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A08858
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
2468
Session of
2018
INTRODUCED BY KAMPF, HARPER, TOEPEL, BARRAR, CHARLTON, CORBIN,
CORR, DRISCOLL, FARRY, LAWRENCE, MILLARD, B. MILLER, QUIGLEY,
READSHAW, ROE, VITALI, STAATS, V. BROWN, MALONEY, BRIGGS,
WATSON, COMITTA, RAVENSTAHL, GILLEN, TAI, C. QUINN, DALEY,
O'BRIEN AND DEAN, JUNE 6, 2018
AS REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT, HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, AS AMENDED, JUNE 12, 2018
AN ACT
Amending Title 26 (Eminent Domain) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, in limitations on use of eminent
domain, further providing for definitions and providing for
eminent domain of land subject to conservation easement.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 202 of Title 26 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes is amended by adding definitions to read:
§ 202. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * *
"Conservation easement." As defined under section 3 of the
act of June 22, 2001 (P.L.390, No.29), known as the Conservation
and Preservation Easements Act.
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"Open space benefits." The benefits to the residents of the
Commonwealth and its local government units which result from
the preservation or restriction of the use of selected
predominantly undeveloped open spaces or areas, including, but
not limited to:
(1) the protection and conservation of water resources
and watersheds, by appropriate means, including, but not
limited to, preserving the natural cover, preventing floods
and soil erosion, protecting water quality and replenishing
surface and ground water supplies;
(2) the protection and conservation of forests and land
being used to produce timber crops;
(3) the protection and conservation of farmland;
(4) the protection of existing or planned park,
recreation or conservation sites;
(5) the protection and conservation of natural or scenic
resources, including, but not limited to, soils, beaches,
streams, flood plains, steep slopes or marshes;
(6) the protection of scenic areas for public visual
enjoyment from public rights of way;
(7) the preservation of sites of historic, geologic or
botanic interest; and
(8) the promotion of sound, cohesive and efficient land
development by preserving open spaces between communities.
* * *
Section 2. Title 26 is amended by adding a section to read:
§ 208. Eminent domain of land subject to conservation easement.
(a) Approval required.--No agency of the Commonwealth,
political subdivision, authority, public utility or other body
having or exercising powers of eminent domain shall condemn any
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land subject to a conservation easement for any purpose, unless
prior approval has been obtained from the orphans' court of the
county in which the land is located. The condemnation approval
specified by this subsection shall not be required for an
underground public utility facility that does not permanently
impact the open space benefits protected by the conservation
easement. The condemnation approval specified by this subsection
shall not be required for any public utility facility or other
project that is subject to approval by a Federal agency, the
necessity for the propriety and environmental effects of which
has been reviewed and ratified or approved by the Pennsylvania
Public Utility Commis sion or the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission, regardless of whether the right to establish and
maintain such underground or other public utility facility is
obtained by condemnation or by agreement with the owner.
(b) Determination of blight.--The exercise of eminent domain
powers based on a condition of the land subject to a
conservation easement shall not be authorized under section 205
(relating to blight) unless the orphans' court determines the
exercise is necessary to protect the health and safety of the
community.
(c) Notice.--Any condemnor wishing to condemn property, the
approval for which is required under this section, shall, at
least 30 days prior to taking such action, notify the orphans'
court that the action is contemplated.
(d) Review.--The orphans' court shall review the proposed
condemnation and approve the proposed condemnation only if the
court determines there is no reasonable and prudent alternative
to the utilization of the land subject to a conservation
easement for the project.
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(e) Findings and decisions.--The orphans' court shall render
findings and decisions of the court's review under subsection
(d) and shall report the findings and decisions to the proposed
condemnor.
(f) Injunctions.--The orphans' court may request the
Attorney General to bring an action to enjoin a condemnor from
violating any provision of this section.
(g) Emergencies exception.--This section shall not apply to
any emergency project which is immediately necessary for the
protection of life or property.
SECTION 3. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT ARE SEVERABLE. IF ANY
PROVISION OF THIS ACT OR ITS APPLICATION TO ANY PERSON OR
CIRCUMSTANCE IS HELD INVALID, THE INVALIDITY SHALL NOT AFFECT
OTHER PROVISIONS OR APPLICATIONS OF THIS ACT WHICH CAN BE GIVEN
EFFECT WITHOUT THE INVALID PROVISION OR APPLICATION.
SECTION 4. THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS SHALL APPLY TO A
CONDEMNATION FOR WHICH A DECLARATION OF TAKING IS FILED AFTER
DECEMBER 31, 2017:
(1) THE ADDITION OF THE DEFINITIONS OF "CONSERVATION
EASEMENT" AND "OPEN SPACE BENEFITS" IN 26 PA.C.S. § 202.
(2) THE ADDITION OF 26 PA.C.S. § 208.
Section 3 5. This act shall take effect in 60 days
IMMEDIATELY.
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