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Buckingham feuds with Froehlich’s over mulching venture


Froehlich’s Farm & Garden Center has been a part of Buckingham Township for generations. Much of the 116-acre York Road property was preserved through a conservation easement in 1999. But, in recent years, the farm’s owners and manager have been battling with the township over a host of activities taking place on the site.

The most recent — and most serious — conflict over a mulching business at the farm has landed Froehlich’s in court, where Buckingham and Bucks County claim the operation violates the agricultural easement, harms residents and pollutes the environment.

In December 2022, nearby Bridge Valley Elementary School had to be temporarily shut down due to a “horrific” odor coming from the mulching facility, according to court documents.

It’s also a zoning violation, said Dana Cozza, Buckingham’s manager.

The township is asking the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas to issue a temporary restraining order and an injunction to stop the “mulching plant.”

“It’s really escalated,” said Cozza. “They’ve been gearing up the mulching operation.”

During a required inspection of the farm in June 2022, John Ives, Bucks County Director of Agricultural Land Preservation and Space Programs, reported increased “composting operations, or mulching, encroaching on once productive, cultivated soils.”

He also found dumping of construction debris and wood piles. Ives sent Chip Froehlich a “violation letter” at the time, but no substantial change was made, court records show.

Over the next several months, Froehlich and Ives exchanged letters and discussed how to quantify and prove that 50 percent or more of the mulched product was coming from farm material and that an adequate portion of preserved land was being returned to farming, as required by the easement, according to the complaint.

However, on Oct. 6, 2022, aerial photography showed construction debris and wood piles still on the eased land, Ives reported. A review of logs found less than 50 percent of the mulching products were coming from farm operations.

No hearing date has yet been set. Attempts to reach Chip Froehlich were unsuccessful.

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