Agricultural Security Area Advisory Committee
- 7:00 p.m.
- 2nd Thursday – (bi-monthly starting in January)
Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
View All Agendas and Minutes
The Agricultural Security Area Advisory Committee is a five-member board appointed by the Board of Supervisors. These five members include one township supervisor, three farmers, and one township citizen. Current members are:
- Richard Landis – Chairperson
Board of Supervisors Representative
- Dale Nolt, Farmer
- Glenn Sauder, Farmer
- Darvin Myer, Farmer
- Jared Bruckhart, Citizen
About the Committee
Empowered by state law (Chapter 1381 of the Pennsylvania Code), the ASA Committee serves the township by:
- Advising the Board of Supervisors and working with the Planning Commission in relation to the proposed establishment, modification, review, and termination of an ASA.
- Rendering expert advice as to the nature and desirability of these actions, including as to the nature of farming and farm resources within the proposed or existing ASA and the relationship of farming in the ASA to the township.
Act 43 of 1931
Act 43 of 1981 established the Agricultural Security Area law to strengthen Pennsylvania’s agricultural areas. Section 2 of the Act (as paraphrased) says:
“It is the policy of Pennsylvania to conserve and protect and to encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural lands for the production of food and other agricultural products. It is also the policy of Pennsylvania to conserve and protect agricultural lands as valued natural and ecological resources, which provide both open space which contributes to clean air and the beauty of countryside. Agriculture in many parts of Pennsylvania is under pressure from development, especially from expanding metropolitan areas. When development begins to encroach upon good farm areas, problems arise. Oftentimes special ordinances are passed that limit farm practices (plowing, cow crossing the roads, spreading of manure, etc.). Farm taxes go up, making it difficult for the farm to keep farming. And, because development is extending into farmland, a farmer is under substantial amount of pressure to sell his/her farm for development.”
Landowners voluntarily participating in the ASA are eligible to apply to sell a conservation easement to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (i.e. preserve the farm) and receive special consideration when faced with nuisance ordinances and eminent domain.
Transfer of Development Rights
The Penn Township Agricultural Security Area Advisory Committee (ASAAC) advises the township on the TDR (Transfer of Development Rights) Program. This program uses a voluntary procedure in Pennsylvania zoning law to convey development rights away from farms (sending areas as identified in §27-325: Transfer of Development Rights) into a township ‘bank’ in exchange for payment. Interested parties who may want to develop land with additional density or seek the allowance of additional impervious coverage than normally allowed by current regulations, may purchase TDRs through public bid. The purchased development rights then are applied to the specific property/project to gain the extra density, impervious area as outlined above, or a combination. TDRs can only apply to projects on parcels located in Penn Township’s designated receiving areas as identified in §27-325.4.
ASA 7-Year Review
The Township Board of Supervisors concluded the 7-Year Review and adopted the proposed changes on July 28, 2014. In a second 7-year review, the ASA recommended no changes. On February 8, 2021 the board of supervisors agreed to keep the security area with no changes. The properties colored blue (~144 acres) in the map above have been added to the ASA, while the property in red was removed (~106 acres).