ACRE – Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment

On July 6, 2005, Act 38 also known as “ACRE” (Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment) went into effect to ensure that ordinances adopted by local governments to regulate normal agricultural operations are not in violation of state law. A local ordinance cannot exceed, duplicate or conflict with state law.

An “unauthorized local ordinance” is an ordinance enacted or enforced by a local government unit which does either of the following:

  • Prohibits or limits a normal agricultural operation unless the local government unit has authority under state law to adopt the ordinance and it is not prohibited or preempted under state law.
  • Restricts or limits the ownership structure of a normal agricultural operation.

The below grid is an easy reference guide to the ACRE cases that have come in to the Office of the Attorney General for review since the beginning of 2017.  You will find the following in the grid: 1) the month and date the complaint was received; 2) the Township involved; 3) a brief bullet point of the issue(s) involved in the case; 4) a link to the ordinance(s) challenged; 5) a link to the ACRE complaint the Office of Attorney General received; 6) a link to the Township response if one was received; 7) the status of the Office of Attorney General’s ACRE review; and 8) the disposition.  Please check this site frequently for updates on existing and newly received cases.

Received Township Issue Ordinance Complaint Township Response Status Disposition
April 2024 Municipality of Monroeville Miscellaneous Fees Completed Settled
March 2024 Coolbaugh Township Micro Mini Cows in Medium Density Residential Zoning District Pending Review
March 2024 Codorus Township Sawmill; Residence/Dwelling Unit Pending Review
March 2024 Somerset Township Setback in Business Zoning District Township Response Pending Review
February 2024 West Brandywine Township Stormwater Management; Grading; Impervious Surfaces Township Response Pending Review
February 2024 Somerset Township Building a Brewery and Restaurant in the Residential Zoning District Township Response Completed Denied
January 2024 Greene Township SALDO Application Completed Settled
December 2023 Moon Township Silviculture Pending Review
December 2023 Greene Township Road Posting & Bonding Township Response Pending Review
November 2023 Durham Township Timber Pending Review
October 2023 North Whitehall Township Apiary Pending Review
October 2023 Foster Township Proper Method of Building Fencing Completed Denied
October 2023 Point Township Agricultural Building; Accessory Use; Residential Zoning District Township Response Completed Denied
October 2023 Lewis Township Siting of Poultry Barn Completed Settled
September 2023 Valley Township Silviculture Township Response Pending Review
September 2023 Frankstown Township Junkyard; Building in Floodplain Township Response Completed Denied
September 2023 Little Britain Township Mushroom Composting Township Response Pending Review
August 2023 Independence Township Setbacks Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2023 Earl Township Ducks; Setbacks; Normal Agricultural Operation; Nuisance Township Response Pending Review Letter View Letter
August 2023 Frailey Township Biosolids Township Response Pending Review
August 2023 Greene Township Stormwater Management; Timber; CAO/CAFO Definitions; Permitting Pending Review
August 2023 East Donegal Township High Tunnels; Stormwater Management Township Response Completed Denied View Letter
June 2023 Bloss Township Requirement for Permits; Goat Shelter/Barn; Manure Management Township Response Completed Denied
June 2023 Raccoon Township E&S Review; Escrow; Timing of Permit Application Review Township Response Completed Settled
May 2023 East Taylor Township Fee Per Acre; Costs of Conservation District Review; Insurance; Professional Forester; Harvesting Methods; Road Posting & bonding Completed Settled
May 2023 Foster Township Silviculture Township Response Pending Review
April 2023 Tinicum Township Farm Stand/Winery Township Response Completed Denied
April 2023 Lewis Township Setbacks for Animal Housing Completed Denied View Letter
March 2023 Middlebury Township Challenging Criminal Charges and Conviction Completed Denied
March 2023 West Pike Run Township Primary Residence Requirement Township Response Pending Review
February 2023 Buckingham Township Composting; Agritourism; and Terms of the Conservation Easement Completed Denied and View Court Opinion View Letter
February 2023 Leacock Township Storm Water Management-High Tunnels Township Response Completed Denied
December 2022 Upper Hanover Township Minimum Acreage; Number of Animals Township Response Completed Denied
December 2022 Upper Tulpehocken Township Walk-In Cooler; Building Codes Township Response Completed Denied
December 2022 Franklin Township Financial Responsibility for Storm Water Management Plan Completed Denied
September 2022 West Penn Township Roasting Soybeans Completed Settled
June 2022 Lake City Borough Keeping Chickens on Property Township Response Completed Denied
June 2022 Municipality of Monroeville Claim of Excessive Permit Fees Township Response Completed Settled
May 2022 Lancaster Township Normal Agricultural Operation; Landscaping Township Response Completed Denied
April 2022 Connellsville Township Livestock for Personal Use Completed Denied
April 2022 Reilly Township Silviculture Township Response Pending Review
April 2022 North Beaver Township Solar Power Township Response Completed Denied
March 2022 Upper Tulpehocken Township Walk-In Cooler; Building Codes Township Response Completed Denied
March 2022 Lower Chanceford Township High Tunnels; Storm Water Management Township Response Completed Denied
February 2022 Upper Makefield Township Steep Slopes; E&S; Storm Water Management; Restoration of Site Pending Review
February 2022 Exeter Township Open Air Burning; Intensive Agriculture Pending Review
