LEMOYNE, Pa. — The Pennsylvania State Grange is urging the Pennsylvania House Local Government Committee to vote for legislation preventing school district taking of protected farmland through eminent domain. This practice involves private property being seized for a public sector purpose.
House Bill 2468, sponsored by Rep. Warren Kampf, R-Chester/Montgomery, says that farms protected by statute from development are immune from eminent domain. It is on the June 13 voting calendar of the House Local Government Committee.
In a June 8 letter, the Pennsylvania State Grange wrote to committee members, pointing to a Cumberland Valley School Board action acquiring the preserved McCormick Farm which dates back to the 1700s. The school district plans to use the land to build new schools on that site.
Per the letter,
Pennsylvania is a national leader in farmland preservation. Unfortunately, this work is undermined by what school districts are doing. Farmland preservation means nothing if the school districts succeed. A precedent will be set for other governmental entities to also ignore protected farmland when it suits their purposes. The Cumberland Valley School District seizure is opposed by the county commissioners and the three relevant townships as well as an outpouring of public sentiment against the move. Pennsylvania’s agricultural heritage should not be considered irrelevant.
— Pennsylvania State Grange