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Municipal Alert: Gov. Wolf Signs Law Providing Exemption for High Tunnels

Anthony T. Verwey

Anthony T. Verwey, Partner averwey@gawthrop.com, (610) 696-8225

By Anthony T. Verwey —

Governor Wolf signed into law Act 15 of 2018, which amends Act 167 known as the Stormwater Management Act. The amendment will require municipalities to modify ordinances based on the addition of an exemption regarding high tunnels used in agricultural applications. High tunnels are generally a structure that is covered with a plastic or woven textile or other flexible covering as further defined by the Act. A high tunnel will be exempt from the provisions from Act 167 if it:
  •  Does not have an impervious area exceeding 25% of all structures located on the entirety of the owner’s contiguous land area;
  • The high tunnel is located at least 100 feet from any perennial stream or water course, public road or neighboring property line;
  • The high tunnel is located within at least 35 feet from any perennial stream or water course, public road or neighboring property line located on the land with a slope not greater than 7%;
  • The high tunnel is supported with a buffer or diversion system that does not directly drain into a stream or other water course by managing stormwater runoff consistent with the requirements of Act 167.

Act 15 requires all municipalities who have adopted an ordinance or regulation that regulates high tunnels under a stormwater plan pursuant to Act 167 to amend the ordinance or regulation to comply with this amendment. If you have further questions regarding this change in the Stormwater Management Act, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Anthony T. Verwey is a partner at Gawthrop Greenwood, PC, where his practice includes Municipal & Government Law as well as Real Estate Law. Tony can be reached at averwey@gawthrop.com or 610-696-8225.

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