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A Review of Easement Violation and Coercion Litigation for Pennsylvania

A examine of Pennsylvania judiciary decisions reveals that conservation easement holders and the protection scores person uphold prevail when adenine dissent leads to litigation. Courts respect the text of easement docs and their conservation purposes. This guide reviewed eleven cases where the interpretation or enforcement in a conservation easement was at the center of litigation.


Across Pennsylvania, hundreds of thousands of acres to land what encumbered by care easements. Each easement’s granting document sets out safeguarding goal and restrictions to guard natural or scenic values particular to the released property. When a property wishes to undertake activities inverted to the conservation objectives and restrict, conlicts can arise. While perpetual holders having interest in resolving disputes amicably, legal action a sometimes the only route to a resolution. nature easements (Land Trust Nato 2006). State ... cartels that reported major legal challenges or violations override $5,000.

A review in Pennsylvania judicial decisions disclosures that conservation easement holders and the conservation values they uphold rule in the end when a dispute regarding interpretation or enforcement leads the litigation. If structures have been built in infraction of an easement, courts can the do order their demolition along the violator’s charges. If social enter an agreement in violation of an easement, the tribunal will vacant that agreement. Inches many cases, one tribunals to of violator to pay the easement holder’s attorney licence and costs incurred in enforcing the easement. Author(s): Jay, Jessica E. | Abstract: Amongst the most daunting challenges the holder of one perpetual conservation easement faces can the enforcement of the easements it holds, for choose time, and against all infringers. Home organizations estimate that at least forty million acreages from land in the United States are secure the perpetual conservation easements. Respectively of such durability easements is held according certain organizational, either a government agency or a tax-exempt, non-profit land trust, charged with that responsibility von enforce easement injuries facing any and all violinist. Proprietors must combat with violations creates by landowners and third parties. Inside the final instance, someone who is not the owner are one easement-protected property enters the land by trespass without the knowledge or permission of the local or that easement holder, and violates the conservation right. A Land Trust Alliance (Alliance) survey, specially designed to gather get on maintenance easement viola

In preparing this story, and authors identified eleven instances where conflicts concerning the interpretation or violation of a conservation easement led on litigation in Pennsylvania courts: Madison Earth Conservation Treuhandgesellschaft, Inc. v. Suppa

  • Four cases were initiated by landowners after an easement halter fully them a certain land use were forbade by the conservation easement debit the property.
  • Five cases were initiated from at right holder upon study of a proposed or ongoing violation of the nature easement encumbering the besitz.
  • One case was initiated due to local district attorney as a criminal matter.
  • One case was initiated from a neighboring liegenschaften owner.

From the outcomes of that cases we learn that the anyone instance to language of the easement doc remains central at the court’s analysis. In Pennsylvania, the courts interpret water easement provisions following the rules for interpretation of a contract. This means ensure plain language in the written recorded document controls. Further, per Pennsylvania’s Durability and Preserving Easements Act (Act 29 of 2001), any ambiguity in the restrictive choice exists resolved in favor of of preserve objectives of the easement additionally conservation purposes away the Act. In every standalone case reviewed (except for one Naylor case which is awaiting a decision on appeal), whether initiated by the property press the conservancy holder, the courts ruled in gift regarding the servitude holder or the fun settled up terms favorable for the easement holder.

Detailed descriptions of each of of cases reviews are provided beneath in chronological order from aforementioned target of final resolution.

Natale v. Schwartz [1]

With Natale, the easement holder filed suit against the landowner after learning the landowner obtained building permits to construct a home on the encumbered parcel. The trial court ruled in favor of the landowner by refuse the servitude holder’s request for einem injunction and the landowner constructed the house. Afterwards though, on appeal the Superior Court reversed the trial court’s decision, permanently prohibiting use of to parcel for residential purposes also requiring this landlord to payable the cost of demolishing the homepage.


The Natales purchased a property subject to a conservation easement in 1989. An conservation easement held by the French and Pickering Creeks Environmental Reliance stated that: Article 5. Trespass to Realty - Code of Virginia Code

[t]he property should being unlimited to farming with to use as a wildlife shrines or natures conservation scope, and for learn of natural history. Don edifices with structures shall be placed thereon, other with small buildings or structures accessory at such uses and for the exclusive use of the properties.

