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
October 2018 Upper Milford Township Stormwater Management 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 Pending Review
October 2018 Hatfield Borough Beekeeping Pending Review
September 2018 Pocopson Township Timber – Fees & Escrow Township Response Completed Settled
July 2018 Todd Township CAO/CAFO/Intensive Agriculture Township Response Pending Review
February 2018 Oley Township Wellhead Protection Township Response Pending Review
February 2018 East Penn Township Biosolids Township Response Pending Review Accepted
February 2018 Salem Township Eminent Domain/Biosecurity N/A Completed Denied
October 2017 Lamar Township Setback for Poultry Barn Township Response Pending Review
June 2017 Little Britain Animal density and type of animals permitted Township Response Pending Review
May 2017 Pennsbury Resource Protection Standards and Stormwater Management ordinances as applied to timber Pending Review Accepted
May 2017 Peters Township Natural gas use in heating greenhouses Township Response Completed Denied
February 2017 Lower Saucon Timber Harvesting Township Response Pending Review Accepted