By Connor Beach
Town of Huntington officials approved last week legislation establishing a fee and set of policies regulating placement of privately-donated memorials in town-owned parks, beaches and other public places.
The changes, approved during the June 5 meeting, were the result of recent concern about the aesthetics and saturation of memorials at certain town-owned locations, according to the town board resolution.
The resolution was sponsored by Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and seconded by Councilman Ed Smyth. It was approved, 3-2, with Councilwoman Joan Cergol and Councilman Mark Cuthbertson voting against it.
The new procedure includes creation of a Memorial Review Committee that will be made up of a representative from each of the following town departments: General services, parks and recreation, planning and town attorney’s office. The committee will be tasked with reviewing all applications for memorials on town properties.
The committee has the authority to approve memorials that include a tree, which will be selected based on environmental factors at the proposed location, and a bronze plaque.
Lupinacci said the town board could consider applications for memorials other than trees.
There’s also a $50 application fee to request a memorial on town property, and a memorial fee of $850, which includes the tree, plaque and replacement of the tree if it is damaged within the first five years.
“Memorials will be considered for those who have resided in the Town of Huntington for a portion of their lives,” Lupinacci said. “We wanted to delineate a formal procedure.”
Cuthbertson said in a statement Wednesday that, “While well-intentioned, memorials on town property have just gone too far.”
However, he questioned the move to implement fees regarding the placement of memorials.
He added, “Now, to make matters worse, we are now going to charge a significant fee and create a division between the haves and have nots on this issue.”