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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 19, 2018 03:06 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Limitations on Eminent Domain for Permanently Preserved Land
This legislation will add provisions to Title 26, Eminent Domain, to limit the use of eminent domain by governmental agencies on land that has been set aside with a conservation easement for parks and open space purposes from condemnation and taking under the Eminent Domain Code. Two school districts in the Commonwealth have decided to use Eminent Domain to condemn privately owned land permanently preserved by conservation easements held by local land trusts, over the objections of many residents of the communities. Other suitable non-preserved land in each vicinity is available.

Our legislation proposes to amend the Eminent Domain Code to add a new section that would require any government agency to obtain Orphans’ Court approval before using eminent domain to take permanently preserved land. The procedure is similar to that found in the Agricultural Area Security Law which requires additional scrutiny before condemnation of agricultural lands. The Orphans’ Court is given authority in the Donated and Dedicated Property Act over certain transactions related to publicly owned lands held for public uses.This bill is the Senate version of a similar bill (House Bill 2468) being introduced in the House by Representative Kampf.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation that will limit a government agency’s ability to use the Eminent Domain Code to override the preservation of our open space and park lands.

Introduced as SB1215