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
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 Pending Review
August 2021 Municipality of Murrysville Conditional Use; Riparian Areas; Impact on Plant & Animals; Forestry Plan Pending Review
July 2021 Little Britain Township Refrigerated Tractor Trailer Township Response Pending Review
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 View Letter
September 2019 Philadelphia County Urban Farming Township Response Pending Review
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 Pending Review
February 2019 Codorus Township CAO/CAFO Township Response 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 Township Response Completed Accepted View Letter
January 2019 Pocono Township Timber Harvesting Completed Accepted View Letter
October 2018 Upper Milford Township Stormwater Management Township Response Pending Review
October 2018 Kidder Township Timber Harvesting Completed Accepted View Letter
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