Resh Mill Preserve Operation Plan June 2015
Resh Mill Preserve is a proposed Conservation Burial Site in northern Baltimore County. In a conservation burial site the land is in permanent preservation with a qualified land trust and only natural (or green) burial methods are allowed. Natural burial methods bury remains directly in the earth in biodegradable caskets or shrouds without embalming. Natural burial methods are legal, are accepted and currently used in Maryland, and have been in use throughout history. Over 100 natural burial sites are in operation in the US.
Conservation Burial offers an environmental and financial alternative to conventional burial and cremation, while at the same time conserving the beauty and open space of our rural lands. It bears virtually no resemblance to a conventional cemetery site.
Principles of Conservation Burial at Resh Mill Preserve will include:
● Permanent conservation of the land with a qualified Land Trust
● Biological and environmental restoration of the land and habitat
● Prohibition of the introduction of any destructive or hazardous materials into the habitat
● Very low density of burial
● Low costs. Because of the simplicity of the natural burial process and minimal maintenance of the grounds, the costs of natural burial are substantially lower than conventional burial.
● Prohibition of raised markers, headstones and artificial monuments. The grounds of a conservation site remain forever natural and wild, with trails and paths connecting the burial grounds; open to the families and friends of the loved ones buried there. It is a place of simple, natural beauty and tranquility,
● The forever-protected land is the monument to the lives of the buried.
Burial locations will be limited to those areas determined optimal by the County based on accepted burial standards, including:
● optimal soil type
● 100 feet distance from stream or pond
● 350 distance from wells (This distance is over three times the Baltimore County standard for septic systems)
● at least 6 feet above water table (Wells on adjacent properties are generally 125 feet deep)
The disturbance to the soil through burial will be infrequent and minimal (See sales projections). Grave excavation will be 3 by 7 feet wide by 4 feet deep (total 3 yards of soil) with soil isolated on tarp for immediate refill. A mini excavator will be used for digging. Hay or other natural material will line the gravesite to promote rapid decomposition. The mounded soil will be covered with straw and/or native plants immediately after burial.
Business of Burials
The commercial operation at Resh Mill Preserve will be limited to:
● Sale of burial sites
● Opening and closing of graves
Sales projection from the Resh Mill Preserve Business Plan:
We will begin burials when we have 100 commitments of purchased burial sites. Based on annuity charts and experience from other similar cemeteries across the US it is projected these 100 burials will occur over a 25 year period. Thereafter, we expect 30 commitments per year, and 10 to 20 burials per year.
Per the Baltimore County Bill 615 (2015) Baltimore County Bill 615 a conservation burial site is limited to 100 burials per acre; due to the natural features of the land at Resh Mill Preserve, actual burial numbers will be significantly lower.
Natural Resource Protection
This project meets and exceeds all legislative goals for RC8 zoning, and the spirit and intent of the regulations.
● There will be no change in scenic view or above ground appearance,
● There will be no new buildings or increase in the impervious surfaces
● The forest management plan is consistent with RC8 goals as all existing woods will be preserved.
● Each burial will be an opportunity to restore the woods and the meadows for the native habitat such as native plants, nesting birds, pollinators, and other wildlife.
● No chemicals such as herbicides or insecticides will be used on the grounds. Mowing will be minimal and intermittent to promote the health of the natural habitat.
Parking will be limited to the currently existing 20 car parking capacity. Most backcountry burials such as planned for Resh Mill Preserve are small, family affairs. Funerals will not take place at RMP.
Traffic is projected to be light and intermittent, offpeak, daylight hours only, for visitors and for small backcountry burial services. Processions of cars entering the site will not be allowed.
Overall average traffic is projected at 10 cars per week, or 500 per year.
During a burial, traffic will be limited to 20 cars, estimated at 10 to 20 a year, or 400 per year.
Based on Baltimore County projections of 10 trips per day average per household, the traffic projections for RMP are significantly lower than for the alternative three houses on the property currently allowed by zoning, or over ten thousand per year.
Daily Operations will be daylight hours only. Visitors may come for walks to visit grave sites. Daily operations, including the monitoring of gravesites, will be overseen by RMP staff and volunteers.
For more information on Resh Mill Preserve and natural burial see http://www.reshmillpreserve.com and www.greenburialcouncil.org