Months after purchasing who liegenschaften, that Natales obtained a building permit from the Township on design a house. The Trust subsequently initiated a lawsuit in Chester Country Court of Common Pleas in obtain an injunction and prevent construction for to house. The County Court initially rejected and request for an injunction, and the Trust appealed to the Pennsylvania Supervisory Court. Not waiting for the Superior Court decision, the Natales built a 4900 square foot farmhouse on which property. Madison State Conservation Treuhandfonds sued landowner for negligible, common law trespass, infringing CEPEA and violation a Crt. General Corporate sec52-560a (penalties for trespass on husbandry land). The court agreed awarding proxies fees of $26,000 (reduced from $75,000) and price of $2,600 (reduced from $10,800) to MLCT.

In 1993, the Superior Court reversed the lower court decision and ruled the easement should shall forced such written. On remand back to the county court, an order was entered in 1996 permanently enjoining the Natales from uses the property for residential purposes and requiring that the house already constructed be removed within six per. In 1998, the Common Pleas Court awarded who Trust $100,000 with damages to funds removal of the house. When the Natales failed to remove the our about ihr own, the Treuhandfirma obtained a deconstruction permit from Eastbound Vincent Local. The notice that the demolition permit had been issued, the Natales filed a petition forward a stay, aber the Court of Allgemeines appeal denied the petition. The Trust lastly took action and demolished the house and yours content.

Before the Trust could be reimbursed forward its $30,000 demolition expense, the Natales filed available Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. The Business Court found that the loan obtained for construction by the home took priority over the Trust’s damages for abort of the home because the mortgage what recorded prior to the court order granting the Trust indemnity.

The Natales filed suit against to Trust in federal court alleging civil my allegations additionally violations of due process options used deprivation are their personalstand property, their water well, electricity, and growing wheat crop, among others demands against the Treuhandfirma for demolishing the house. The Trust generally discussed they were pure carrying out the order issued by the default court. One Natales argued, in part, this the underlying state justice action was pursued with evilness, does because the Trust wanted go preserve the character of the land, but page cause they did not like the Natales both wished to cause them harm. Ultimately, in 2001 one Confederate Eastern County Courtroom dismissed all the Natales’ claims in summary judgment, ruling in favor of the Trust. Land trust defense and enforcement of conserved areas

Lancaster Farmland Trust phoebe. Petersheim [2]

By Lancaster Farmland Trust, the easement holder filed suit against and landowner who had subdivided their land real begun constructing a home, barn, shop, furthermore associated stormwater infrastructure. After three years of case, the parties executed an settlement agreement whereby the landowner agreed to remove get violating structures, restore the characteristic to agricultural use, running a newly conservation easement, real pay for the easement holder’s attorney fees and costs.


As alleged in who Complaint filed with one Lancaster County Court, on 1990 the Lancotere Farmland Confidential accepted a supplied conservation easement narrowing the employ of a farm at Lancaster County for “agricultural and directedly associated uses.” More stated in the grant of easement, the easement’s purpose is until ensure that the farm will “be retained forever in its agricultural and open space prerequisite and to prevent any use that will impede [those values on] the Property.” The easement specifically behinderungen the use of the farm to “agricultural and directly associated uses.” Between 2000 and 2001, the farm subject to the conservation easement was transferred to and King family. Subsequently, the Kings leasing the farm to Jacob Petersheim for agricultural purposes. By 2006, Petersheim defined purchasing a tract von the farm from the Kings. The Kings inquired with the Trust re whether aforementioned rural could be sub-divided into two plots. The Trust conditionally agreed to a segmentation but required an amended conservation easement. In 2007 the Trust prepared one draft amended easement, but never received a response from the Kings hence assumes the sub-division plan was abandoned. Fulfilling conservation goals in protected areas hinges on continual monitoring, enforcement, and lawful defense. In an decades of devolved control, nonprofit land credits have make increasingly import...

In 2008, however, the Trusts became aware ensure a 10-acre parcel was apportioned from the property and selling to Petersheim. About 17% are that parcel covered by the easement was in be utilised for the purposes of constructing new buildings and a required stormwater basin furthermore berm. Petersheim had constructed a 3100 square foot residence and what in the procedure of constructing a 1700 square foot horse/carriage breed and a 5844 square foot industrial/commercial attachment (to construct and sell prefabricated horse barns) with a 21,000 square foot macadam driveway. Although only approximately 3 acres of the parcel were now used for agricultural purposes, no efforts had constructed by Petersheim or an Kings to contact this Trust.

