New policy could allow memorial crosses near Palm Bay canal

A cross at the site of a deadly car accident can stay up, despite the objection of a nearby neighbor. 

Officials are now looking at a way to let others have a marker to remember their loved ones.

The News Station first brought you this story last week.

Now, new policy could be on the way.

A family went before the Melbourne-Tillman Water District on Tuesday to plead their case.

“And I do believe my brother is proud of me,” said Joslyn Vipperman, one member of the family fighting passionately for the cross to stay up on Malabar Road.

It’s a makeshift memorial for Zach Caufield, 19, who died on New Year's in a car crash.

Albert Messenger lives nearby.

We talked to him shortly after he filed a complaint about the cross, saying it's an eyesore.

Messenger wasn't home when we went to ask for his comments on Tuesday's developments.

The water district that owns the land the cross is on says the cross can stay.

“I’m entirely grateful to the board and its members for all the kindness they’ve given to us,” Vipperman said.

The board voted in a unanimous decision that this issue should start a larger conversation about memorials if accidents happen in or near the canal.

The board will hold a special workshop about that at a date yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, Zach’s cross is getting grandfathered in.

“It is my brother, that’s the place we go to feel him the most,” Vipperman said.

The family feels like they’re making a difference because there’s never been an official rule or a law about crosses along the canal.

The water district is now aware of the pain after seeing the healing that a cross can bring. 

Putting something on the books will go a long way to avoid neighborhood squabbles.

“And work on a policy to help other people in the future who have memorials,” Vipperman said.