Braintree town councilors will vote again on the question of relabeling 28 acres of land at the Blue Hills Cemetery at their Feb. 7 meeting, after some feared that the topic wasn’t properly posted.
At their meeting this week, councilors discussed recognizing the land next to the Blue Hills Cemetery offices as part of the cemetery, which has been operated on West Street since the 1890s.
Currently, only the land on the northern side of West Street is used for burials, with the land on the southern side used for the caretaker’s house, the maintenance shed, and cemetery administrative offices.
Cemetery staff would like to see a portion of the southern side of the land recognized for burial in order to construct a crematory on the property, as according to town laws, crematories cannot be built unless they are located within the limits of the cemetery.
Although Blue Hills Cemetery personnel received Board of Health approval for the measure on Dec. 15, the organization still needed Town Council approval.
In an unusual move, councilors took same-night action on the request at their meeting on Tuesday, skipping the step of sending it to committee for review and instead voting on it with the full council.
Hearing no objections, the item passed unanimously. However, because the posting of the issue was missing a word, and because of the unusual same-night passage, the item will be taken up again on Feb. 7.
Councilor Charles Ryan had no comment on the validity of the vote, but noted that Mayor Sullivan supported the plan for a crematory at the cemetery as long as the land was not used for traditional burials.
Those sentiments were echoed in a letter the mayor wrote to the council, which said that “while I concur with the Board of Health’s approval of the southern parcel for certain uses consistent with the operation of a cemetery such as the crematory, it is my understanding that much of this parcel is wetlands or within the Watershed Protection District, and in my opinion, this southern parcel may not be suitable for casket burials.”
The $1 million crematory will be approximately 3,000 square feet. Cemetery staff were not immediately available for comment.