BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County officials broke ground on a new cemetery in northwest Bakersfield Sunday afternoon, despite strong objections from some homeowners.

The proposed Queen of Peace cemetery will be located south of Vega Meadows Road and will be the first Catholic cemetery in Bakersfield.

The county planning commission voted 3-2 in favor of granting a permit for the cemetery back in 2021, and those who live nearby argue it will bring increased traffic, reduce property values and possibly contribute to Bakersfield’s homelessness problem.

Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno Joseph Brennan said he understands the public’s concern but believes in the end the cemetery will enhance the neighborhood.

Bishop Joseph also had this to say:

“Meeting the needs of people when they are hurting, when they have lost someone and to have a place that truly is going to become sacred space, that is at the very key of what we are doing here today and for many years to come.”

Bishop Joseph Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno

Bishop Brennan said the plot of land is 55 acres, but not all of it will be developed and that improvements and developments will be made as needs arrive.