A widower in Alabama is fighting for his right to keep his wife's burial plot...in his front yard.
James Davis, 73, was sued by his home city of Stevenson in 2009 for his decision to bury his deceased wife in the patch of grass in front of his home. The plot is just a few feet from a downtown Stevenson street. While the move was approved by the county health department, it was rejected by Stevenson's city council, which prompted a court to rule in favor of the city earlier this year, a ruling now on hold while the state appeals court weighs in.
"There shouldn't have been a problem," says Davis, whose insistence on the right to bury where he did is backed up by what the Associated Presscalls northeast Alabama's "strong libertarian streak." He's now protesting by running for city council, complete with campaign signs sharing yard space next to the non-partisan message: "Let Patsy Rest in Peace."
But it's a sentiment not shared by the city, at least in its current form. "We're not in the 1800s any longer," said city attorney Parker Edmiston. "We're not talking about a homestead...Mr. Davis lives in downtown Stevenson."
My thoughts too. Not only does it make it harder to sell, but what happens to the grave when it DOES sell? Either part of the agreement of the sale is that the grave be undisturbed, making it a difficult sell, as you say. Or the new owner may just have her dug up or paved over. Even if the house is passed down within the family, sooner or later, the grave will be disturbed or covered. Heck, even cemeteries aren't sacred anymore. Real estate people often acquire grave yards and "relocate" the graves.
"After his wife died on April 18, 2009, the City Council rejected Davis' request for a cemetery permit. The decision came even though the county health department signed off on the residential burial, saying it wouldn't cause any sanitation problems."
"city officials worry about the precedent set by allowing a grave on a residential lot on one of the main streets through town...and have cited concerns about long-term care, appearance, property values and the complaints of some neighbors."
In other words, there is absolutely no valid reason or compelling public interest why they are giving this man a hard time, except that they want to control every aspect of people's lives.
I'm on the homeowner's side. Although the law that allows him to bury his wife on his property is probably outdated, it's still on the books. If he was within his right legally, well them whats the problem. If they didn't like the law then they should have gotten it off of the books. Since they didn't, tough. Leave him alone and fix the law so that it doesn't happen again.
This is that nosy neighbor thing again. It's all comes down to appearance. Anything that makes use uncomfortable must be hidden or outlawed. People have no appreciation of the sentiment behind why he wants her buried there. The most important part to remember he has no rights over his own land and I mean none. It shows me where we are in this country and where were going. Leave the man alone.
Well, this is a strange situation. I wonder if the State of Alabama has rules for this. In Texas, for example, the Texas Health and Safety Code sets the rules for this kind of thing. However, municipalities have the right to set zoning laws and police health and safety codes concerning interment practices within their bounds....as long as they are not contrary to state law.
why is it that we can not be buried or ashes spread where we would like ( with all health boards ok). To be honest I have never heard of this Alabama town, but he obviously wants her with him at their home. I see nothing wrong with this, except for the ppl who have nothing to do but gripe.
Well I would say...anyone of the people on this site who have supported this old guy....My guess is...(since he is up in age)...that many of the supporting posters on here are making plans to fly to Alabama to buy & live in this property...But there is one catch...The supporters here all insist that since his wife is in the front yard, they want him to be planted in the back yard....(they don't want to break up a set)...
Oh this is SOOOO Silly...Come-on...Who would want to live next door to a house with a dead person buried in the front yard...Sometimes I just don't understand people?!?!? I know that burying his wife in his front yard might mean a lot to HIM...But what about others who live in the community....Believe it or not..there are some limits to our "freedoms"...
Meh......who wants to live next to a cemetary? Who wants to live next to yappy dogs? If it's his property,(and at 73 his property was probably grandfathered in around newer city statutes) he has every right to do with it what he wishes.
Besides, the funeral home/mortuary/cemetary business is a scam.
@CanisCanemEdit ---Lets just disagree on this one, and leave it at that...I just don't see how (like you said) anyone would want to live next door to a cemetary. As always an individuals "rights" have to weighed in the balance with someone else's rights as well....This is one of those instances...So lets just agree to disagree on this one...fair enough?
like the article says,it is not the 18th century anymore,so why be afraid of a grave next door,lots of people live next to cemetery in the city.and if that is an accurate picture of his lot,it is probably 100 ft or so to his neighbor
+Yes, you just can't go around burying bodies wherever you like, no matter who they are...they have Cemetaries for that, or crematoriums. You can' t have graves in every ones front lawns. He's not going to live forever and who will want a house w/ dead bodies buried on it.? The Real Estate market is already at an all time low! Craaaaazy!
It's very close to the downtown area. Many people do not want graves in peoples front yards...it's weird! I'd never buy a home with a body buried on the front lawn, I don't care if their buried 20 feet under. It may be different if he lived in Wyoming or some other state where there are hundreds of miles of open areas, but not in a residential area, The man is a nut and he's wearing "farmer jeans" !!! lmao
@mimi57 ---Yeah, I think you are right. I think this guy is probably playing with "half a deck". My question is: does he have a family nearby. If he does they should be helping him at this time...A family member should, for example, pull him aside and say..."pop, maybe we should think about this for a moment"...And if its about money to put her in a cemetary, they should be likewise be helping him...But how about a "compromise"...if he must have his deceased wife near him...then what's wrong with cremation and keeping the ashes inside his house...That's what most sane people would do....I think this guy has "lost it" mentally...and that's understandable---he is up in age, and has lost his wife....So someone close to him should tell him...."no, you can't bury dead people in your front lawn"....
@Sonny~ I work with mentally ill people. Schizophrenics, people who are severely bi-polar, borderline personality disorders, etc. So...ya kinda know it when ya see it! LOL... It is sad, and you're right, he should have a family member or good friend to help him make a decision as to what he should do with her remains. He may be seeking attention,but give the woman a decent burial in an appropriate place, or have her cremated and put her ashes on the mantle. Burying people in the yard is just sooo wrong! And the decorations are terrible he could use some advice on that too! (Smiling)...