Cemetery at Temple Johnson and Skyland

There was a second meeting of the Gwinnett Planning Commission on 6 October 2015 to discuss the proposed cemetery and worship center to be built on the site at Temple Johnson Road and Skyland Drive. Here is how I see things. Feel free to express your thoughts by posting a comment here on The Snellville Times.

Not that long ago this was a non-issue to me, not because it is outside the Snellville City limits, but because I thought, “How could this disrupt things as badly as people are saying it will?” I soon learned that one issue raised was the traffic, again, I didn’t really understand until a friend asked me, “What happens when I’m in a hurry to leave my neighborhood and I come upon a funeral procession of 50 or 60 cars going up 2 lane Skyland Drive. Point taken. Then I was also told in an intelligent manner that the property values would be affected greatly.

It was explained to me that if I go to buy a home that is next to a cemetery and like the home, and don’t care that it’s next to a cemetery, then it is no problem. However, if you have a community of homes with people that have lived there 30 years and longer and they object to living next to a cemetery that’s a problem. They may want to move and they may find that selling their homes is a problem because a lot of buyers may not want to live near a cemetery. Now property value goes down because there are fewer buyers.

Homeowner elders

You can say whatever you want, but the fact is there are signs on almost every piece of property near the proposed site that say, “No Cemetery”. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if  doesn’t matter What happens to the more elder homeowners who planned on the sale of their home to so many people who live there are against it, a lot of buyers will be against it too.

So, after viewing and hearing what the Planning Commission said here is my take. They pointed out that if the tract of land were sold to home developers there could be between 30-40 homes on the same spot. Traffic would be no different than if a cemetery and mosque. They also pointed out that according to Gwinnett Law a church or mosque can be built without the need for any permits or rezoning request provided the acreage is at least 5 acres. Then they presented the conditions that the property owners would have to agree to in order to have a cemetery at proposed location.

  • Maximum of 500 burial plots located at least 150 feet from property lines
  • Maximum area of any structure will be 4000 square feet total with maximum height of 15’. Assembly for other than funeral services will be prohibited
  • Temporary restroom services are prohibited
  • 100 foot undisturbed buffer with trees on 3 sides of the property and 80 buffer with trees on Skyland side to insure a year round screen of the site
  • Landscape buffers will be subject to review and approval of the planning development commission
  • Buffer along Skyland Drive to include a 4-foot high berm to further obscure a view of the property from the road and must be installed before burials will take place. 15’ double row of evergreens a minimum of 6’ tall, planted on 15-foot centers must be planted on the raised berm.
  • On Skyland and Temple Johnson barbed wire removed and a decorative wrought iron fence with stone and brick columns every 50’ along each road must be installed
  • A ground water monitoring well must be constructed on the property at the owners expense and monitoring must be provided by the Environmental Health Deptartment at owners expense and coordinated with the Gwinnett County Planning Development
  • Minimum of 5’ sidewalk on property front on Skyland and Temple Johnson Road at no cost to county with review and approval of the Gwinnett County Dept of Transportation
  • Prior to approval the owners must provide a minimum $10,000 trust fund for the perpetual maintenance of the property. The owners will maintain a minimum of $5,000 in the trust fund after 1 year after the first burial on the site. All monies in the trust fund shall be used for the perpetual care, upkeep and maintenance of the landscaping in the buffers.
  • Motion passed 9-0



While this was a public meeting it also was a meeting where no comments were allowed, simply informative. With all this being said, keep in mind these are the recommendations the Planning Commission is sending to the Board of Commissioners, who will have the final vote on whether or not the cemetery will be approved. Also, keep in mind that since there were no comments, at this point, it is not clear whether or not the developers will agree to all of the conditions.

The Board of Commissioners will vote on this on 27 October 2015.

What say you? Please share your thoughts. I believe it could be make quite an impact on this area and the home owners.


  1. Regarding: the proposed cemetery and worship center at Temple-Johnson and Skyland.

    This cemetery and worship center has a great majority of the Gwinnett County and City of Snellville citizens opposed to it. Since the majority of the population oppose the ‘cemetery and worship center’ so strongly, in addition to so many written and vocal opinions given directly to our government officials; The question comes forth, … just who do the planning commission and Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners actually represent? Certainly not the citizens they claim to represent.

    The entire situation suggest large kickbacks, bribes, and shady covert deals which would benefit the government officials.

    An independent investigation at the Georgia State level of jurisdiction
    is certainly warranted.

  2. I have seen some of the photos from the similar graveyard in Love joy, and its a mess! not at all something I would even consider having my property on, touching, or near.

  3. This is the link to the Gwinnett County Planning Commission Agenda Packet, SUP2015-00040 for the cemetery staff recommendations. Condition items, G, H, and I are particularly important for the public to be fully informed.

    G. Graves shall be a minimum of six-feet in depth.
    H. At a minimum, a wooden casket shall be used for the internment of the body.
    I. A rectangular lidless vault comparable in design specifications and quality to a ‘Vantage” polypropylene vault shall be placed in the grave and inverted over the casket before the grave is filled in.


  4. In the original recommendation by the Gwinnett County Planning Department, one of the conditions was that at minimal a wooden casket must be used for burial. Is that not still one of the conditions?

    Muslim burial practices/rituals are very different from most modern burial practices as noted by Wikipedia.

    Islamic Funeral – Wikipedia
    Grave of a Muslim
    The deceased is then taken for burial (al-Dafin). The exact manner, customs and style of the grave, the burial and so forth may vary by regional custom.
    The grave should be aligned perpendicular to the Qibla (i.e. Mecca). The body is placed in the grave without a casket, lying on its right side, and facing the Qibla.[12] Grave markers should be raised only up to a maximum of 30 centimetres (12 in) above the ground. Thus Grave markers are simple, because outwardly lavish displays are discouraged in Islam. Many times graves may even be unmarked, or marked only with a simple wreath. However, it is becoming more common for family members to erect grave monuments.
    In Middle Eastern cultures women are generally discouraged from participating in the funeral procession. The reason for this is that in pre-Islamic Arabia it was customary in Arabia for grieving women to wail loudly. Wealthy families often even hired ‘wailers’ to attend the funerals of their deceased relative. Wailing at funerals is not permitted according to the Sahih Bukhari.[13]
    Three fist-sized spheres of hand-packed soil (prepared beforehand by the gravediggers) are used as props, one under the head, one under the chin and one under the shoulder. The lowering of the corpse, and positioning of the soil-balls is done by the next of kin. In the case of a departed husband, the male brother or brother-in-law usually performs this task. In the case of a departed wife, the husband undertakes this (if physically able). If the husband is elderly, then the eldest male son (or son-in-law) is responsible for lowering, alignment and propping the departed.
    The orthodoxy expects those present to symbolically pour three handfuls of soil into the grave while reciting a Quranic verse in Arabic meaning “We created you from it, and return you into it, and from it We will raise you a second time”.[14] More prayers are then said, asking for forgiveness of the deceased, and reminding the dead of their profession of faith.

    In a Tatar Muslim cemetery
    The corpse is then fully buried by the gravediggers, who may stamp or pat down the grave to shape. Commonly the eldest male will supervise. After the burial, the Muslims who have gathered to pay their respects to the dead, collectively pray for the forgiveness of the dead. This collective prayer is the last formal collective prayer for the dead. In some cultures, e.g. South East Asian Muslims, the surviving members of the deceased scatter flowers and perfumed rose water upon the grave as the last action prior to leaving the grave.”


    • There was no mention of the wooden casket Brenda but if it was in the original recommendation I would assume it is still in the amendments but I cannot say with certainty.

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