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
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% Pending Review
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 Pending Review
February 2019 Upper Milford Township Minimum Acreage; Agricultural Commodity; Direct Sales; Setbacks Township Response Pending Review
February 2019 Codorus Township CAO/CAFO Pending Review
February 2019 East Nottingham Township Timber Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
February 2019 North Middleton Township Winery Township Response Pending Review
January 2019 South Londonderry Township Timber Harvesting Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
January 2019 Middle Smithfield Township Timber Harvesting Pending Review
January 2019 Pocono Township Timber Harvesting Pending Review
October 2018 Upper Milford Township Stormwater Management Township Response Pending Review
October 2018 Kidder Township Timber Harvesting Pending Review
October 2018 Salem Township Mandatory Connection to Municipal Sewer Pending Review
October 2018 Windsor Township Timber Harvesting Township Response Pending Review
October 2018 Hatfield Borough Beekeeping Township Response Completed Denied
September 2018 Pocopson Township Timber – Fees & Escrow Township Response Completed Settled
July 2018 Eldred Township Timber Harvesting Township Response Pending Review Accepted
July 2018 Todd Township CAO/CAFO/Intensive Agriculture/Community Bill of Rights Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
June 2018 Clay Township Timber Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
June 2018 Eldred Township Timber Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
February 2018 Oley Township Wellhead Protection Township Response Completed Denied
February 2018 East Penn Township Biosolids Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
February 2018 Salem Township Eminent Domain/Biosecurity N/A Completed Denied
November 2017 Longswamp Township Irrigation, Well Drilling, Fees Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
November 2017 North Cornwall Operation of a Winery Completed
October 2017 Lamar Township Setback for Poultry Barn Township Response Pending Review
October 2017 Lower Milford Township Timber – Fees & Escrow Account Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2017 Latimore Township Local Ordinance Violating ACRE as it is Applied to Nursery Owner Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
June 2017 Little Britain Animal density and type of animals permitted Township Response Completed Denied
June 2017 Ferguson Township Equine Operations as a Normal Agricultural Operation & Minimum Acreage Requirements Completed Accepted View Letter
May 2017 Pennsbury Township Resource Protection Standards and Stormwater Management ordinances as applied to timber Completed Accepted View Letter
May 2017 Peters Township Natural gas use in heating greenhouses Township Response Completed Denied
May 2017 Maxatawny Township Intensive Agriculture/CAO/CAFO Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
April 2017 Woodward Township Setbacks Completed Accepted View Letter
February 2017 Lower Saucon Timber Harvesting Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
February 2017 North Coventry Timber Harvesting and Weight Limitations on Roads Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
November 2016 Walker Township “Intensive Agriculture,” Normal Agricultural Operation, AEU’s, Township Review Requirements, Odor Abatement Completed Accepted View Letter
November 2016 Cumberland Township Intensive Agriculture, CAO/CAFO, Minimum Lot Size, Setbacks, Manure Management, One Type of Agriculture Allowed in Zone but not Another Type of Agriculture Completed Accepted View Letter
November 2016 Gratz Borough Intensive Agriculture, CAO/CAFO, Minimum Lot Size, Odor Management, Site of Buildings, Setbacks, One Type of Agriculture Allowed in Zone but not Another Type of Agriculture Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2016 East Brandywine Township Timber Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2016 Woodward Township Types of Agriculture Permitted in the Agriculture Zone Completed Accepted View Letter
July 2016 Salem Township CAO/CAFO, Agricultural Uses in a Zoning District, Minimum Acreage Size, Setbacks, Tree Buffers Completed Accepted View Letter
December 2015 Monroeville Township Timber Completed Accepted View Letter
December 2015 Salem Township Timber Completed Accepted View Letter
November 2015 East Nantmeal Township Timber Completed Accepted View Letter
November 2015 Newlin Township Equine Operations Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2015 Franklin Township Mushroom Farming Completed Accepted View Letter
July 2015 Union Township Right to Farm Act and 50% Minimum Production Completed Accepted View Letter
May 2015 Mount Joy Township Poultry Operations, On-Site Slaughtering Completed Accepted View Letter
April 2015 Montour Township Intensive Agriculture, CAO/CAFO, AEU, Swine Operations, Agriculture Buildings, Assurances with Performance Guarantees, Setbacks, Manure Storage Completed Accepted View Letter
February 2015 Highland Township Intensive Agriculture/CAO/CAFO Completed Accepted View Letter
December 2014 Heidelberg Township et.al. Intensive Agriculture, CAO/CAFO, RTFA 50% Minimum Production, Type of Agriculture Permitted in Agriculture Zone, Minimum Acreage Requirements, WRPA, AASL, NOMA, Setbacks, Composting Completed Accepted View Letter
October 2014 East Hopewell Township Sewage Sludge Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2013 Maidencreek Township Use of Private Well for Horticulture Completed Accepted View Letter
April 2013 Warrington Township Grinding to Make Soil and Mulch for Use On-Site Completed Accepted View Letter
December 2012 Huntington Township Intensive Agriculture, CAO/CAFO, Normal Agricultural Operation Completed Accepted View Letter
July 2012 West Fallowfield Township Cervidae Livestock Completed Accepted View Letter
November 2011 Hilltown Township RTFA 50% Minimum Production, Water Resources Protection Act Completed Accepted View Letter
June 2011 Heidelberg Township CAO/CAFO, Impervious Coverage, Setbacks, Odor & Manure Management, Food Waste, Agricultural Transition District, Wellhead Protection Completed Accepted View Letter
February 2011 Locust Township Intensive Animal Ag., CAO/CAFO, AEU, Stormwater, Emergency Response Plan, Water Usage, Minimum Acreage Size, Setbacks, Bonding & Insurance Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2010 Drumore Township Cervidae Livestock Completed Accepted View Letter
April 2010 Colerain Township Intensive Agriculture, CAO/CAFO, Setbacks, Odor Management Completed Accepted View Letter
January 2010 Shrewsbury Township Sewage Sludge Completed Accepted View Letter
September 2009 Elizabeth Township CAO/CAFO, Odor Management, Setbacks Completed Accepted View Letter
May 2009 Shrewsbury Township Uniform Construction Code Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2008 Hartley Township CAO/CAFO, Setbacks, Minimum Acreage Requirements Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2008 Lewis Township CAO/CAFO, Setbacks, NMA, Minimum Acreage Size Completed Accepted View Letter
June 2008 Montour Township CAO/CAFO, AEU, Minimum Acreage Size, Setbacks, Manure Storage Completed Accepted View Letter
February 2008 Salem Township Animal Control Ordinance Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2007 Salem Township Timber Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2007 East Brunswick Township Model Biosolids Ordinance Completed Accepted View Letter
August 2007 Lewis Township & Turbotville Borough Exclusion of CAO’s, Minimum Acreage Size, AEU’s Completed Accepted View Letter
July 2006 Lower Towamensing Township Intensive Agriculture & Setbacks Completed Accepted View Letter
April 2006 Lower Oxford Township Mushroom Composting Completed Accepted View Letter
January 2006 Upper Providence Township Composting Completed Accepted View Letter