Exeter Township Supervisors agreed to pay for the hearing required to add a 42-acre property to Oley Township's agricultural security area.The property along Oley Turnpike Road in Exeter is owned by Timothy and Judith Canavan.
Canavan had written a request to Oley supervisors in April requesting the modification of Oley's agricultural security area to include his property.
At their April 19 meeting, the Oley supervisors agreed to add the property, contingent upon Exeter picking up the expenses. Inclusion in the security area affords the farmland owner protections against nuisance complaints from neighboring residents and protects the farm from condemnation.
Currently about 15 acres of the land is being farmed, and Canavan told the board he is looking into adding forestry management activities and possibly clearing some trees from the property to create additional farmland and reach the minimum 50 percent agricultural use required by the county to apply to its agricultural conservation easement program. The easement program compensates landowners for relinquishing development rights to the land.
Exeter does not have its own agricultural security area, and township Manager Troy Bingaman said it's unlikely that the township would have enough landowners interested in participating to meet the minimum requirement of 250 acres to form an agricultural security area within the township.
However, Exeter farm owners are able to join Oley's agricultural security area, even if their properties do not border Oley Township or aren't adjacent to other protected properties.
Canavan isn't the first property owner to join Oley's security area. Troxel Road farm owner Louise Swartly added her farm years ago, and, according to Oley Supervisors Chairman David Kessler, Oley had also been asked to add the Ritters Road farm property of Jordan Bausher to the agricultural security area prior to the Exeter School Board's filing to take the property by eminent domain.