City of Plattsmouth

PLATTSMOUTH – New rules and more clarification on what can and can’t be placed on gravesites at Oakhill Cemetery were presented during a public hearing at the Plattsmouth City Council on Monday evening.

These rules were the result of meetings with the public by a three-member committee of council members appointed to review procedures on how to address memorials placed at gravesites by loved ones. Those members were Morgan Muller, Steve Riese and Jeanie Brookhouser.

Controversy arose earlier this year when city crews removed grave memorials without public notice.

According to the new rules:

  • No trees, shrubs, flowers or any vegetation should be planted, cut down, removed or trimmed by anyone other than city employees without written request and approval by the Public Works Department director.
  • Placement of any type of border is prohibited.
  • No loose items of any kind are permitted. Only the following items will be allowed to be placed at the headstone or its base: shepherd’s hooks, permanent vases, flower saddles, one vigil light or U.S. flags.
  • U.S. flags will be permitted year round, but must be of cloth and not to exceed 12 inches by 18 inches. They must also be placed in a metal flag or a permanent holder abutting the headstone.
  • Artificial or real flowers will be permitted year round only in permanent vases or in headstone saddles.
  • Wreaths and grave blankets will be permitted from November 15 through March 1. Such decorations will be removed by city employees after March 1.
  • Shepherd hooks with a single or double hook will be permitted. There will be no more than one per grave and must be placed at the headstone.
  • Vigil lights, also known as grave or eternity lights, will be permitted, one on each grave, and must be placed and secured at the headstone.

Muller said the number of rules was reduced from 10 to eight.

“We simply clarified what was there,” he said.

Greg Hughes, a spokesman for concerned residents on the city’s handling of grave memorials, said rules should be made by a cemetery board authorized by city code.

“There is still no cemetery board,” Hughes said after the meeting. “It should be the board’s job to make rules.”

There is a board, but it’s not active, Riese said.

“We need to make it active,” he said.

The council did not take any action on the new rules.

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