PennFuture Takes Case to Protect Family Farm

Conservancy of Montgomery County Urges Upper Hanover Twp. to Stop Condemnation

Proceedings to Replace Farm with Highway

Nov 07, 2005, 00:00 ET from PennFuture

    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
 strongly opposed."
     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

SOURCE PennFuture