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Farmer wins eminent domain fight, preserving farm and history

Understanding how to fight claims of eminent domain can be as simple as saving a family farm or preserving important Pennsylvania history. Being threatened by an eminent domain action can be unsettling and overwhelming.

One Pennsylvania farmer, who sells his vegetables in Lancaster, where his farm is located, Philadelphia and New York, was able to preserve his farm through a dual land easement with the county and Lancaster Farmland Trust. In 2001, his farm was threatened with eminent domain by a developer. The farmer submitted an application to preserve the tenth generation family farm with the county's Agricultural Land Preservation Board. According to the farmer, preserving the farm was the only way to prevent it from being taken.

There may be a variety of options to consider when faced with threats of government acquisition of private property known as eminent domain actions. For farmers seeking to preserve farmland in Pennsylvania, the response may require an application for the farmland to be preserved by placing an application with the county preservation board or land trust. Lands most at risk of development are placed at the top of the list to be reviewed. Other options, such as fighting for just compensation when land is taken, may be another available response, depending on the circumstances.

When protecting property rights, it is important to understand the options that may be available to property owners. Defending property rights and keeping properties are among the goals property owners may have, and options that may be available, depending on the unique circumstances of each situation. Because of the understandable importance most property owners place on property rights, it is useful to be familiar with options available to fight claims of eminent domain.

Source: Pennlive.com, "How one family rescued its 200-year-old farm: Preserving Pennsylvania," Candy Woodall, Jan. 12, 2015

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