BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Living next to the dead, that’s what some residents in one northwest Bakersfield neighborhood face if a proposed cemetery is approved. The cemetery would sit south of Vega Meadows Road and East of Renfro Road.
“You will see decrease in value,” homeowner and local real estate agent Ken Austin said. “Traffic, possible homelessness as well.”
It’s not the fact that they will have to live next to graveyards that scares residents, but the fears of economic losses and reduced property values is reason enough for these homeowners to oppose construction of the only Catholic cemetery in Bakersfield.
Jairo Pardo has lived in his Ashton Falls neighborhood home for 10 years. Never did he imagine he’d be living next to the dead who have departed forever.
It’s a little concerning,” said Pardo. “Especially that property values are going up and people are capitalizing on that and we feel like we are gonna lose out on that.”
County documents list the Dioceses of Fresno as the applicant for the project, as well as an out-of-state corporation as the owner of the property. The Diocese says its waiting for county approval before closing escrow.
A public notice was distributed to homeowners of a public hearing scheduled for August 12th, that’s where the county is set to decide if the project will move forward.
“When we first bought the home we didn’t intend on having that there.”
-Jairo Pardo – Homeowner opposed to having a cemetery built in his neighborhood.
The proposed cemetery will have a 5,000 square-foot office space, a 2,000 square-foot shop, a 14,726 square-foot mausoleum, two 3,600 square-foot mausoleums and two 982 square-foot niche columbarias.
For residents that received the notice, one thing stood out: the lack of further environmental analysis.
“When we first bought the home we didn’t intend on having that there,” said Pardo. whose house sits across the proposed site. “”Moving from here if that actually happened is something that we might entertain and that’s something we don’t want because we have put too much time and money into the home.”
If you have comments that you would like to submit you are asked to submit those in writing by July 20th so that they can be included in the official report.
City planners say all the details of the project as well as recommendations, including comment, will be available by August 6th, a week before a public hearing will be held by the Kern County Planning Commission to determine if the project can move forward scheduled for August 12th.