Construction at the St. Mary's cemetery site in the middle of a Howard County residential neighborhood has been halted indefinitely pending a meeting between angry residents and the property owner.
Residents oppose construction of two homes on a 3.2-acre lot in the heart of their Turf Valley Overlook neighborhood. County officials and the owner contend graves in the segregated cemetery are limited to specific areas. Residents claim the entire site is a burial ground.
Monday, construction of county water and sewer lines to the property stopped temporarily when bones were unearthed 25 feet from two headstones in the portion of the cemetery where blacks are buried. Construction stopped again Wednesday when more graves were encountered.
County Executive Charles I. Ecker met with health officials, State's Attorney William R. Hymes and a representative of property owner H. Allen Becker to ask that construction cease until Mr. Becker and residents can meet and work out a compromise.
Yesterday, residents picketed the county office building in Ellicott City. No date has been set for the meeting.