A township in eastern Pennsylvania has reversed its stance and won't cite a couple who buried their 10-month-old son at home because they couldn't afford a burial plot.
Commissioners in Colebrookdale Township, about 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia, announced Monday they will pay James and Chantal Dodson's expenses for resolving legal questions over the burial of their son, Jesse. The couple won't have to pay for a grave-site zoning permit and the announcement removes the threat of a citation that could have cost the Dodsons up to $500 a day, the Reading Eagle newspaper reported.
A surveyor has volunteered to survey and permanently mark the baby's grave site and create a legal description of it, the commissioners said in a statement. "The township and the Dodsons have agreed that Jesse's grave will remain undisturbed," township Solicitor Jeffrey Karver said in a statement.
The newspaper reported that James Dodson and the couple's attorney were both on hand for the announcement but declined to comment until after the agreement is signed.
The couple also agreed to create an access easement that would ensure their right to visit the grave if they ever sell the property, officials said.
In December, the Dodsons' attorney had asked the board to consider waving the $650 zoning fee. The township board said it didn't have that ability but would give the family more time to pay it. Last month, the board voted to issue a citation, saying that the couple had plenty of time to resolve the issue.
Within days, however, board President Todd M. Gamler indicated the township would probably not cite the family, saying there had been a miscommunication between attorneys for the township and the Dodsons.
Information from: Reading Eagle, http://www.readingeagle.com/