Continuing its commitment to “promote more permanent and viable farming operations” within its borders, Richland Township has added another large parcel to its Agricultural Security Area (ASA) District.
The addition of the 55.45 acre Clymer property on Axe Handle Road brings the total acreage for the township’s ASA to over 1,340.
The addition action, by resolution, was taken at the township’s May 13 public board of supervisor’s meeting, following a presentation on the owner’s application and an overview of the ASA program, by Zoning Officer Rich Brittingham, and completion of a public hearing on the matter.
The ASA designation, which requires a minimum of 10 acres, protects properties against “nuisance” complaints, such as odor during fertilizer application, and against eminent domain condemnation for uses such as highways or schools.
Brittingham noted the township’s ASA program began in 2008 with 26 parcels totaling over 516 acres; continued in 2011 with another 20 properties for 502 more acres; added 4 more parcels for another 137 acres in 2015; and since then added its smallest unit, 12 acres, and its largest, 119 acres. As the usual procedure, the Clymer addition was approved previously by the Bucks County Planning Commission, and by the township’s planning commission and agricultural security area committee.
The Clymer property is currently active farmland. The approval resolution notes that the township’s “active farming areas contribute to the livelihood of area farmers and the quality of life and the economic health of our community.” ASA designations are sometimes followed by permanent preservation via purchase of conservation easements.
The township’s 2009 open space plan update calls for “encouraging and supporting the continuation of farming; encouraging landowners to join the ASA; and preserving farmland in strategic locations.”
Also during the May 13 meeting, officials noted that its response to truck traffic complaints included a significant increase in citations for violations, and that its addition of another police department certified specialist for truck inspection violations was on track for near-term deployment.
The “black pipes sticking out” on Route 309 were noted as part of the construction of the long-awaited closed loop system for coordinating traffic signals to improve traffic flow, and were not gas lines as some residents had feared.
Police Sgt. Mike Kisthardt announced that the next shredding event would be held 10 a.m. to noon on June 1, at department headquarters on California Road. Those who cannot make a dropoff at that time can do so ahead of time, for secure storage until then.
The township joined neighboring Haycock, and other townships throughout the state, in supporting legislative reform of the state’s right-to-know law. While the law is designed to promote government transparency, small towns have complained of being overburdened by abuse of the law, particularly by commercial interests that enlist lean municipal staffs to help them compile marketing lists.