Brown Signs Legislation to Allow Non-Residents to be Buried in Davis Cemeteries

The Davis Cemetery District can now bury up to 500 persons who aren’t residents of the district at the 820 Pole Line Road cemetery, thanks to legislation signed July 25 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

According to the measure’s author — Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, a Davis Democrat — the bill is needed because the Jewish section of the cemetery is nearly full. Yolo County’s only synagogue is buying a second round of plots but under current law some members of the congregation who don’t live in the cemetery district can’t be buried there.

Here’s the problem: A cemetery district must limit interments to persons who reside in the district, persons who used to live in the district but acquired interment rights before they left, persons who pay property taxes within the district and persons who formerly paid property taxes in the cemetery district but acquired burial rights while paying those property taxes.

Family members of those persons are also eligible.

Ben Haverim is the only synagogue in Yolo County. Some of its members do not live within the Davis Cemetery District and, without Yamada’s bill, can participate in the group plot purchase.

As part of the argument in favor of the measure, Yamada notes that the district has determined it has a 300-year supply of plots so including a few non-residents won’t squeeze anybody out.

There is precedent for the exception Yamada seeks.

Last year, Assemblyman Kevin Jefferies, a Riverside Republican, won a comparable exemption for the Elsinore Valley Cemetery District.

Fifteen years ago, the district purchased an adjoining Jewish cemetery. A decline in the local Jewish population led to a decline in the number of interments, precipitating the sale.

The cemetery district uses the acquired site only for burials of members of the local Jewish community.

A rabbi asked that the area be used for the burial of Jews who live outside the cemetery district, requiring an exemption from current law.

On its 20 “developed” acres, the Elsinore Valley Cemetery District has 7,800 burials, the Assembly Floor analysis of Jefferies’ measure states.

Like the Davis district there’s still plenty of room in the Elsinore district – an estimated 5,000 plots. Six “undeveloped” acres also remain.

The analysis of Jefferies’ measure says allowing residents outside the district to be buried there would be both a “service to neighboring Jewish communities and additional revenue for the (cemetery district).”

Similarly, the analysis for Yamada’s bill says her bill will allow the Davis district to “provide a service to meet the unique needs of their community and surrounding areas.”



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