CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF
THE PINE HALL CEMETERY ASSOCIATION
Name and Objective
Section l. This Association shall be known by the name of the Pine Hall Cemetery Association (Association) being located in Ferguson Township, Centre County, on West College Avenue in State College, Pennsylvania in a locality called Pine Hall.
Section 2. The objective of the Association shall be to provide for the decent burial of the dead or any legal disposition of human remains and to perpetually maintain the cemetery. The cemetery shall be made available for public use.
Section 3. The objective of the Association shall be subject to the full control of a board of six Trustees (Trustees) and in all aspects it shall be governed by the Charter and by the constitution and by-laws which the Trustees shall adopt.
Section 1. The Association is organized exclusively for non-profit purposes as a community service. Income from the sales of cemetery lots and from investments will be used as follows:
- To pay ordinary and necessary expenses of operating, maintaining, and improving the cemetery.
- To secure additional cemetery real property.
- To maintain a perpetual care fund that provides a source of income for the cemetery operation.
Section 2. No part of the net earnings of the association shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the Association shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered.Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the Association shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in the furtherance of the objective of the Association.
Section 3. In the event of dissolution of the Association, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government for a public purpose. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a court of Competent Jurisdiction of Centre County exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.
Election of Trustees
Section l. Trustees shall be elected from volunteers recommended by the governing council of the Pine Hall Lutheran Church and the St Peter’s United Church of Christ, both churches located in the locality of Pine Hall. Three trustees shall be elected from each Church.
Section 2. Trustees shall serve for a period of three years. Trustees can serve an unlimited number of three-year terms or as long as they are willing and able to perform the duties of the trustees.
Section 3. The governing councils of Pine Hall Lutheran Church and the St Peter’s United Church of Christ have the option to request a new election of trustees. Each church may send a letter to the secretary of the Association by January 1 requesting an election and providing the names of up to two nominees, up to two nominees from each church for a total of four nominees. The Trustees would then hold an election filling, up to two Association Trustee positions. The election must take place during the first Association meeting of the year. The candidates would include the current Trustees who are willing to continue to serve and who have served three or more years as Association Trustees and the nominees provided by the churches.
Section 4. If a vacancy is made in the Association, either by death, resignation, or otherwise, it shall be filled by a new election and the person thus elected shall serve during the unexpired term of his predecessor.
Duties of Trustees.
Section l. The duty of the Trustees is to administer all aspects of the cemetery including: set and administer rules and regulations, manage finances, manage maintenance and upkeep, plan for the future, secure land as needed, maintain accurate lot records and maps and keep the cemetery a respectful place to visit.
Section 2. The Association shall meet in the spring of each year for the transaction of business. Trustees may call a special meeting as the occasion may require.
Section 3. To conduct official Association business, two-thirds of the entire Board of six Trustees must be present at meetings. If less than two-thirds of the entire Board of six Trustees exists due to death, resignation or otherwise, the existing members can elect new members from nominees provided by the governing councils of Pine Hall Lutheran Church and/or the St Peter’s United Church of Christ.
Section 4. Meetings shall be scheduled with the expectation that all trustees will be present.
Officers and Their Duties.
Section l. A President, Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected from Trustees of the Association for a term of one year. The office of Secretary and Treasurer can be held by one person at the discretion of the Trustees.
Section 2. The President or in his/her absence another officer shall call the meetings to order, and shall so preside that the business of the Association shall be transacted in a dignified and orderly manner. In the absence of the officers due to death, resignation or otherwise, the most senior (length of service) trustee shall so preside.
Section 3. The Secretary shall keep correct minutes of all the business that is done and record the same in a book provided for this purpose.
Section 4. The Treasurer shall receive all money for lots sold, and from other sources, and shall pay all bills at the order of the President and Secretary. The Treasurer shall also maintain a correct accounting of all money received and disbursed. The Treasurer shall provide financial reports to the Trustees.
Section 5. The President, Secretary and Treasurer shall constitute a standing committee for the sale of lots, and shall be authorized to make such sales.
Lot Price and Deed
Section 1. The price of lots for burial shall be determined by the Trustees of the Association and may be adjusted from time to time.
Section 2. Cemetery lots shall be free to all persons too poor to buy lots at the discretion of the Trustees. In all such cases, persons must secure permission from the Trustees of the Association to bury their dead, and be governed by the selection of the Trustees as to location. The Trustees shall set guidelines for the use of lots for persons too poor to pay.
