HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future
(PennFuture) has agreed to represent the Conservancy of Montgomery County in
its effort to keep the Weisbecker family farm protected from development under
the terms of the easement granted to the Conservancy by the family as well as
Pennsylvania's Agricultural Area Security Law. The Conservancy asked for
PennFuture's assistance after the Upper Hanover Township Board of Supervisors
voted 4-1 on October 11, 2005 with no public notice to condemn the property to
build a connector road between Route 663 and Quakertown Road.
"The township's decision is contrary to law and simply makes no sense from
a public policy standpoint," said Matt Royer, staff attorney for PennFuture
and co-counsel for the Conservancy. "The family that decided to guarantee that
their land would be preserved forever as farmland certainly doesn't want this
road. The Conservancy doesn't want the road, which is prohibited under the
terms of the easement. The developer working on property that this road would
serve apparently hasn't asked for the road. And the citizens of the township
don't want the road, particularly when it will destroy preserved farmland.
The law demands that alternative locations must be explored by the township."
"If this condemnation is allowed to occur, it will compromise every
conservation easement in the state," said Mary Lou McFarland, president of the
Conservancy. "It will set the tone for other governmental bodies to take
preserved agricultural land for private benefit. The Conservancy is pleased
that PennFuture has agreed to help us fight this condemnation."
"We have learned that this issue will be on the agenda for tomorrow's
supervisors meeting," said Kimberly Snell-Zarcone, PennFuture staff attorney
and co-counsel for this case. "We hope the supervisors will rescind their
decision to take the Weisbecker's farm. But the supervisors must understand
that, should they fail to do so and proceed with condemnation, it will be
The Conservancy of Montgomery County was formed in 1990 to provide
individuals and governments with creative and flexible preservation techniques
and to coordinate countywide efforts to save valued natural and built assets.
PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization
dedicated to creating a just future where the environment, communities and the
economy thrive. PennFuture works to improve and protect Pennsylvania's
environment and economy through public outreach and education, advocacy and