Privately sold burial plots typically cost thousands of dollars, but in Apex, one can be bought from the town for as little as $350.
No vacant burial sites remain, however, within the 7.2 acres of the town-maintained cemetery, and town officials are considering arrangements with nearby landowners that would allow the town to continue offering burial plots as a municipal service.
The Town Council considered a set of proposals at its Dec. 6 meeting that would allow the town to expand the cemetery. Burials have taken place on the land since at least the mid-to-late 19th century, and many names familiar to longtime Apex residents can be found among the tombstones.
The Seagroves family, represented by Tim Seagroves, wants to deed to the town a 20-foot-by-40-foot parcel of land that has room for 16 plots. In exchange for the land and the offer to complete all necessary surveying and landscaping work, Seagroves is requesting that the town provide his family a reduced rate for each plot of $125 apiece.
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“I have at least one family member buried there, and I’m from Apex,” Seagroves said in an interview. “I’m trying to find somewhere to go die. If you want to be buried in the ground, you have to find somewhere, and it’s getting harder and harder. This is the route I wanted to go, and it’ll be hopefully cheaper if it works out.”
The Smith Family is seeking to sell back plots it already owns in a 20-by-20-foot parcel. The town typically buys back plots at the price they were purchased for, but the Smiths are seeking a price greater than the $600 out-of-town rate they paid for the plots. The Smiths’ plots, however, are in an area of the cemetery that the town is unsure is vacant.
Assistant Town Manager Tim Donnelly said there is some level of uncertainty about how many people are buried in the cemetery and where they were interred, but that “in the area that we have good degrees of confidence that people are interred properly, we have no plots available at all.”
Donnelly said the town holds a cemetery reserve fund and that it contracts with private maintenance crews to perform most day-to-day upkeep.
A third family, the Seymours, is also in the mix. They own plots in the cemetery, as well as undeveloped land immediately southeast of the cemetery along West Williams Street, and are in talks with the town about selling some of it to the town. The council directed Donnelly and town staff to talk with Tom Seymour, representing the family, and return with a price for the land.
“It would be a compassionate gesture for the town to do this,” Councilwoman Denise Wilkie said. “We’re reaching out to the community. It’s not about gaining money or property – it’s more about the families.”
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan