Planning Commission

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Jan 14

Highlights of New Laws That May Impact Planning in Montgomery County

Posted on January 14, 2015 at 8:05 AM by Michael Stokes

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The General Assembly formally adjourned the 2013-14 Legislative Session on November 12 and ended a legislative year with few new laws that will impact planning in the Commonwealth.   A total of 204 laws were enacted in 2014, yet only one of them amends the Municipalities Planning Code.  Some of the new laws enacted in 2014 include:

Anti-Stream Buffers: House Bill 1565  is a law that environmental groups say weakens the current Department of Environmental Protection requirements for stream buffers in Special Protection Watersheds.  It was signed into law as Act 162.  Click Here for more background information on it.  This law only impacts two streams in Montgomery County (Valley Creek and Unami Creek).

Veto of Climate Plan: House Bill 2354  authorizes one-House of the General Assembly to veto any greenhouse gas emission reduction plan required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It was signed into law as Act 175.  Click Here for more background on it.

Stormwater Management: Senate Bill 1255, which provides additional stormwater management options for municipal authorities, was signed into law as Act 123.  Click Here for more background.

Public Disaster Grants: Senate Bill 720  establishes the Public Disaster Assistance Grant Program.  It was signed into law as Act 187.  Click Here for more information on it.

Energy Efficiency Technology: House Bill 1672, signed into law as Act 165, provides for testing of energy efficiency technologies.  Click Here for more background about it.

Geospatial Board: Senate Bill 771, now Act 178, establishes the State Geospatial Coordinating Board.  Click Here for more background information about this new law.

Local Recreation Fees:  House Bill 1052 further authorizes uses for local recreation fees.  This bill amends Section 503 (11) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code to enable municipalities to use recreation fees for certain park maintenance purposes in addition to acquisition of park land and construction of park facilities.  The Governor signed the bill into law as Act 135.  Click Here for more background about it.

Electronic Ordinance Submission to the County:  House Bill 1529 (governing townships of the second class) - Act 2, Senate Bill 1081 (governing townships of the first class) - Act 11, and HB 1719 (governing boroughs) - Act 37 provide for the transmission of municipally enacted laws from boroughs, townships of the second class and townships of the first class to the county through electronic means if the county elects to use electronic ordinance storage.  The boroughs amendment is embodied in an entire rewrite of the borough code with other amendments.  The county law library is the official county depository of local ordinances.

Eminent Domain Fees: Senate Bill 1096, enacted as Act 120, would limit fees paid for certain appraisal and legal costs during the eminent domain process. 

Agriculture Buildings: House Bill 1440, enacted as Act 159, exempts “high tunnel” or “hoop houses” from the PA Building Code requirements.  These temporary buildings are often used in the growing of early spring produce crops on farms.


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