N.Y. Town Law Section 291
Burial grounds


The title to every lot or piece of land which shall have been used by the inhabitants of any town in this state as a cemetery or burial ground for the space of fourteen years shall be deemed to be vested in such town, and shall be subject in the same manner as other corporate property of towns, to the government and direction of the town board. In any town the town board may adopt regulations for the proper care of any such cemetery and burial ground and regulating the burial of the dead therein. It shall be the duty of the town board to remove the grass and weeds from any such cemetery or burial ground in any such town at least three times in each year, and to erect and maintain suitable fences around such cemetery or burial ground. The town board of any town must also provide for the removal of grass and weeds at least twice in each year from any cemetery or burial ground, by whomsoever owned, in such town, where such control is not vested by other provisions of law in the town or in trustees or other corporate body, and provide for the preservation, care and fencing of any such cemetery and the town board of any town must also provide for the removal of grass and weeds from all cemeteries, other than private burial grounds, which are abandoned or not controlled by any existing board or body and for the care of which there exists no special fund or endowment and such duties shall be performed under the supervision of the town board, or a person whom the town board may designate; provided, however, that such duties shall not be exercised in respect to any private ground or particular lot or lots therein after the true owner or owners thereof file written objections thereto with the town clerk. The cost and expenses of any officer or person in performing any duties under or pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be a town charge, and the town board shall appropriate and provide annually the moneys necessary for carrying out the provisions of this section, and make the same available for the proper officer or persons by whom the moneys are required to be expended. The town board may also receive and execute any trust for the care of any cemetery which the town is required to care for pursuant to the provisions of this section and to receive and execute any trust for the care of lots in any such cemetery.


Burial grounds and cemeteries of which the title is vested in or the care or control is charged upon any town, by virtue of this section, shall not be taxed or assessed for any local improvement or other purpose whatsoever by any village, and no action shall be maintained against any town to recover the cost of any local improvement or municipal charge, based on town ownership or care of such burial grounds, the provisions of any special, local or general statute whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding.


Upon the adoption of a resolution therefor, the town board may construct and maintain permanent improvements in any one or more of the classes of cemeteries described herein and may acquire, by purchase or condemnation, additional lands for cemetery or burial ground purposes, whenever in the judgment of the town board it is necessary or advisable that such improvements be made or additional lands be acquired. If the expenditure for such improvements or acquisition is in excess of one thousand five hundred dollars and is to be paid by taxes levied for the fiscal year in which such expenditure is to be made, or paid from the proceeds of town obligations, the adoption of any such resolution or resolutions shall be subject to a permissive referendum. The improvements so made or the lands so acquired shall be used only for the purposes authorized by this article but such cemeteries or burial grounds so improved or enlarged shall not be subject to conveyance or transfer pursuant to § 292 (Transfer of burial grounds to cemetery corporation)section two hundred ninety-two of this article. The expense of such improvements and/or the acquiring of such lands may be financed in the manner provided in article 15 (Financing of Public Improvements)article fifteen of this chapter for the financing of general improvements.


Notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon the adoption of a resolution therefor, the town board of the town of Southampton may transfer title to the cemetery vested in such town, located at the corner of Madison street and Latham street and bearing Suffolk county tax map identification number 473609-3-4-27, to the village of Sag Harbor, provided, however, that such transfer shall be made only upon the adoption of a resolution by the board of trustees of the village of Sag Harbor, requesting the town of Southampton to make such transfer.

Source: Section 291 — Burial grounds, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/TWN/291 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Jul. 20, 2024).

Jul. 20, 2024

Last modified:
Sep. 22, 2014

§ 291’s source at nysenate​.gov

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