Proposed ‘green’ cemetery in mega-subdivision north of Lake Mendota arouses mixed feelings | Local government


An embanked quarry, above, in the community of Bishops Bay could become a “green” cemetery under a new proposal.


For more than a decade, developer Terrence Wall has said that a massive and ambitious subdivision north of Lake Mendota would one day be a “cradle to grave” community.

The most recent proposal for the development of the 780-acre Bishops Bay community may well fulfill half of that promise: a “green” cemetery.

“We provide everything,” Wall said of Bishops Bay. “You can go to school here. You can get an apartment here. Someday if you want a single family home, you can get a single family home. We have housing for seniors, independent living planned, maybe memory care planned. And now we’ll have a cemetery. We just don’t have a birth center yet.

Still under construction and years after its completion, Bishops Bay is designed as seven distinct neighborhoods with a mix of housing options, walking and biking trails, parks, a shopping ‘downtown’ and even a small lake. The development, which could potentially house some 6,000 people, spans the border between the Town of Middleton and the Town of Westport.

A green cemetery – also known as a natural burial cemetery – generally prohibits embalming, requires the dead to be buried in biodegradable coverings such as shrouds, prohibits vaults, and has gravestones at ground level or none at all.

If approved by Middleton officials, it would only be Wisconsin’s second “natural cemetery,” according to the Green Burial Council. The other green cemetery is outside Verona.


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