NC Statutes Concerning Cemeteries

NC General Assembly

Thank you, John Grimes, for pointing us to the pertinent statutes.

 

Article 10. Access to and Maintenance of Private Graves and Abandoned
Public Cemeteries.
Sections 65-74 and 65-75:

§ 65-74. Entering public or private property to maintain or
visit a private grave or an abandoned public cemetery
with consent.

Any of the following persons, with the consent of the
public or private landowner, may enter the property of another
to discover, restore, maintain, or visit a private grave or
abandoned public cemetery:
(1) A descendant of the person whose remains are
reasonably believed to be interred in the grave;
(2) A descendant's designee; or
(3) Any other person who has a special personal
interest in the grave or abandoned public cemetery.
(1987, c. 686, s. 1; 1991, c. 36, s. 1.)

§ 65-75. Entering public or private property to maintain or
visit a private grave or an abandoned public cemetery
without consent.

(a) If the consent of the landowner cannot be obtained,
any person listed in G.S. 65-74(1), (2), or (3) may commence a
special proceeding by petitioning the clerk of superior court of
the county in which the petitioner has reasonable grounds to
believe the deceased is buried, or in the case of an abandoned
public cemetery, in the county in which the abandoned public
cemetery is located, for an order allowing the petitioner to
enter the property to discover, restore, maintain, or visit the
grave or abandoned public cemetery. The petition shall be
verified. The special proceeding shall be in accordance with the
provisions of Articles 27A and 33 of Chapter 1 of the General
Statutes. The clerk shall issue an order allowing the petitioner
to enter the property if the clerk finds all of the following:
(1) There are reasonable grounds to believe that the
grave or abandoned public cemetery is located on
the property or that it is reasonably necessary to
enter or cross the landowner's property to reach
the grave or abandoned public cemetery.
(2) The petitioner, or his designee, is a descendant of
the deceased, or that the petitioner has a special
interest in the grave or abandoned public cemetery.
(3) The entry on the property would not unreasonably
interfere with the enjoyment of the property by the
landowner.
(b) The clerk's order may:
(1) Specify the dates and the daylight hours that the
petitioner may enter and remain on the property;
(2) Grant to the petitioner the right to enter the
landowner's property periodically, as specified in
the order, after the time needed for initial
restoration of the grave or abandoned public
cemetery; or
(3) Specify a reasonable route from which the
petitioner may not deviate in all entries and exits
from the property. (1987, c. 686, s. 1; 1991, c.
36, s. 1; 1999-216, s. 12.)

Article 22.

Sections 14-147 and 14-148:

§ 14-147. Removing, altering or defacing landmarks.

If any person, firm or corporation shall knowingly
remove, alter or deface any landmark in anywise whatsoever, or
shall knowingly cause such removal, alteration or defacement to
be done, such person, firm or corporation shall be guilty of a
Class 2 misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to landmarks,
such as creeks and other small streams, which the interest of
agriculture may require to be altered or turned from their
channels, nor to such persons, firms or corporations as own the
fee simple in the lands on both sides of the lines designated by
the landmarks removed, altered or defaced. Nor shall this
section apply to those adjoining landowners who may by agreement
remove, alter or deface landmarks in which they alone are
interested. (1858-9, c. 17; Code, s. 1063; Rev., s. 3674; 1915,
c. 248; C.S., s. 4319; 1993, c. 539, s. 86; 1994, Ex. Sess., c.
24, s. 14(c).)

§ 14-148. Defacing or desecrating grave sites.

(a) It is unlawful to willfully:
(1) Throw, place or put any refuse, garbage or trash in
or on any cemetery;
(2) Take away, disturb, vandalize, destroy or change
the location of any stone, brick, iron or other
material or fence enclosing a cemetery without
authorization of law or consent of the surviving
spouse or next of kin of the deceased thereby
causing damage of less than one thousand dollars
($1,000); or
(3) Take away, disturb, vandalize, destroy, tamper with
or deface any tombstone, headstone, monument, grave
marker, grave ornamentation, grave artifacts,
shrubbery, flowers, plants or other articles within
any cemetery erected or placed to designate where a
body is interred or to preserve and perpetuate the
memory and name of any person, without
authorization of law or the consent of the
surviving spouse or next of kin, thereby causing
damage of less than one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a
professional archaeologist as defined in G.S. 70-28(4) acting
pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 70 of the
General Statutes.
(c) Violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. In
passing sentence, the court shall consider the appropriateness
of restitution or reparation as a condition of probation under
G.S. 15A-1343(b)(6) as an alternative to actual imposition of a
fine, jail term, or both. (1840, c. 6; R.C., c. 34, s. 102;
Code, s. 1088; Rev., s. 3680; C.S., s. 4320; 1969, c. 987; 1981,
c. 752, s. 1, c. 853, s. 4; 1993, c. 539, s. 87; 1994, Ex.
Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

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Created: Feb. 19, 2004.

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