Section 3. The Association shall transfer the use of burial plots to grantees by issuing an Association deed. The deed must be signed by the Association Secretary and President and stamped with the corporate seal to be recognized by the Association. The deed is recorded in Association records only and shall not be a matter of public record.
Management of Assets
Section 1. Seventy five percent (75%) of the money collected in cemetery lot sales shall be placed in an irrevocable trust fund. The purpose of the irrevocable trust fund is to generate income to maintain the cemetery.
Section 2. The monetary asset investment philosophy of the Association is to maximize the total rate of return (income plus capital appreciation) consistent with a prudent regard to safety of principal.
Section 3. Monetary assets of the Association shall be managed by a professional investment manager selected by the Trustees. The investment manager’s primary objective shall be long term growth and income using a balanced portfolio, with a target total return enough to sustain a yearly 4-5% withdrawal plan, while preserving and growing principle.
Section 4. A formal detailed investment strategy must be submitted by the investment manager and approved by the trustees. A target allocation of 60% equities with 40% in fixed income rebalanced quarterly is the baseline. The trustees shall meet with the investment manager a minimum of once a year to review the investments.
Section 5. The Cemetery shall be covered by insurance with sufficient value to protect the Cemetery Association assets and the trustees.
Section 6. The withdrawal of funds from the Pine Hall Cemetery Association revocable trust fund shall require a formal letter to the financial institution with signatures of the Association President, Secretary/Treasurer and two trustees. The letter shall include the Association corporate seal.
Cemetery Ground Rules and Regulations
Section 1. The lot owner, their heirs or other responsible party shall have the responsibility of erecting new headstones and markers. All care and upkeep of the headstones and markers are the responsibility of the record lot owner, their heirs or assigns.
Section 2. The Association retains the right to remove headstones and markers that are in poor condition, unsightly, dilapidated or a safety hazard after notification of the record lot owner, their heirs or assigns. When a safety hazard exists, caused by the defective marker foundation, The Association will evaluate each incident on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate remedy in the interest of the owner and cemetery.
Section 3. Temporary markers will be allowed to remain until such time as a monument is placed on the grave. The Association retains the right to remove the temporary marker after notification of the record lot owner, their heirs or assigns.
Section 4. Permanent headstones or markers must have a minimum 30” deep concrete footer that is flush with the surrounding ground level. The footer must extend so that there is a minimum 4-inch border on all sides of the headstone or marker. The grading must be finished with at least 3” of top soil providing a gradual slope into the outer edge of the footer. The slope must be tapered back 1’ (one foot) for each 1” (1 inch) rise. The area must be seeded with high-grade grass seed.
Section 5. Headstones and markers must be placed within and in alignment of the south west boundary of the lot.
Section 6. No fences, curbs, steps, structures, landscape borders or other obstructions are permitted on grave lots in the cemetery. Foot markers must be flush with the ground. A bench type headstone is permitted if placed according to Article VIII Section 5.
Section 7. Installation of mausoleums or tombs must be approved by the trustees and will only be permitted on designated lots in the cemetery.
Section 8. No pets except dogs used by the blind are permitted in the cemetery.
Section 9. Visitation in the cemetery is permitted from dawn to dusk. No visitation is permitted after dark.
Section 10. Planting of flowers, bushes, trees or other growing plants is not permitted on cemetery lots. The Association shall have the right to remove any and all plantings made in violation of this rule.
Section 11. Flowers and wreaths may be placed next to headstones, markers or mausoleum. Dilapidated flowers and wreaths will be removed the first two weeks of March and the last two weeks in October each year and at other times at the Association’s discretion. The Association shall post a cemetery cleaning schedule at least two weeks in advance of the cleaning.
Section 12. Flower containers and wreath holders must be non-glass and non-breakable. In ground holders may be used but must be installed so the top is flush with the surrounding ground level.
Section 13. Open flames or live candles shall not be permitted.
Section 14. Optional boundary landmarks must be placed level with the ground, and shall not raise or terrace the lot.
Section 15. Cemetery lots are to be used for no other purpose than the burial of the dead. The lot deeds are grants of rights to burial and sepulcher only. Any attempt by the lot owner to use their cemetery lot for any purpose other than the burial of the dead shall cause the ownership of such lots to revert to the Association.
