Agricultural Security Areas
Authorized through PA Act 43, P.L. 128, No. 43, the Agricultural Security Area Law, as amended. ASAs are legally recorded areas whose members receive special consideration regarding local ordinances affecting normal farming practices, state agency rules and regulations, and in eminent domain condemnation proceedings. Members are eligible to sell their development rights to the County and/or State through the agricultural conservation easement program. The ASA is a voluntary, non-restrictive land use program to strengthen agricultural communities and provide limited protection against nuisance suits and condemnation hearings.
The ASA is administered at the township level and proposals to join should be sent to your township office by certified mail, return receipt requested. ASAs are formed by local municipalities when individual landowners jointly agree to place at least 250 acres of their land in such an area.
The following ASA map is based on information provided by the municipalities.
ASAs provide three main benefits to landowners:
- Local municipalities may not impose on an ASA member a nuisance ordinance that would interfere with normal farming activities.
- Use of eminent domain to condemn farmland for projects such as schools or highways is restricted in an ASA.
- If the ASA is composed of at least 500 contiguous acres, landowners may be able to acquire greater protection from development by applying to sell an agricultural conservation easement, or their developmental rights, to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and/or the County of Chester.
Farm tract may consist of any number of non-contiguous parcels, provided that each is at least 10 acres in size, or has an anticipated yearly gross income of at least $2,000 from the agricultural production of crops, livestock, and livestock products on such parcel. The tracts need not be under the same ownership nor be located in the same municipality; the Agricultural Security Area Law (Act 43 of 1981) provides for the formation of joint municipality ASAs.
- The property must be used for agriculture. Cropland, woodland and pasture are all viable lands to include in an ASA.
- At the minimum, half of the land that comprises the entire ASA should be in soil capability classes I-IV, as defined by the Chester-Delaware County Soil Survey.
- The property must be zoned for agricultural use.
To apply, obtain an application form either from your municipality or by contacting our office via phone, email, or regular mail. All owners of the potential ASA must sign the application for each tract of land that is to be included. Once complete, applications should be mailed to the municipality by certified mail with return receipt requested.