Ohioans facing issues with cemeteries can file complaints

Staff report

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and many Ohioans will visit cemeteries during the holiday weekend to pay their respects to loved ones and our nation’s veterans. The visits sometimes lead to unwanted family frustrations when the cemetery is not well kept, and often people do not know where to turn for help. That is where the Ohio Department of Commerce gets involved.

There are laws and guidelines in place for maintenance and operation of cemeteries. The guidelines include cutting the grass at least once a month during the grow season, removing trash and funeral flowers once a month and maintaining and repairing roads, buildings, structures and fencing as necessary. Rules regarding flowers and decorations should be posted at the cemetery and all other rules should be available upon request.

“We cherish our cemeteries because they are an important part of our history and they serve as the final resting place of our veterans and loved ones,” Ohio Department of Commerce Director Jacqueline T. Williams said. “These guidelines serve as a way to protect their final resting place and ensure Ohioans can honor their loved ones without any worry.”

In the case that those guidelines are not being met, Ohioans should first bring the matter to the attention of the cemetery’s management.

If the issue cannot be resolved, they may file a complaint with the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission. A copy of your complaint will be sent to the cemetery operator for a response. If a response is not issued within 30 days of the complaint, the complainant and cemetery operator will receive a notice to appear before the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission. The Commission works to resolve disputes using informal methods of mediation and conciliation.

Cemetery complaint forms are available online or by contacting the Division at (614) 466-4100. Suggested minimum maintenance and operating guidelines can be found online.

Staff report