Protecting Family Cemeteries

As the trees come down and the land is being cleared for yet another new subdivision, developers of one soon to be neighborhood in Biloxi have learned that they must alter their plans a little bit. It seems that inside an orange fence on a Brody Road project is an old family cemetery that the city will make developers preserve.

Edward Shambra is with the Biloxi Planning Commission and says, "The grave sites themselves have to be kept in tact, of course, properly identified so that they are not disturbed. We leave it up to the individuals as to how they actually do the identification on the individual plots, but we're very much concerned about not having any type of impact to the cemetery itself."

Soon the Brody Road project will be a 63 lot subdivision and according to Shambra the developer must make the old cemetery a separate lot that will one day look like an old family cemetery that was found on the land where the Biloxi Commerce Park went in off of Popps Ferry Road in Biloxi. That old cemetery now has been gated off and new headstones put in to mark the graves and it has a driveway access for visitors.

Shambra says, "It will be in perpetuity maintained as a cemetery, not be a buildable lot, not be infringed upon and we will maintain some type of egress and ingress to it as well."

He also says that many of the sites they're finding are often more than a hundred years old and many of them are not on city records, so preserving them is a priority to city planners even as the city continues to progress.

"We feel by identifying these cemeteries and making developers go that extra mile to actually identify them and properly mark off the areas, we're giving the public accessibility to the cemetery and we're preserving them for posterity and for the future."