Update on Preservation of Maple Acres Farm in Plymouth Meeting

MoreThanTheCurve.com attended tonight’s workshop meeting of Plymouth Township’s Council. During the meeting, there was a discussion about the current effort to preserve Maple Acres Farm in Plymouth Meeting as undeveloped farmland.

Since our initial article over the weekend, and during the meeting tonight, we learned some additional information.

The potential preservation is through the Montgomery County Agricultural Land Preservation Program. Here is how the program is described on the county’s website:

The Montgomery County Agricultural Land Preservation Program, also known as the farmland preservation program, purchases agricultural easements on productive farms in Montgomery County. When the easement is sold, the owner keeps the land but no longer has the right to build non-agricultural buildings. The land must remain in farming in perpetuity. The farmer may sell the land, but the new owner must continue to grow productive crops or pasture on it. Applying to the program is voluntary.

The voluntary nature of the program was stressed during the meeting. It is up to the owner of Maple Acres Farm to accept the county’s offer. The deal has not been finalized, nor accepted, at this point.

In relation to Plymouth Township, the township would pay 15% of the agreed to fee made by the county to the farm. No specific dollar amount was mentioned.

The majority of the funding for the program comes from the county and state. The municipality of the farm also sometimes participate in providing funding. Each year the Montgomery County Commissioners can allocate funding towards this program. The state’s funding comes from cigarette taxes, the Environmental Stewardship Fund, and other sources.

164 farms have been preserved in Montgomery County under this program. These farms total 9,307 acres. Throughout Pennsylvania 5,399 farms have been preserved totaling 557,613 acres.

During its next meeting on January 14th, Plymouth Township’s Council will vote to make the allocation towards the preservation plan. The township would only be responsible for the contribution if the property owner accepts the county’s proposal.

More to come.