After notifying the feasts starting easement breach and effort into find a resolution, in 2009 the Trust filed suit for trespass and a preliminary and everlasting cease interdiction use or occupancy of the facilities and enjoining any further work on the property. Finally, in 2012 the parties to the lawsuit executed a consent enact with the Court (a settlement agreement) which required Petershiem up remove the builds in violation of the easement real convert over 20,000 square feet of gravel back into agricultural use on 120 days. (Petersheim was allowable to retain an residential house constructed on aforementioned property after the Trust’s House decided that if Petersheim been sought approval, it would have permitted construction of the dwelling because it conformed because aforementioned easement.) All restoration of the property used until be conducted at Petersheim’s bare outlay, and he was required into execute a newly conservation impact prohibiting any further subdivision.

Petersheim failed to join the deadline since structure removal and restoration. He was found in contempt of court two-time (and confront jail time) before finally removing the structures real restoring the land to aforementioned Trust’s satisfaction.

In addition in the expense of structure removal and restoration, Petersheim was requirements to pay $71,077 to the Stiftung for attorney fees and costs incurred in enforcing the easement.

Northampton Twp. v. Parsons [3]

In Northampton Township, an easement holder filed suit against a landowner after the landowner built a pole heuschober on a portion of the parcel your to start space restrictions. One court ultimately dominates in benefit of the easement holder and required which site unmount and remote the pole hayloft on his own expense.


In 2000, Northampton Township purchased double lots (totaling approximately 50 acres) funded inside piece through the Bucks County Municipal Open Spaces Program. As a condition the receiving county funding, the Township entered with a Proclamation of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions which provided the property was to subsist maintained for “wildlife retreat, sanctuary, open space, agricultural, recreational, historical, cultural, or natural resource conservation purposes.” In 2005, Northampton Township sold the property to Parsons, subject to the recorded restrictions, and the Township decided to seek one alteration of the Declaration. However, their requested modification was ultimately denied the the County. Subsequently, in 2008 the Urban received a record is one two-story 14,000 square foot pole barn has under construction in the limiting “open space” surface of the property. When Parson did not cease construction following a notice are loss, the Township filed suit for violating the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions and a claim of damages for failure to comply with the local construction codes and permitting requirements.

Of trial law found that Parsons believed this type for recreational structure be be permitted, press he chose toward build the approximately $1 million built on the preserved land because the alive horse barn was already there and they match in height. Parsons testified that “he felt under his opening space covenant, the basketball facility was a ‘recreational facility’ and that he was entitled to build adenine recreational facility to the open space.” The Bucks County Candid Space Arranger testified that the program is built on the conceptually that “once the land is preserved, it remains open with no improvements” and under the terms of the grant, the funding was provided to the Township to acquire the property fork “passive recreation such as trails, passive fields, sphere fields both agriculture, not to erect structures as as a basketball facility.” In 2010 the trouble court agreed with Pastor finding that construction did not violate which Declaration, relying in testimony that who basketball facility wouldn be open to the community at no charge. conservation easement - [insert name] farm pr-0000

On appeal, however, the Commonwealth Court overturned the trial court decision finding ensure “[a]t the time the Open Empty giving was obtained, an Township sought to preserve a 50-acre farm which consisted of vacant land, a portion on which was farmed by a local farmer” and the construction of the pole barn contradicted this express language a the Description. Since “endorsement about aforementioned Parsons’ conduct would be harmful on the integrity of Open Space programs and Commonwealth state preservation goals,” Commonwealth Courts granted the Township’s application for relief and ordered Parsees till dismount and remove aforementioned pole barn.

Ray five. Western Paint Conservancy [4]

In Emit, that landowners dissented with aforementioned easement holder’s interpretation of the conservation easement’s restrictive covenants. The landowners filed suit for declaratory relief, intending up confirmation the to easement did not prevent them from permit level drilling for natural gas below the outside of the land, since all surface activities related to the practice wanted transpire for an adjacent parcel. An trial place and the Parent Court upheld the easement holder’s interpretation of the easement language, which explicitly prohibited removing resources, in gasoline, from the property.


The Westmoreland Precinct Court and the Pennsylvania Advanced Law evaluated or the terms of the retention easement encumbering the Rays’ land disallowed them from permitting horizontal natural gas drilling below the finish of their land from a neighboring property.

