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At issue is the refusal of a property owner to allow entry to the cemetery, even with advance notice. There is an active cemetery association which had previously been allowed entry for burial, gravesite maintenance, and visitation until sometime after the current owner bought the property.
Texas law requires that any person who wishes to visit a cemetery or private burial grounds where there is no public access shall have the right to reasonable ingress and egress over your property to visit the cemetery during reasonable hours. [Texas Health & Safety Code §711.041]. The law also provides a process for negotiating a written agreement between the property owner(s) and those wishing access to a cemetery without public access that would be filed with and enforced by the Texas Funeral Service Commission. [Texas Administrative Code §205.2].
In spite of the Texas law cited above, the owner refuses to allow unrestricted entry to the cemetery. The issue is being taken up with the court, with a trial set for 7 August 2013 in the Court House Annex, Burnet, Texas. See court document at, http://www.smithcemeteryoakalla.org/category/uncategorized/page/2 (scroll down to ***Court Documents***) which explains in detail the conflict between Smith Cemetery Association and the landowner.
The Burnet County Historical Commission unanimously supports the plaintif's actions to petition the court for reasonable access to the cemetery site and we encourage others in the community, county and state (and elsewhere) to stand with us. Help us convince the owners that allowing family members to visit the gravesites of their loved ones or ancestors is in the best interest of the community to preserve and respect our county history.
One day you may want to visit a cemetery to do research, to document the past, or simply to pay your respects to honor a veteran on Memorial or Veterans Day. Sign the petition today and tell your friends and neighbors about this issue. Urge them to sign the petition, too, and hopefully the matter will be resolved in a manner so that you won't be facing something similar.
Visit the Smith Cemetery website at http://www.smithcemeteryoakalla.org/
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