2006 Code of Virginia § 57-27.1 - Access to cemeteries located on private property; cause of action for injunctive relief; applicabil...

57-27.1. Access to cemeteries located on private property; cause of actionfor injunctive relief; applicability.

A. Owners of private property on which a cemetery or graves are located shallhave a duty to allow ingress and egress to the cemetery or graves by (i)family members and descendants of deceased persons buried there; (ii) anycemetery plot owner; and (iii) any person engaging in genealogy research, whohas given reasonable notice to the owner of record or to the occupant of theproperty or both. The landowner may designate the frequency of access, hoursand duration of the access and the access route if no traditional accessroute is obviously visible by a view of the property. The landowner, in theabsence of gross negligence or willful misconduct, shall be immune fromliability in any civil suit, claim, action, or cause of action arising out ofthe access granted pursuant to this section.

B. The right of ingress and egress granted to persons specified in subsectionA shall be reasonable and limited to the purposes of visiting graves,maintaining the gravesite or cemetery, or conducting genealogy research. Theright of ingress and egress shall not be construed to provide a right tooperate motor vehicles on the property for the purpose of accessing acemetery or gravesite unless there is a road or adequate right-of-way thatpermits access by a motor vehicle and the owner has given written permissionto use the road or right-of-way of necessity.

C. Any person entering onto private property to access a gravesite orcemetery shall be responsible for conducting himself in a manner that doesnot damage the private lands, the cemetery or gravesites and shall be liableto the owner of the property for any damage caused as a result of his access.

D. Any person denied reasonable access under the provisions of this sectionmay bring an action in the circuit court where the property is located toenjoin the owner of the property from denying the person reasonable ingressand egress to the cemetery or gravesite. In granting such relief, the courtmay set the frequency of access, hours and duration of the access.

E. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any deed or otherwritten instrument that creates or reserves a cemetery or gravesite onprivate property.

(1993, c. 713; 2004, c. 831.)

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