January 2022 Upper Makefield Township AEUs, Stocking Rates, Intensive Agriculture, Agritainment Township Response Pending Review
November 2021 Washington Township Poultry; Storage; Fencing Township Response Completed Denied
November 2021 Ontelaunee Township Livestock Guardian Dogs Pending Review
November 2021 Upper Hanover Township Dogs Barking on Property Township Response Completed Denied
October 2021 Upper Makefield Township High Tunnels Township Response Completed Denied View Letter
October 2021 East Drumore Township Landscaping Business Completed Denied
October 2021 Upper Makefield Township Equine Activities; Court Approved Settlement Agreement Between the Parties Township Response Completed Denied
September 2021 Muhlenberg Township Unconstitutionality; On-Street Parking Completed Denied
August 2021 New Britain Township Nursery/Greenhouse Pending Review
August 2021 Borough of Long Branch Timber; Notification of Harvest; Requirement for Public Meeting; Tops and Slash; Road Posting & Bonding Township Response Completed Settled View Letter
August 2021 Municipality of Murrysville Conditional Use; Riparian Areas; Impact on Plant & Animals; Forestry Plan Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
July 2021 Codorus Township Title Issues on Real Property Completed Denied
July 2021 Codorus Township Zoning Hearing Board Process Completed Denied
July 2021 Little Britain Township Refrigerated Tractor Trailer Township Response Completed Denied
April 2021 Lamar Township Nubian Goats Completed Denied
April 2021 Canton Township E&S Plans/ Road Posting & Bonding Completed Settled View Letter
March 2021 Pine Township Normal Agricultural Operation Completed Accepted View Letter
March 2021 Municipality of Monroeville Permit Fees Township Response Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
March 2021 Chanceford Township Dog Kennels Township Response Completed Denied
January 2021 Salisbury Township Permit Fees; Timber Harvesting Completed Settled
January 2021 Industry Borough Permit Application Fees Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
January 2021 Unity Township Administrative, Engineering, & Inspection Fees; Conservation District Approval Letter Completed Accepted View Letter
November 2020 Maidencreek Township Prior Non-Conforming Use; AEU’s Township Response Completed Denied View Letter
November 2020 West Rockhill Township Timber Harvesting Township Response Pending Review
October 2020 East Marlborough Township E&S Plan; Written Agreement; Map Requirements; Riparian Requirements; Regeneration/Reforestation; Slopes; Forestry Practices; Fees & Escrows; Road Posting & Bonding Township Response Pending Review
September 2020 Unity Township Excess Construction Material Completed Denied
August 2020 East Rockhill Township E&S Plan Review; Permit Fees; Escrow Requirements Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
June 2020 Butler Township Hemp Pending Review
June 2020 East Cocalico Timber Harvesting Completed Settled
June 2020 Hellam Township Road Bond & Posting; Escrow/Security; Penalties; Riparian Buffers; Tops & Slash Completed Accepted View Letter
June 2020 Upper Oxford Township Processed/Manufactured Agricultural Commodities Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
April 2020 Abington Township Right to Farm Act; Direct Sales Township Response Completed Denied
April 2020 South Strabane Township Setbacks; Fencing Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
March 2020 Hopewell Township Non-Agricultural Business; Conditional Use Hearing Fees; Intensive Agriculture Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
March 2020 Providence Township Timber Township Response Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
March 2020 Lower Milford Township Winery/Minimum Acreage Township Response Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
February 2020 Willistown Township Agricultural Building, Horse Riding Ring Completed Settled
December 2019 Peters Township Overgrown Weeds and Grasses, Agricultural Security Area Completed Denied
November 2019 Fairview Township Agricultural Building Township Response Completed Denied
November 2019 Upper Saucon Township Forest Stewardship Plan; No Cut Buffers Township Response Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
November 2019 East Earl Township Conservation District approval of E&S Plan; Duplicate E&S Requirements; Costs of Expert Review; Insurance Township Response Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
October 2019 North Coventry Township Municipalities Planning Code Uniformity Requirement, Timber, and Road Posting and Bonding Township Response Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
September 2019 Philadelphia County Urban Farming; On-Site Sales; Accessory/Primary Uses; & Estoppel. Township Response Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
September 2019 Middletown Township Timber Harvesting as Agriculture; Riparian Buffer Zones; Escrow and Expert Review Fees Completed Accepted and Settled View Letter
August 2019 Elk Township Intensive Agriculture Completed Accepted View Letter
July 2019 Swarthmore Borough Farm Stand Township Response Completed Denied
June 2019 Carroll Township Direct Sales/Right to Farm Act/50% Township Response Completed Denied
June 2019 Dunkard Township Road Bond/Road Usage Fees Completed Settled
May 2019 Rice & Fairview Townships Timber Township Response Pending Review
May 2019 Paradise Township Timber Township Response Completed Settled
May 2019 Upper Macungie Township Direct Agricultural Sales/Right to Farm Act & 50% Minimum Production Township Response Pending Review
February 2019 Upper Milford Township Minimum Acreage; Agricultural Commodity; Direct Sales; Setbacks Township Response Completed Accepted and Settled
February 2019 Codorus Township CAO/CAFO Township Response Pending Review
February 2019 East Nottingham Township Timber Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter