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Residents Demand Improvements to Local Historical Cemetery

Residents are hoping Monrovia Nursery developer City Ventures will meet their requests to help protect the nearby Fairmount Cemetery.

Members of S.O.S. Glendora, a group of concerned residents regarding the Monrovia Nursery development, have requested that City Ventures, LLC, the project’s developers, consider making several improvements to Fairmount Cemetery as part of the building plan to ensure that the cemetery is protected from potential trespassers and vandalism.

“Kids are always going up there and having parties,” said Doug Boyd, Glendora resident and cemetery trustee. “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve discovered trash left behind by trespassers, graves that have been defaced.”

The cemetery has significant historical meaning to both Glendora and Azusa. It was used as the area’s burial ground from the mid to late 19th century. More than 200 of the area’s early pioneers are interred in the cemetery, including veterans from the Civil and Spanish American wars.

Of the improvements cemetery trustees have requested from City Ventures include a six foot decorative block wall along Citrus Avenue near the future Gold Line station; a retaining wall on the east side of the cemetery; water, electricity and lighting for the cemetery grounds, and a monument sign on the southern base near the future development.

Cemetery trustee members believe the improvements will help keep out trespassers, a nuisance they say will increase with the number of new residents slated to move in to the nearby developments. Members say developers should be able to accommodate the input and concerns of local residents, especially regarding the well-being of a local landmark.

But city officials say under the Specific Plan, the developer, nor the city, are obligated to supply these improvements for the cemetery.

Planning Manager Dianne Walter said during a Sept. 4 planning commission meeting, the developer and city have done everything they can to make improvements to the cemetery, including adding a perimeter fence and drainage devices around the cemetery.

However, Walter said under the Specific Plan, the developer is not obligated to make the requested changes.

Still, cemetery trustee members and members of S.O.S. Glendora, attended the Sept. 4 planning commission meeting hoping that the commission would vote to include those improvements in the Specific Plan.

While those requests were not met, City Ventures representatives were granted an extension for the Monrovia Nursery project. They requested that several landscaping improvements be done during the fourth phase of construction rather than the first phase as initially planned, among other changes.

“It was like they’re saying, ‘We’re not going to do more than what the Specific Plan makes us do,’” said Boyd.  “They'll make changes that are favorable to them. But when it comes to us residents, they can’t make changes that’s favorable to us.”

City officials said cemetery trustees and the developer can discuss possible improvements to the cemetery as an agreement between the two parties.

“This does not preclude the developer from working with the cemetery to provide these items if the two parties agree,” said Walter.

Lisa September 20, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Yes, the city and/or development company should take care of the improvements. This cemetery is an important part of our history and we supposedly take pride in that. To not take care of it, would be a slap in the face to our cities founders.
Eljay September 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM
The local Boy Scout troops have improved several aspects of the cemetery lately, namely Brian Goff, as the core of his Eagle Scout project. The developer should not have to take on the responsibility for this.... they did not buy the cemetery property and to force them into it is shameful. Kidnap their building permits until they pay the ransom of improving someone else's run down, neglected eyesore? Not okay.
Terry September 20, 2012 at 04:35 PM
It seems like current Azusa and Glendora residents do not really care enough to renovate the cemetery themselves, but now suddenly want to pass that responsibility onto a land developer. How hard is it to build a wall and a sign?
just my opinion September 20, 2012 at 05:22 PM
installing a wall and putting up the things that are requested are thousands and thousands of dollars!!! whoever owns the land cemetery is the one responsible. The person that owns the cemetery can do whatever they want to do with that land. Obviously the owners don't care about the years and years of vandalism. It's nobody's responsibility except for the person that owns it... or the group that owns it. it's really sad. I have many generations right here in Glendora and Azusa... it's hurtful to hear that nobody is taken care of that cemetery. Instead ...this group called s. o. s. complaining and going to board meetings why don't they just get together and go around and ask for donations and get it done???? that doesn't seem very difficult to me? If you live within a 3 mile radius in all the directions from the cemetery... I bet they'd get enough donations to get the stuff done but they want done!!!!
Eljay September 20, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Abandoned cemeteries usually fall into ownership of the county. If Doug Boyd is indeed the cemetery trustee, he needs to pursue the county to pay for maintenance. Maybe he can sweet talk the developers into contributing, or get the county to match funds, but don't try to use the city planners/building departments to strong arm the developer.

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