALS are considered those objects intended to evoke remembrance of individual(s) interred in Rockville Cemetery and installed on acceptable locations other than interment sites.  Such objects require the approval of the RCA Board of Directors as determined by many factors including the following:
    • Form, function, design, construction, materials used, safety, area desired/required, sustainability.
    • Compatibility with the cemetery’s (1) intended historical character, (2) desired landscape scheme, and (2) existing features.
    • Potential impacts to (1) cemetery function, (2) grounds maintenance, and (3) natural features.
    • Requestor’s ability to provide funding to produce and install the memorial object. 
  6. RCA DISCLAIMER: With regards to installed monuments, Rockville Cemetery Association, Inc. will be indemnified against any claim of financial compensation or responsibility for the following:
    • The inherent physical capabilities of any site to support desired monuments.
    • Damages incurred as a result of defects in materials, improper installation or maintenance activities, and/or improper cleaning or repair processes.
    • Damages resulting from existing conditions including, but not limited to, geology, topography, climate, natural features, wildlife activities, contracted service providers, interment service activities, malicious or criminal acts, accidents involving visitors and/or vehicles, and acts of God.
  7. At any time and without prior notification, RCA reserves the right to stabilize, conserve or repair, or remove any monument it determines to be dangerous, improperly installed, unstable, potentially hazardous, or deemed offensive or a threat to any individual(s). RCA will attempt to notify site owners prior to such response.

Part VI: FLORAL TRIBUTES and DECORATIONS

RCA welcomes and encourages traditional floral decorations at grave sites.  This policy serves as guidance to support all decorations in a manner that is considerate of families, adjoining sites, and ongoing efforts to maintain this historic burial ground with dignity.  We appreciate the cooperation of all visitors regarding the following:

  1. PERPETUAL DISPLAY: Traditional headstones, monuments, and markers installed by qualified vendors are the only PERMANENT “decoration” object permitted on grave sites:
    • Small, temporary signage markers, typically provided by funeral service providers, are permitted on interment sites for site identification purposes only and until permanent monuments can be manufactured and installed.
  2. GENERAL DISPLAY CONDITIONS:
    • All floral tributes and decorations placed on grave sites are considered TEMPORARY.
    • Decorations should not extend onto or over adjacent sites.
    • Decorations may not exceed 4-feet in height.
    • Decorations must be self-supporting, and not attached to cemetery structures, trees, etc.
    • “Saddle” devices designed for affixing floral displays securely to monuments are the only such device permitted to be attached to headstones.
    • Water service is not available in the cemetery.  Bring all water required for containers.
  3. CONTAINERS:
    • GLASS AND CERAMIC CONTAINERS ARE PROHIBITED FOR SAFETY REASONS.
    • Use RECYCLABLE metal, plastic and paper materials ONLY to support floral displays.
  4. FLORAL TRIBUTES:
    • LIVE CUT FLOWERS: May be placed on graves year-round.
    • ARTIFICIAL FLOWERS: Are encouraged during colder weather months, acceptable for use year-round, but not permitted as permanent display.
    • LIVE POTTED PLANTS: May be placed on graves, but not inserted below ground level.
  5. BENCHES: Considered MEMORIAL objects requiring RCA approval. (See Part 5, Item #10)
  6. HOLIDAY DECORATIONS:
    • MEMORIAL DAY: RCA posts U.S. flags on graves of U.S. military veterans.
    • VETERANS DAY: RCA supports placement of U.S. flags on U.S. veterans’ graves.
    • CHRISTMAS: Wreaths and seasonal decorations are permitted on graves beginning Thanksgiving Day through the holiday season and will be removed by RCA after February 1.
    • FOR ALL OTHER HOLIDAYS: Decorations permitted 7 days prior to 7 days after.
  7. PROHIBITED ITEMS include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
    • Objects or substance determined to be hazardous to humans, wildlife, or natural resources, or damaging to cemetery grounds and facilities.
    • Objects considered offensive to specific individuals or profane in content
    • Objects and substances determined to be in violation of local laws.  
    • Glass, ceramic, wire or other easily-breakable and potentially hazardous containers or objects.
    • Weapons or ammunition, matches/lighters, fireworks or other incendiary devices.
    • Alcoholic beverages and their containers.
    • Plant stands, shepherd’s hooks, supported banners, etc. of perpetual intent.
    • Illumination devices, battery or solar-powered lights, candles or open flames.
    • Landscaping accessories, including paving & border stones, ceramic/stone/other figurines, benches, stone chips, shells, etc.
    • Organic items (e.g., produce, fruit, feed, suet, canned items, seeds, etc.) intended symbolically or for wildlife consumption.
    • Toys, decorative/symbolic stones, or other loose objects on turf areas, as potentially hazardous to lawn maintenance equipment.
    • Planting of seeds, bulbs, plants, sod, unauthorized treatment of turf areas, or application of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc.
    • Any item or device designed or intended to create or emit audible sound, including wind chimes, rattles, etc.
    • Tethered, loose objects, including balloons, kites, dream catchers, wind catchers, whirlybirds, hanging spinners, etc.
  8. GROUNDS MAINTENANCE CONSIDERATIONS:
    • March 1 – Oct. 31, decorations may be moved to accommodate maintenance.
    • Recycled Decorations: Decorations intended for recycled use should be removed by owners shortly after desired placement dates, as objects determined to be outdated, well-worn, or damaged may be removed/disposed by RCA volunteers. 
  9. DISCLAIMERS:
    • Rockville Cemetery Association assumes no responsibility for items left at grave sites. Due to the open nature of the grounds, we cannot guarantee against damages, theft, loss, vandalism, environmental effects, or impacts by wildlife and climate conditions.
    • At any time without notice, Rockville Cemetery Association [RCA] reserves the right to remove any objects from cemetery property.

