HARRISBURG, PA — Reps. Warren Kampf (R-Montgomery/Chester), Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) and Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery) were recognized at the state Capitol for their leadership in enhancing protections for preserved land in the Commonwealth.
The lawmakers were presented with an oversized thank-you card from members of Save the McCormick Farm in appreciation of their work to pass Act 45 of 2018, which reforms the state’s eminent domain laws to help protect preserved land from being taken for development. Similar to Montgomery County’s Stoneleigh Garden property, the McCormick Farm had been targeted for eminent domain by the Cumberland Valley School District in central Pennsylvania earlier this year.
“While the Stoneleigh issue is what prompted me to introduce the legislation to reform eminent domain laws, we knew it wasn’t an isolated case,” Kampf said. “I’m so pleased this law prompted the Cumberland Valley School District to abandon its plans to take this preserved farm.”
Harper agreed. “This is one example where the legislative process worked, and it worked well. Everyone realized there was a loophole in the eminent domain law that would allow land that was supposed to be perpetually preserved to be taken for development by a local government agency. This law stops that.”
Toepel thanked the members of the group for their hard work to protect the farm and to advocate for the legislation that helped save it. “This bill proceeded through the legislative process much more quickly than most, and that is due in part to the work of the citizens of Montgomery County and Cumberland County who passionately communicated with lawmakers about the importance of these reforms,” she said.
Act 45 of 2018 amends the Eminent Domain Code to add a new section requiring certain government agencies to obtain Orphans’ Court approval before using eminent domain to take permanently preserved land. The procedure is similar to that found in the Agricultural Area Security Law, which requires additional scrutiny before condemnation of agricultural lands. The Orphans’ Court is given authority in the Donated and Dedicated Property Act over certain transactions related to publicly owned lands held for public uses.
Source: Representative Warren Kampf,157th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Photo: Members of the Cumberland County-based Save the McCormick Farm group presented an over-sized thank-you card to lawmakers who spearheaded the successful effort to reform the state’s eminent domain laws to better protect permanently preserved land. Pictured in the front row, from left: Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery); Rep. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery); Laura Brown, chairman of Save the McCormick Farm; Tracy Aichele; and Kate McGraw. Pictured in the back row, from left: Frank Evelhoch, vice chairman; Rep. Warren Kampf (R-Montgomery/Chester); Randy Duncan; Robert Shaw; and J.L. Bruner.
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