– Legislation sponsored by Rep. Jack Rader (R-Monroe) that will help communities in Pennsylvania to maintain public land for the benefit of their residents has been signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf as Act 15 of 2022
“The bill will allow local governments to better maintain municipal-owned lands used for parks and recreational purposes,” said Rader. “Under the measure, if township residents had passed an open space tax by referendum, any open space property acquired prior to the referendum would still be eligible for up to 25% of this tax for development, maintenance, improvement, design, and engineering of the property.”
Previously, municipal property that served an open space benefit but was not purchased under the auspices of the Open Space Act of 1967 could not be developed or maintained using open space funds.
Under Act 15, local governments may also now create an open space maintenance fund into which up to 25% of the annual revenue from the open space tax may be deposited.
Open space benefits are defined as the protection and conservation of water resources and watersheds; forests and land being used to produce timber crops; farmland; existing or planned park, recreation or conservation sites; natural or scenic resources, including soils, beaches, streams, flood plains, steep slopes or marshes; scenic areas for public visual enjoyment from public rights of way; sites of historic, geologic or botanic interest; and open spaces between communities.
Act 15 will take effect in 60 days.