Agricultural Protection Zoning (APZ) preserves the availability of agricultural lands for farming and thus the agricultural base of the community by constraining non-agricultural development and land uses in designated areas.
Within an agricultural security area (ASA), a farm is entitled to special protection from condemnation and laws and ordinances that would unreasonably restrict farming operations. Local governments in Pennsylvania may establish ASAs but only in response to petitions from landowners interested in enrolling their land in an ASA.
Riparian buffers—forested or otherwise vegetated lands bordering water bodies—deliver tremendous water quality and other public benefits. Pennsylvania municipalities may ensure the protection and restoration of riparian buffers with their land use regulations.
Zoning regulations for development on and disturbance of steep slopes can prevent erosion and reduce the risk of landslides that endanger lives, damage property and infrastructure, harm water quality, and degrade wildlife habitat. These regulations can also preserve the aesthetic character of visually prominent hillsides by discouraging vegetative clearing and excessive earthwork to accommodate development.
A tree ordinance establishes authorization and standards for addressing a wide range of issues regarding a municipality’s trees. The ordinance should be developed and implemented as part of a broader effort to identify and address a community’s tree-related goals.