Farmers favored in ag security district case


CAMP HILL, Pa. – The Pa. Commonwealth Court has issued a ruling upholding a Chester County Court decision allowing the inclusion of a farm in an Agricultural Security Area.
Court brief. Pennsylvania Farm Bureau filed a Friend of the Court Brief with Commonwealth Court earlier this year asking the court to uphold a decision by the Chester County Court of Common Pleas.
The lower court reversed a decision by the London Grove Township Board of Supervisors to deny an application to include a farm owned by 41 Valley Associates into the London Grove Agricultural Security Area.
Commonwealth Court ruled the London Grove Township Board of Supervisors committed multiple errors of law when it denied inclusion of the proposed land into the agriculture security area.
Integral role. “We’re thrilled that Commonwealth Court and the Court of Common Pleas recognized that the Agricultural Area Security Law does not authorize townships to reject viable farms from an agricultural security area, merely because the township may not like a particular farming activity that may be performed,” said John Bell Pennsylvania governmental affairs counsel. .
“The only consideration that is appropriate under the law is whether the land plays an integral role in local agriculture. The law does not allow local officials to impose their will on what agriculture should be.”
Commonwealth Court specifically cited testimony from Chester-Delaware County Farm Bureau President Robert Yarnall Jr. in helping to establish the land in question had characteristics qualifying it as a legitimate property for enrollment in the agricultural security area.
Agricultural land. Farm Bureau noted the law is designed to preserve land for a broad class of uses that are agricultural in nature and that the law’s evaluation criteria address whether the land proposed for inclusion is appropriate for agriculture uses now and in the future.

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