Part VII: MONUMENT INSTALLATION GUIDELINES

The following will be required of any vendor, contractor, or service provider (i.e. “Contractor”), including all other subcontractors working on their behalf, who are operating on Rockville Cemetery property for the purpose of installing, maintaining, and/or repairing any monument, marker, or memorial, as approved by Rockville Cemetery Association:

  1. Upon request of RCA, the Contractor must be able to provide proof of Bonding, Licensing, and Insurance to actively operate in the State of Maryland.
  2. Contractor must contact RCA for approval and authorization PRIOR to performing any work involving the installation of new, or maintenance of existing, monuments. 
    • RCA agrees to confirm the appropriate date and time period for service activities, as well as visibly identify specific site location(s), accessibility concerns, and all other required conditions regarding the affected site(s), prior to the work to be performed.
  3. For the installation of new monuments, markers, and memorials:
    • Including a sufficient foundation of crushed stone or concrete, as prescribed by the manufacturer and according to industry standards, so as to provide for sustained viability, stability, and safety of monuments.
    • Ensuring that installations are completed in such manner as to provide accurate placement and proper alignment with adjacent monuments, as indicated by RCA.
    • Removal and disposal of any/all debris, excess sod or soil, or other materials resulting from the work performed completely from cemetery property.
  4. Contractor must provide any/all personnel, vehicles, materials, equipment, utility services (e.g., water, electricity, etc.), required to complete all work to be performed.
  5. Contractor must apply all materials and procedures necessary to minimize impacts to visitors, natural features, cemetery facilities, turf areas, and existing monuments.
    • Whenever possible, park vehicles on paved surfaces to minimize turf impacts.
  6. No existing cemetery monument, structure, feature, etc. will be used to support any installation process or monument component, temporarily or in perpetuity.
  7. DISCARDING ANY MATERIALS ON CEMETERY PROPERTY IS PROHIBITED.
  8. Rockville Cemetery Association, Inc. will be indemnified against any claim of property loss or personal injury while operating on Rockville Cemetery property.

Failure by any contracted service provider to comply with these guidelines or perform any work on cemetery property without authorization by RCA may be justification for suspension or termination of future operation on Rockville Cemetery property.

Rockville Cemetery Association, Inc. [RCA] is recognized by the IRS as a private 501(c)13 non-profit organization.  As the owner of Rockville Cemetery, this association is responsible for the regular review and revision of these policies as required for the benefit of the public it serves and the administration and maintenance of this historic cemetery.  

Questions and/or comments regarding these policies may be forwarded to the attention of RCA by contacting us through our website at:  (rockvillecemeterymd.org/contact), or by written mail addressed to: President, Rockville Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 4318, Rockville, MD 20849.

We thank you for your interest and support!

Phone: 301-309-0191

Email: rockvillecemeterymd@gmail.com

Location: 1350 Baltimore Rd, Rockville, MD 20851

Mailing Address: PO Box 4318, Rockville, MD 20849

CEMETERY HOURS: Daily from Dawn to Dusk

NOTE: No office facilities on site.

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