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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 1, 2017 10:28 AM
From: Representative David H. Zimmerman
To: All House members
Subject: Agriculture High Tunnel Exemption - Storm Water Management Act
Since the passage of the Storm Water Management Act (Act 167 of 1978), counties and municipalities across the Commonwealth have invested significant resources in managing rain water runoff. Likewise, we have made significant strides in reducing flooding, pollution, and erosion related to storm water.

Under Act 167, local governments must manage runoff from nonporous surfaces, relying upon management plans and storm water ordinances to provide structure to their programs. However, this has created some confusion in the agricultural community as many farmers use affordable “high tunnels” for storage or to grow agricultural commodities that help extend the growing season. “High tunnels” are generally covered during the growing season only (spring to fall), and most erosion can take place during winter months. As these moveable structures do not constitute typical impervious surfaces; some municipalities do not regulate them. Other municipalities may consider high tunnels as more common buildings and subject them to burdensome yet misplaced storm water requirements.

Accordingly, in the near future, I will introduce legislation exempting “high tunnels” that meet certain parameters from any requirements under Act 167 and directing local governments to amend their plans, ordinances, or regulations to reflect this change.

Please join me in sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB1486