Monday, December 1, 2008

Fire Place History Club Urges Cemetery Maintenance

The following letter was sent on behalf of the Fire Place History Club on October 10, 2008.  As of  December 1, 2008, no response has been received.  This is not surprising, given the general nonresponsiveness of Brookhaven Town government, regardless of party, to citizen inquiries.  I can assure you that if we represented real estate interests, we would have not have been ignored!

Supervisor Brian X. Foley
Town of
One Independence Hill
Farmingville, New York 11738

October 10, 2008 

Dear Supervisor Foley, Members of the Council, 

The duty of the Town, pursuant to Article 17, § 291 of the Town Law of the State of New York, is to maintain abandoned cemeteries or burial grounds. 

The members of the Fire Place History Club have, for many years, been working to maintain historic cemeteries in Brookhaven and South Haven Hamlets, Town of Brookhaven, as a vital component of our historical and cultural heritage. We recently started a restoration program for these cemeteries, some of which have suffered significant deterioration. The community has been very supportive, both financially and in terms of volunteer work. It is our concern that, without appropriate long-term and consistent Town maintenance, they will again deteriorate after this work is completed. In perhaps another generation they will be lost forever. 

As stated above, the Town of Brookhaven is legally obligated to maintain these cemeteries. We have met several times with officers and representatives of the Town expressing our concerns and reiterating the Town’s duty. As far as we have been able to determine, all the cemeteries and burial grounds of interest are under Town ownership. We have provided the Town Parks department with all the necessary information as to their locations and their needs, and have repeatedly asked that they receive the minimal maintenance required.

We know that the Town has many obligations, but we ask that the Town Board pass a resolution requiring the Parks Department to immediately implement a long-term maintenance program for the cemeteries in accordance with NYS Town Law, Article 17, § 291.

Please provide us with a copy of the plan or proposal for the long-term maintenance and safe-keeping of Town cemeteries, by January 1, 2009. 

The need is urgent due to ongoing deterioration. Without corrective action, our commitment to those who rest in these burying grounds will impel us to file an Article 78 action so that this important cultural and historic heritage of our Town is not forever lost.


Martin Van Lith
18 River Lane
Brookhaven, NY 11719

John Deitz
7 Locust Lane
Brookhaven, NY 11719

Ron Kinsella
Meadow Lane
Brookhaven, NY 11719

Eben Ludlow
1 Chapel Ave
Brookhaven, NY 11719

Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfel
Councilwoman Jane Bonner
Councilwoman Kathleen Walsh
Councilwoman Connie Kepert
Councilman Timothy P. Mazzei
Councilman Keith Romaine
Edward Morris, Parks Dept
Karen M. Wilutis, Town Attny.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

brookhaven town bidded out the maintance of the historicial cemeteries approx. three years ago. bids ranged from 26,000 to 100,000 than after the bidding was completed the town declined to award them to any bidder. the town stated that the parks dept. would do them in house on a regular basis. The town historian stated the town is responsible to maintain them no less than two times a year. many of these cemetaries have not been maintained in years by the town. many of these cemeteries require days worth of work to bring to decent condition.