COVINGTON -- It's not yet clear whether the city of Covington will be able to expand Southview Cemetery, but there is already a waiting list just in case.
The city is waiting for conclusive results on unmarked gravesite locations from Omega Mapping before determining whether additional space is available. It's been years since any lots were sold at the cemetery off Conyers Street.
Local businessman Billy Fortson recently received approval from the City Council to donate a portion of his property on Church Street in order to create burial lots for himself and his wife.
Following that request, Ester Fleming requested to be put on a waiting list for any additional lots that may become available. Though the number of additional lots that may be created, or even if more lots will be created, is not yet known, the City Council agreed to create a waiting list. So far, there are about half a dozen names.
At least two city residents are not happy with efforts to expand the cemetery. Mark and Alison Davis attended Monday's council meeting to complain that their property abutting the cemetery will suffer diminished value and potentially more stormwater runoff due to the Fortsons' plan. About 90 feet of the couple's property abuts the cemetery and now that will nearly triple, Mark Davis said.
At a minimum, the Davises want a fence and buffer blocking the view of tombstones. They also requested priority on purchasing additional lots that may be sold near their property so they can put in groundmarkers rather than tombstones. The council agreed to putting the Davises on the waiting list but not to give them priority. They did not take action on the request to stop the expansion or erect a fence.
Meanwhile, City Manager Steve Horton advised the council that it may want to change pricing for cemetery lots. Under the current code, lots are $25 each, and perpetual care costs are $150 for two grave lots, $200 for four, $300 for eight, 10 and 12.
"I don't know where you can go anywhere else and buy grave lots for that fee," he said, adding that staff will research what other cities charge to determine if those values need to be changed.