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Legislative

Eminent Domain Restrictions Resulting from the Kelo Case
Legislation enacted in 2006 (S.B. 881) prohibits the use of eminent domain for private business purposes, excluding redevelopment projects in legitimately blighted areas where properties are abandoned, uninhabitable, condemned or constitute public nuisances due to dangerous conditions.

S.B. 881 of 2006

​Land Preservation for Open Space Uses (Act 442 of 1968)
The Act authorizes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and local governments to preserve, acquire or hold land for open space uses. The Act also clarifies and broadened the existing methods by which the Commonwealth and its local government units may preserve land in or acquire land for open space uses. The Act was amended in 2013 by Act No. 115, to provide that in addition to acquiring land and easements, dedicated open space taxes may now be used to develop, improve, design, engineer and maintain open space acquired with dedicated open space taxes in order to provide open space benefits. It also clarifies that voter created open space taxes may only be repealed by voter referendum.

Act 115 of 2013

Open Space/Conservation

Agricultural Lands Condemnation Approval Board (ALCAB)
The board oversees the condemnation of farmlands enrolled in the Agricultural Security Area (ASA) or other productive farmlands. The board convenes on an as-needed basis whenever a petition to condemn is submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Contact:
Doug Wolfgang
Bureau Director
(717) 783-3167
dowolfgang@state.pa.us
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Clean and Green Program
The Clean and Green Act of 1974 (Act 319) was established to preserve farmland, forest land and open space by taxing land according to its use rather than the prevailing market value. The program is administered by county assessment offices. The program is voluntary and generally requires that a 10-acre minimum remain in designated use (agricultural use, agricultural reserve and forest reserve). Parcels less than 10 acres and capable of producing $2000 annually from the sale of agricultural products are eligible for the agriculture use designation. Land taken out of the permitted use becomes subject to a rollback tax, imposed for up to seven years, and an interest penalty.

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Preferential Assessment of Farmland and Forest Land under the Clean and Green Act:

Bureau of Farmland Preservation
The program, which helps to protect future food supply and contributes to a healthier economy, is a partnership between all levels of government and non-profit organizations. The goal of the program is to save and preserve farmland.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program was developed to strengthen Pennsylvania's agricultural economy and protect prime farmland. This program enables state and county governments to purchase conservation easements from farmers. The program was approved in 1988 and the first easement was purchased in December of 1989. Now, more than 4,500 farms have been approved for easement purchases totaling more than 500,000 acres.

Agricultural Security Area
Must contain at least 250 acres of viable agricultural land in one local government unit or, under certain conditions, in more than one local government unit. An ASA provides protection from nuisance ordinances and requires additional levels of review for projects involving condemnation. An ASA designation helps ensure that the farmer can continue using the farmland for agricultural purposes.

Contact:
Stephanie Zimmerman
Administrative Officer
(717) 705-7796
stzimmerma@pa.gov
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Conservation and Preservation Easement Act
Pennsylvania Act 29 of 2001 established the state’s conservation easement statutes authorizing the creation of permanent easements on real property for conservation and historic preservation purposes.

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Farmland Protection Program
The Farmland Protection Program (Act 149 of 1988) receives approximately $20.5 million annually for the preservation of farmland.  The program enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements from owners of quality farmland.  Counties participating in the program have appointed agricultural land preservation boards with a state board created to oversee this program. The State Agricultural Preservation Board is responsible for the distribution of state funds, approval and monitoring of county programs and specific easement purchases.

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Growing Greener I
The Environmental Stewardship Fund was created by Act 68 of 1999 and reauthorized by Act 90 of 2002.  The fund serves as the primary source of financial support for the Growing Greener program.  The program has funded farmland-preservation projects statewide, protected open space, cleaned up abandoned mines and restored watersheds, provided funds for recreational trails and local parks, helped communities address land use, and provided new and upgraded water and sewer systems.  

