Friday, January 30, 2009

Bibb County, Ga.: Beyond the headlines

I've done a little Web searching about the efforts to ban green cemeteries in Bibb County, Georgia, via the commissioners' ill-conceived and ill-advised amendments to their cemetery code. Here's a sampling of what I've found.
First, we have some eloquent comments from author Mark Harris, who helped turn me on to the subject of cemeteries when he was interviewed on NPR's "Fresh Air," and I was searching for a topic for my Land Use class.
In his letter to the commissioners, Harris references an endorsement of the Summerland Natural Cemetery from the Funeral Consumers Alliance's executive director, Joshua Slocum.
The also has a summary from it's Atlanta political blogger, Perry B. Goodfriend. Frankly, he raises a good point (whether he did it intentionally or otherwise might be open to debate that the Wall Street Journal article takes note that such a cemetery would be utilized by " 'old hippies,' penny pinchers, environmentalists and Muslims -- who traditionally bury the dead without caskets." I read right over that; or at least it didn't register to me how stinging - snarky?! - the comment is.
Here is a piece from April 2008 in which the county Zoning and Planning Commission gave its initial approval. Since this was OK'd before the county commissioners amended the cemetery code, this leads me to wonder whether Summerland is grandfathered in. Stay tuned.

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