Saturday, June 25, 2022

County Commissioners will vote to let 19th century cemetery rest in peace

The county has received unsolicited offers for the purchase of the land from private developers

The Oak Grove Cemetery is located within the woods near the Cape Fear Country Club on 16th and 17th Streets (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy New Hanover County)
The Oak Grove Cemetery is located within the woods near the Cape Fear Country Club on 16th and 17th Streets (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy New Hanover County)

WILMINGTON—Oak Grove Cemetery was first established in 1870 by the City of Wilmington, but was soon turned over to New Hanover County, which has owned it ever since. The cemetery was used as a both a public cemetery as well as a cemetery for indigent residents, with approximately 6,000 interred there.

The last burial on the 7.5-acre land took place in 1961, before the 17th Street extension.

But as New Hanover County continues to attract new residents and developers, developable land is becoming a scarce commodity and over the years the county has received offers to buy the land for private development.

On Monday, the New Hanover County Commissioners will be presented with a declaration to protect the cemetery. Despite limiting the amount of disruptions private entities could make to the property if it were sold, construction by the county, for the county would be permitted with only County Manager approval.

  • The property would be preserved and maintained as a former burial site.
  • No burial monuments or makers and no caskets or human remains can be removed or disinterred without the express written consent of the Board of Commissioners, following a public hearing and a four-fifths majority vote.
  • No non-county owned structures or buildings can be erected without the express written consent of the Board of Commissioners, following a public hearing and a four-fifths majority vote.
  • Improvements, modifications or construction, undertaken by the county for a public purpose, only requires approval by the county manager.
  • The deceleration is for a term of 20 years, which contains a provision for automatic renewals.
  • The declaration can be revoked or amended at any time by the Board of Commissioners, following a public hearing and a four-fifths majority vote,

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