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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 12, 2016 02:28 PM
From: Representative John A. Lawrence
To: All House members
Subject: Cosponsor Memo - Historic Barn Preservation
Dear Colleagues –

In the near future, I intend to reintroduce legislation amending the building code to encourage the preservation of historic barns and other agricultural buildings.

Historic barns provide a unique link to the rich and distinct history of agriculture across the Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, many of these structures have been lost over the years for a variety of reasons. Oftentimes, these barns are of limited use for modern agricultural practices, despite their significant historic value.

Some entrepreneurial farmers have thoughtfully restored historic barns into venues for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and other special events. However, such a renovation can trigger extremely expensive upgrades to come into full compliance with modern building codes. These upgrades can result in such a substantial cost that the restoration becomes financially unfeasible, at which point the barn is exceptionally vulnerable to demolition.

Existing law provides specific exemptions from the building code for agricultural buildings. My proposal would extend these exemptions to recognized historic barns that are occasionally used as a place of public occupancy for special events such as a wedding reception, etc.

I would appreciate your support of this initiative.