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  • Agricultural Law Research Center

Agricultural Zoning

Center Resources

Research Publications:



Pennsylvania statutes are accessible online through the Unofficial Purdon’s Pennsylvania Statutes website. Be aware that this information is subject to change as a result of subsequent amendments. Please consult an attorney if you are in need of the most up-to-date statutory information.

Case Law

Pennsylvania Supreme Court:

Some of these cases may be available at a law library or accessible online for those with LexisNexis, Westlaw, or other electronic database accounts.

  • C & M Developers, Inc. v. Bedminster Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 820 A.2d 143 (Pa. Nov. 1, 2002) (holding a township ordinance with the purpose of preserving agricultural lands was reasonable insofar as it required landowners of tracts greater than ten acres to set aside fifty to sixty percent of the agriculturally productive lands but unreasonable insofar as it required one-acre minimum lot sizes for homes on the developed land; finding lot size requirement was not substantially related to the preservation of agricultural lands).
  • Boundary Drive Associates v. Shrewsbury Tp. Bd. Of Sup’rs, 507 Pa. 481 (Pa. 1985) (finding an ordinance that permits a maximum of two dwellings on tracts comprised exclusively of first quality farmland is substantially related to farmland preservation).
  • Hopewell Township Board of Supervisors v. Golla, 452 A.2d 1337 (Pa. 1982) (holding the public interest in preservation of farmland is insufficient to justify disparate treatment of landowners of smaller and larger tracts with regard to the percentage of their tract they are permitted to devote to single-family homes).
  • Eller v. Board of Adjustment of London Britain Township, 198 A.2d 863 (Pa. 1964) (holding an ordinance requiring a setback for mushroom houses of 500 feet from the nearest roadside line and 1000 feet from all other lot boundaries is unreasonable as it would require an inordinate acreage).

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court:

  • Lancaster Tp. v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of Lancaster Tp., 6 A.3d 1032 (Pa. Commw. Ct. May 27, 2010) (finding that a building used to store trucks, which were occasionally used to haul hay and fertilizer but mostly to transport items such as cooking oil and windows, is not permitted as an agricultural use in an agricultural district).
  • Tennyson v. Zoning Hearing of W. Bradford Twp., 952 A.2d 739 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Jun. 27, 2008) (holding an indoor riding arena is a subordinate and customarily incidental use to a stable; upholding special exception).
  • Stoltzfus v. Zoning Hearing Bd. Of Eden Tp., Lancaster County, 937 A.2d 548 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Nov. 7, 2007) (determining a log processing business in which the trees are shipped to the property in order to be processed does not constitute a forestry use).
  • Burkholder v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of Richmond Twp., 902 A.2d 1006 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Jul. 14, 2006) (holding the Pennsylvania Nutrient Management Act preempts a setback requirement applied to a hog finishing building and addition).
  • Christman v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of the Twp. of Windsor, 854 A.2d 629 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Jul. 15, 2004) (finding inclusion of certain properties in a new agriculture preservation zone did not constitute spot zoning).
  • McGonigle v. Lower Heidelberg Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 858 A.2d 663 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Sep. 22, 2004) (holding that Petitioner is not entitled to a validity variance because the effect of the agricultural preservation zoning regulations are not unique to his property and the property may reasonable be used in compliance).
  • Heritage Building Group, Inc. v. Plumstead Twp. Bd. of Supervisors, 833 A.2d 1205 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Oct. 17, 2003) (finding land currently used for agriculture or agricultural-related purposes is considered “developed” when determining whether the township is required to provide for its fair share of multi-family housing).
  • Baker v. Chartiers Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 677 A.2d 1274 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1996) (holding rezoning of a farm from agricultural to industrial district constituted spot zoning).
  • Henley v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of West Fallowfield Tp., 155 Pa. Cmwlth. 306 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1993) (finding an agricultural residential zoning ordinance based on soil type is constitutionally valid).
  • Bd. of Twp. Sup'rs of Middlesex Twp. v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of Middlesex Twp., 567 A.2d 787 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1989) (holding that the operation of a fur business is not a legitimate agricultural use).
  • Codurus Township v. Rodgers, 492 A.2d 73 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1985) (determining an ordinance provision precluding the division of productive farmland into tracts of less than fifty acres is rationally related to the goal of preserving agricultural land in Codurus Township).
  • Pace Resources, Inc. v. Shrewsbury Tp. Planning Com’n, 89 Pa. Cmwlth. 468 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1985) (determining the rezoning of 37 acres of land purchased for the purpose of subdividing the property into an industrial park from industrial to agricultural constituted arbitrary and unjustifiably discriminatory zoning).
  • Barnhart v. Zoning Hearing Board of Nottingham, Township, Washington County, 411 A.2d 1266 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1980) (finding that despite a partially commercial nature, the boarding of horses where the use of the property is sufficiently pastoral in nature is an agricultural use within the meaning of a Nottingham Township ordinance).
  • Fazio v. Zoning Hearing Board of East Marlborough Township, 378 A.2d 1299 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1977) (holding an ordinance setting setback requirements for mushroom plants is not so overly restrictive as to exclude them from the township and is therefore not arbitrary and unreasonable on its face).
  • Cutler v. Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board, 367 A.2d 772 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1976) (finding the leasing of apartments to the general public is not accessory to any principle agricultural use).
  • Klavon v. Zoning Hearing Board of Marlborough Township, 340 A.2d 631 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1975) (determining that a commercial greenhouse constitutes an agricultural use).

Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas:

  • Camilli v. Stufflet, 76 Pa. D. & C. 294 (Berks Ct. Com. Pl. 1951) (finding refusal to issue a permit to build a mushroom house along an unimproved dirt road, surrounded by woodland and a vacant farm was invalid as arbitrary, unreasonable and confiscatory).

Government Agencies

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:


Some of these articles may be available at a law library or accessible online for those with LexisNexis, Westlaw, or other electronic database accounts. Some hyperlinks may only be available for those users with access to HeinOnline.