After the City commissioned a land survey of Vick Cemetery in May 2023, Assistant City Manager (and front man for cemetery matters) Rodger Lentz told a reporter that the City does not need a survey map because they now “definitely” know where the property lines are. Lentz is not only missing the point, he is dead wrong.
We need a survey map because:
- We don’t want to fight this fight every change of administration. Once the temporary survey stakes are removed or fall down or otherwise disappear, there is no record of the boundary. We not only need a survey map, it needs to be filed with the Register of Deeds Office to create a permanent record of Vick Cemetery’s boundaries. Taxpayer money paid for the survey — get the map that comes with it!
- Four power poles, plus guy lines, are on or inside the cemetery property line. Coy as the City is trying to be about it, the poles are unquestionably city property. A survey map showing all utilities on the property (and showing the right-of-way) is critical for understanding the extent to which the cemetery has been damaged and determining how best to move forward with repair.
- On the map below (taken from Wilson County GIS website), I’ve circled the driveway into the cemetery parking lot. It’s a little hard to see — I’ll enlarge it below — but if that blue property line were extended to the street, it would lop off a whole edge of the parking lot and part of the driveway apron. In other words, the City built a parking lot not only on top of Vick Cemetery graves, but on Odd Fellows Cemetery property as well. It also stuck a big granite post — misengraved “Rountree/Vick” — in Odd Fellows Cemetery. There’s no survey marker at that corner of the property, by the way. If there were, it’d be standing in the middle of the driveway.
- Here’s a closer look, with a dotted yellow line extending the property line to the street. That’s a sizable chunk of parking lot on the Odd Fellows side. The pillars are standing on the property line; you can see their shadows stretching toward the street.
- There’s a tatty chain link fence between Vick and Odd Fellows Cemeteries. As noted before, it does not track the property line, but weaves back and forth before cutting off the back corner of Vick Cemetery. Without a survey map, how can this be corrected?
- Transparency and accountability. What is the City trying to hide? You have to go out of your way to tell the surveyor “hold the map.” Lentz’ laconic comment that the City just doesn’t need one is inadequate. There’s more at issue at Vick than the boundaries — though they’re questionable, too, given the historic extent of burials in the cemetery. City of Wilson, we demand a complete survey map showing all features — property lines, rights-of-way, fences, utilities, driveway, parking lot, ditches, wooded areas, whatever.
Photo of fence by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2023.