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Mulching, special events halted at Froehlich Farm


Pennsylvania Senior Judge Richard A. Lewis has granted an injunction, sought jointly by Buckingham Township and Bucks County, to bar further mulch manufacturing, and to ban continuation of festivals and carnivals, on a 112-acre property on York Road known as Froehlich Farm.

The decision was announced at the township’s March 27 meeting of the board of supervisors.

In the 21-page decision, Lewis stated that the activities violated both a 1999 Agricultural Conservation Easement on 106 acres of the property and township zoning ordinances.

The judge also acknowledged the plaintiffs’ contention that “the mulching operation is causing noxious odors and health concerns that affect residents living near the farm.”

In an email after the meeting, Township Manager Dana Cozza noted that the stated health effects “to folks living in the neighboring development” to the York Road property meant that “the state right-to-farm laws did not apply to override the township zoning laws.”

Cozza further noted that in addition to the festival and carnival events being deemed as prohibited by the easement, they “did not, in the main, generate revenue from products produced on the farm, but rather included things such as live music, a local brewery concession, inflatables, air guns, kid’s crafts, a cow train, a monster slide, and fireworks.”

She added that the mulch operation was deemed in violation of the easement because “more than half of the material being manufactured into mulch was imported from off the farm.”

She concluded that the township “is encouraged that the terms of preservation easements…are being enforced;” that “the township is further heartened that the health of its residents is a predominant consideration in the application of its zoning laws;” and “the township will continue to vigorously seek to enforce those conservation easements that have been purchased over large swaths of township land devoted to agriculture.”

The court decision noted that the 1999 easement agreement with the commonwealth, county, and township “provided consideration to the Farm of approximately $1.274 million dollars.” A 2022 required inspection by the county noted “composting operations, or mulching, encroaching on once productive, cultivated soils.”

Froehlich’s Farm & Garden Center is a fourth-generation, family-owned business that dates back to the 1940s.

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