Officials mull proposed ag law: The ordinance would give Peach Bottom Twp. officials power to police the industry,
July 27th, 2007
The Peach Bottom Township board of supervisors is studying an agricultural ordinance proposed by a resident that would give the township more power in regulating farming operations.
The board recently agreed to read "The Peach Bottom Sustainable Agriculture and Community Self-Government Ordinance" submitted by Laura Yanney. She wants the board to adopt the law before the zoning hearing board acts on a proposal for a large hog operation on Gemmill Road. Yanney was among about 70 people who attended the board's June meeting. Most of those who attended were opposed to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
The proposed ordinance would give supervisors the power to police agricultural industry and corporations, Yanney said. Township solicitor Gilbert Malone said that when it comes to agriculture, township law cannot be stricter than state law. However, Ben Price, attorney [sic] for the Carlisle-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, said his organization has helped more than 40 Pennsylvania municipalities adopt regulations that transcend state law, he said.
The township zoning hearing board is reviewing an application for a CAFO filed by Eric and Steven Gemmill. The brothers want to build a barn to house up to 4,400 hogs on the 120-acre farm owned by their parents, David and Martha Gemmill.
The township adopted CAFO regulations about three years ago in response to residents who opposed a CAFO proposal submitted by Craig and Jennifer Metzler for Route 851 and Aubel Road. Those regulations were based on recommendations made by a committee that included both single-family homeowners and farmers.
Further discussion on "The Peach Bottom Sustainable Agriculture and Community Self-Government Ordinance," submitted to Peach Bottom Township supervisors by resident Laura Yanney, is expected during the supervisors' meeting Monday.