The funds are distributed among the Department of Agriculture to administer farmland preservation projects, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for state park renovations and improvements, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority for water and sewer system upgrades.  The program is funded through Fiscal Year 2012 by a permanent dedication of a new $4/ton municipal waste disposal fee, with approximately $94 million annually.

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Growing Greener II
Growing Greener II, a voter-approved plan that invests $625 million to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across the commonwealth was signed into law in June 2005.

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Green Space Alliance
The Alliance works to preserve open space throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. It promotes collaboration between members, local governments and nonprofit organizations, to raise awareness of the importance of open space to the region's quality of life and identity, its economic vitality and its ecology. GreenSpace Alliance is preparing to launch the findings from a new study that examines the potential use and benefits of transforming preserved open space that is not currently farmed to sustainable agricultural enterprises.
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Keystone Fund
The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund Act (Act 50) was signed into law in July 1993. The Act directed 15% of the state’s Real Estate Transfer Tax to the Keystone Fund, establishing a dedicated and permanent funding source for recreation, parks, conservation, and other programming. A referendum in November 1993 was approved by 67% of voters and supplemented the newly created fund with $50 million in bond revenues.  The Keystone Fund, administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as part of its Community Conservation Partnership program, allocates funds for planning, acquisition and development projects in four primary categories: Community Recreation; Rails-to-Trails; Rivers Conservation; and Land Trusts.

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Military Community Protection Commission (2012)
Governor Tom Corbett (R) established the Commission in 2012. The Commission is charged with providing recommendations and input to enhance the military value of installations, organizations and defense related regions within Pennsylvania by providing and implementing the requisite recommendations, policies, plans and processes to achieve that goal. 

Executive Order 2012- 12

Pennsylvania Military Community Protection Commission Local Defense Group Grant (PMCPC LDG Grant)
Pennsylvania Military Community Protection Commission Local Defense Group Grant (PMCPC LDG Grant) funds may be used to support and enhance the military value of a military installation or organization.  

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State Contact Information

State Military Liaison
Major Lauren Muglia
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Office of the Legislative Liaison
Building 7-36, Fort Indiantown Gap
Annville, Pennsylvania 17003-5002
(717) 861-8719
(717) 861-9457 fax

Ms. Joan Nissley
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Public Affairs Office
Bldg. 8-41, Fort Indiantown Gap 
Annville, Pennsylvania 17003-5002 
Phone: (717) 861-8720
Fax: (717) 861-8211

Adjutant General
Major Wesley E. Craig, Adjutant General
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Building S-0-47, Fort Indiantown Gap
Annville, Pennsylvania 17003-5002
(717) 861-8500
(717) 861-8481 fax
wesley.craig@pa.ngb.army.mil

Veterans Affairs Liaison
Brigadier General Jerry Beck 
Deputy Adjutant General 
Pennsylvania Dept of Military & Veterans Affairs 
Fort Indiantown Gap, Building S-O-47 
Annville, Pennsylvania 17003-5002 
Phone: (717) 861-8902 
Fax: (717) 861-8589 
jerbeck@pa.gov  

Communications Director 
Joan Nissley 
jnissley@pa.gov 
phone: (717) 861-8720  

Pennsylvania National Guard
Brigadier General John Gronski
Assistant Adjutant General-Army
Joint Staff/Commander, Pennsylvania National Guard 

Legislative Process Regarding Military POCs
Legislative Committees refer to the Office of the Adjutant General and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for input on pending state legislation.  Committee staff indicate that this is the primary resource for all legislators and legislative committees.   

Committees of Primary Jurisdiction/Legislative Contact
Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness
Senator Bob Mensch, Chair
Senate Box 203024 
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3024
Room: 459 Capitol Building
(717) 787-3110 
FAX: (717) 787-8004

House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness
Representative Stephen Barrar
18 East Wing
PO Box 202160
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120-2160
(717) 783-3038 
(717) 787-7604 fax