Section 16. The Association shall keep all cemetery lots mowed and cleaned.
Section 1. Interment at the Pine Hall Cemetery shall be limited to human remains or cremains.
Section 2. The Association is not responsible for any burial expenses including the expense of snow removal from driveways and walkways.
Section 3. Concrete vaults or crush proof receptacles must be used in all burials.
Section 4. A one-fourth lot may contain the ashes of up to three cremains. Burial of cremains can be placed over top of an existing interment. Only one upright monument or marker shall be placed on one-fourth lot.
Section 5. Containers used for cremains must be approved for direct burial. The container must be buried at least eighteen inches deep.
Section 6. Disinterment must be coordinated by a local funeral director and must be conducted according to state and local regulations. A permit is required from a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Vital Records Registrar.
Section 7. Excavation of graves must be completed by an excavation contractor approved by the Trustees. The excavation contractor shall be responsible for leveling and seeding the grave and grounds damaged by the grave excavation and interment process for a period of one year after the initial excavation. The Association is not responsible for grave excavation expenses.
Lot Assignment, Transfer, Repurchase, Resale, Abandonment
Section 1. Lot Assignment
Only person(s) listed as grantee on issued Association deeds have the right to assign to an heir or assignee. A cemetery lot grantee(s) can assign a lot or portion of a lot to another person or persons by providing a copy of the original deed to the Association and by requesting approval in writing from the Association. The letter must be signed and notarized by all persons listed as grantees on the original deed. If the lot or portion of lot was previously assigned by the grantee, surviving assigns must also sign the letter. If grantees of the original deed are deceased, heirs and/or assigns of the original grantees can assign a lot or portion of a lot to another person or persons by providing a copy of the original deed to the Association and requesting approval in writing from the Association. The letter must be signed and notarized by all heirs and/or assigns of the original deed grantees. In the absence of the original deed, the letter must state that the deed was lost. Upon receipt of a copy of the original deed and approval of the lot assignment change request letter, the Association secretary will issue a letter of approval to the requester(s).The original deed grantee(s) (or if they are deceased, their heirs and/or assigns) retain the right to assign and must approve all assignment changes. The deed grantee(s) can request a transfer of a lot to a new grantee.
Section 2. Lot Transfer
A cemetery lot grantee(s) can transfer a lot or portion of a lot to another person or persons by returning the original deed to the Association and requesting approval in writing from the Association. The letter must be signed and notarized by all persons listed as grantees on the original deed and by any assigns of the lot or portion of the lot the grantee wishes to transfer.
If grantees of the original deed are deceased, heirs and/or assigns of the grantees listed on the deed can request a transfer by returning the original deed and requesting approval in writing from the Association. The letter must be signed and notarized by all heirs and/or assigns of the original deed grantees. In the absence of the original deed, the letter must state that the deed was lost. Upon receipt of the original deed and approval of the lot transfer request letter, the Association will issue a new deed(s) to the new grantee. Once a transfer is approved by the Association and a new deed(s) is issued, only the new grantee(s) or their heirs have the right of assignment and transfer.
Section 3. Lot Repurchase
The cemetery association may repurchase a lot or portion of lot that will not be used by the lot grantee. A cemetery lot grantee(s) must return the original deed and request in writing that the Association repurchase the lot or portion of lot. The letter must be signed and notarized by all persons listed as grantees on the original deed and by any assigns of the lot or portion of the lot the grantee wishes to sell back to the Pine Hall Cemetery Association. The Association will pay up to 50% of the prevailing rate of lots in the cemetery and not less than 75% of the original price paid for the lot. In the absence of the original deed, the letter must state that the deed was lost.
Section 4. Lot Resale
The resale of cemetery lots by lot grantee(s) or their heirs must be approved by the Association. Lots shall not be sold for greater than the prevailing rate.
Section 5. Lot Abandonment
Abandonment of any cemetery lot by the lot holder shall constitute a reversion of the ownership thereof to the Association.
By-Laws and Amendments
Section 1. This Constitution and By-laws may be amended from time to time by a vote of two-thirds of the entire board of Trustees at a meeting called for that purpose provided that at least two weeks’ notice of the meeting shall have been given.
Section 2. This Constitution and By-Laws supersedes all previous versions.
Section 3. This Constitution and By-Laws was approved on 4/7/2020.