Keeping it clean: Town OKs Rose Cemetery rules

Published 10:03 am Thursday, August 4, 2022

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By Jeanna Baxter White

Word Master Media Group

Mocksville Town Board members have added new rules as to where flowers and other items can be placed on gravesites at Rose Cemetery.

The changes are for the safety of staff and visitors and to help property maintain the cemetery, said Chris Vaughn,  the town’s parks and grounds director.

The most significant change involves the types of remembrances that may be placed at a grave during the high maintenance season.

From March 21 until the week of Thanksgiving, only floral arrangements placed in a vase permanently affixed to a grave marker will be allowed. Other floral arrangements, toys, balloons, and other items are prohibited and will be removed. Since grounds maintenance is minimal from the last week of November to February each year, additional seasonal arrangements will be allowed during that time.

Parks and Grounds Director Chris Parks with a violation sign. – Photos by Jeanna Baxter White

“We aren’t doing this to be insensitive or disrespectful to anyone’s family members. We are doing this to make the graveyard as presentable as possible to honor those who have gone on before us,”  Vaughn said..

The Parks and Grounds department mows, trims, and blows grass and debris off of every gravestone each week. Walking through the cemetery, he pointed out some issues impeding their efforts.

“Here is a plot we haven’t been able to trim around because if we hit one of these flowers, it will become 25 pieces to pick up instead of one.”

Stones with loose objects on top can’t be blown off because the items will be blown off, too. Loose items can also be safety hazards. Vaughn pointed out that a glass vase that comes in contact with a weed trimmer becomes flying shrapnel that can injure staff and damage equipment. Metal stakes used to affix figurines and other items to the ground can pierce a foot or puncture a tire.

He said flowers and unsecured objects get blown all over the cemetery during high winds and storms and have been retrieved as far away as Main Street. Balloons are prohibited because they get stuck in trees and are hazardous to wildlife that might eat them.   

The informational sign at the cemetery will be updated with the amended rules and a copy of the rules will be posted while the new signs are created. Parks and grounds employees will alert families of violations by placing bilingual notification signs next to graves that are in violation. This process is being completed in phases because of the size of the cemetery.

Families will be given two weeks to remove unauthorized items. After that, parks and grounds will remove, bag, and store the objects for 30 days at the maintenance shop. Items that go unclaimed will be discarded.

He acknowledged that some grave markers don’t have a permanent vase but said that family members can contact a monument company and pay to have one added.

While some families have been upset about the changes, Vaughn said that once the reasons have been explained, most have been understanding.

“We’ve explained that we aren’t trying to single out one family’s grave. We are being fair to everyone across the board. Everyone will be held to the same rules, regulations, and expectations.”

A copy of the new rules can be found on the town’s website ( Direct questions to Vaughn at or 336-753-6700.

New Rose Cemetery

Rules and Regulations

Below are the amended rules adopted by the Town of Mocksville Board of Commissioners on July 5.

1. Hours of Operation: 7  a.m. through sundown daily.

2. Monuments & Vaults: There shall be no monument erected on any lot or other memorial except markers for each grave. All monuments, cornerstones, or any other appurtenances shall be installed by a licensed and insured professional and set flush with the existing ground. No plastic vaults allowed. No tree or shrub shall be planted, grown, removed, cut down, or destroyed within the border of a lot.

3. Designation of Markers: The installation of all markers must be supervised by the town. All markers must be flush with the ground and must not impede lawn maintenance. Marker size may be no larger than 4′ X 8′ X 4″. Markers are required to be placed within six months of burial. The town is not responsible for damage to improperly set markers or for damage caused by vandals. Any marker improperly set or does not conform to the rules may be moved at the owner’s expense. No objects or other items may be placed on a grave or plot except and provided in Sections 5-8.

4. Marker Deposit: At the time a grave is to be opened, the person making the request will be charged a deposit for the installation of a grave marker. If the marker is installed within six months, the deposit will be returned. The deposit will be included in the schedule of fees.

5. Floral Arrangements on New Graves: A wreath style arrangement secured to a wreath stand affixed to the ground will be allowed for the first six months after a grave is opened or until a grave marker is installed, whichever comes first.

6. Marker Vases Limited: Each grave plot will be limited to one permanently affixed vase. A permanently affixed cross no taller than 12″ may be used as a substitute for a permanently affixed vase. If a cross is used instead of a vase it must be made of natural cut stone or bronze.

7. Floral Arrangements: The vase permanently affixed to each grave marker will be used to display regular and seasonal floral arrangements. The town recognizes that grounds maintenance is minimal from the last week of November-February each year and will allow additional seasonal arrangements to be displayed on graves during this time. This includes, but is not limited to, arrangements for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year, MLK Day, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents Day. These arrangements can be displayed in baskets, pots, stands, and wreaths on wreath stands. The town will remove and discard holiday arrangements (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year) after Feb. 1. All other arrangements not displayed in a permanently affixed vase on the marker will be removed on or after March 21. Persons wishing to save these arrangements must remove them by the deadlines. The town is not responsible for the loss or damage of arrangements, potted plants, wreaths, wreath stands, and other items left after the removal deadlines have passed.

8. Display of the American Flag: The town encourages the display of miniature American flags not to exceed 12″ x 18″ on the graves of veterans to recognize their contributions and observe Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day. The town follows flag etiquette set by the US Department of Veterans Affairs — National Cemetery Administration and removes flags that are in poor condition or have broken supports that cause them to continually touch the ground.

9. Designation of Plot: A family plot consists of three or more grave plots adjacent to each other and intended for members of the same family. Except for family plots stated, only one grave marker may be placed on any single grave.

10. Crushed Stone on Grave and Grave Mounts Not Permitted: No exposed crushed stone or gravel shall be permitted in the cemetery. If any such stone is required in conjunction with the installation of markers of any kind, it shall be completely covered with soil to permit grass to grow over it.

11. Reservation of Regulatory Power: The mayor and the board of commissioners of  Mocksville reserve to themselves and their successors in office the right to alter, amend, modify, or add to the rules, regulations, conditions, and restrictions.

12. Disclaimer of Liability of Town: There shall be no liability whatsoever, either tort or contractual, on the part of the city, or its officers, or their successors in office, or its agents or employees, to any easement grantees of any lots in the cemetery, or to any successors in interest, or to the family or relatives of any person buried in the cemetery, or in any person or the family of such person who has erected any monument, marker, therein, by reason of any act or acts, thing or things, omission, negligence, or otherwise relating to the cemetery. In accepting this easement, the purchaser agrees that all provisions are valid and that she or he and his or her successors, heirs, and assigns shall hold said lot subject to all the provisions and subject to all amendments to these rules made by the Mayor and Board of Commissioners.

13. Copy of Rules to be Provided:  A copy of these Rules shall be given to every purchaser of a cemetery plot or columbarium niche, posted on the Town’s website and posted at Rose Cemetery.