Health and Safety


SECTION 23-18-11

§ 23-18-11. Regulation of excavation around cemeteries.

(a) The city or town council of any municipality may by ordinance prescribe standards regulating any construction or excavation in the city or town, when those standards are reasonably necessary to prevent deterioration of or damage to any cemetery or burial ground, or to any structures or gravesites located in any cemetery or burial ground. The rules and regulations shall not apply to the ordinary installation of gravesites or of monuments, markers, or mausoleums.

(b) No city or town shall permit construction, excavation or other ground disturbing activity within twenty-five feet (25') of a recorded historic cemetery except in compliance with the following provisions:

(1) The boundaries of the cemetery are adequately documented and there is no reason to believe additional graves exist outside the recorded cemetery and the proposed construction or excavation activity will not damage or destructively alter the historic cemetery through erosion, flooding, filling, or encroachment; or

(2) The proposed construction or excavation activity has been reviewed and approved by the city or town in accordance with § 23-18-11.1.

(c) Whenever an unmarked cemetery or human skeletal material is inadvertently located during any construction, excavation, or other ground disturbing activity, including archaeological excavation, the building official of the city or town where the unmarked cemetery or human skeletal material is located shall be immediately notified. The building official shall, in turn, notify the state medical examiner and the Rhode Island historical preservation and heritage commission if the grave, cemetery, or skeletal material appears to be historic. Prior to the continuation of any further construction, excavation, or other ground disturbing activity, and unless the provisions of § 23-18-7 shall apply, the property owner shall undertake an archaeological investigation to determine the boundaries of the unmarked cemetery and shall so inform the building official. In the event that the cemetery meets the criteria for a historic cemetery, the building official shall so advise the recorder of deeds of the city or town who shall record and register the cemetery in accordance with the provisions of § 23-18-10.1.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1980, ch. 31, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 478, § 1.)