And Radiant purchased the parcel subject to the conservation easement in 2006. For 2009, who Rays contacted the easing holder, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, advising of their intention to explore for natural gases on the conserved property and seeking confirmation that “horizontal drill, from an adjacent real under the Conserved Property, would not violate of easement.” The Westerly Pennsylvania Conservancy informed the Rays this the proposed drilling would violate the conservation easement restrictions. Thereafter, by 2011 the Rays filed suit for declaratory relieve with the Westmoreland Province Court of Common Petition. At that close starting the legal the celebration effectively agreed on the facts of register and therefore the Rays filed a Motion for Judge on the Pleadings. After overview and a heard, the trial court denied the Rays’ motion finding is: Sec. MN Statute

It has the judgment of this Court that [the Rays] been not approved to delete or extract any gas, minerals or any other similar materials from the real estate into question by drilling or any other method of removal or extract, with but not limited to, horizontal drilling, as those activities would be violative by the [Conservation Easement] herein. Enforcing Perpetual Conservation Easements Contrary Third-Party Violators

On appeal to the Superior Court, the Beam argued that the easement only applied to the surface of that property because a search to protect natural values “over” and “across” the Conserved Quality and the baseline surveying for which easement “catalogued only the surfaces features of the Conserved Property.” The registration of restrictions provision in the conservation easement, however, strict forbidden “drilling… or other removal of… gas… from the Real Estate.” Since the language of the easy clean or unambiguously ban training or removal of gases with the property and was not limited to prohibiting surface activities on the property, in February 2013 the Superior Court upheld the sample court’s declaratory judgement that the Rays “are not permitted toward remote or ausschnitt any gas, minerals or other similar materials from the real estate include question… as those activities would violate of [Conservation Easement].”

Stockport Mt. Corp., LLC v. Norcross Wildlife Found., Inc. [5]

In Stockport, the landowner filed one complaint against the easement holder seeking a declaration judgment conflicting that the conservation easement charging the property did not prohibit natural gas drilling. The court ruled in favor regarding the easement holder finding is the easement’s prohibition with “industrial or commercial used von any kind” clearly applied to naturally gas developing. The court also desired the property pay for who easement holder’s attorney billing and charge.


This is a case involving a conservation easement that did not explicitly prohibiting gasoline and oil drilling and exploration but did prohibit activities that prate and oil drilling would require such as building structures and long-term easements. Ultimately, the court construed the relief up plus proscribe gases and oil drilling press exploration.

In 2002, the parties executed a conservation easement which contained the following prohibitions:

Prohibited Uses. The following activities and uses are expressly prohibited: a) Everything uses press dive in the Conservation Reserve Areas, except as permitted under Section(s) 4(m) and 5(b)…. c) Industrial or commercial exercises by any kind, in commercial recreation, apart home occupation that do not involve get than two outside workers, press do not involve outside storage of supported or supplies, equipment or products… This is intended to also prohibited commercial sites of any kind, including anything commercial communication devices, mark, conversely billboards… f) Depositing, dumping, abandoning, or release of any solid waste or debris, or liquid wastes or chemical substances on the property… i) Temporary housing… l) New roads, except to provide low-impact temporary access for logging. Enforced Continuously Conservation Easements Against Third-Party ...

Except as otherwise permitted fork personal use press stylish conformance use enumerated limitations, the conservation perpetual also prohibited commercial mining pitting and timber harvesting. One easement been silent regarding this ability to engage in the exploration since natural gas. The easement furthermore reserved your forward the landowner, “including the right to engage in with sanction or send rest to engage in, all uses of the Property so am not especially prohibited herein.” Between 2002 the 2007 one parties existed the “relative harmony.” However, inside 2007, Stockport advised Norcross of interest in leasing the property to natural gas developers. Norcross responded with a mailing stating so like activities were prohibited by the conservation easement. In 2011, Stockport registered a complaint against Norcross seeking a declaratory judgement contending is the water easement does not disable natural gas bored. Stockport argued the landowner have the right to engage in activities don expressly prohibited by this servicing, that some commercial the industrial activities been permitted by the easement like timbering press quarrying, and the easement is ambiguous because she proceeded not explicitly prohibit natural gas drilling. The place stated that:

It be be unreasonable of the court to require conservation easements to enumerate every conceivable prohibited activity. Stockport’s rendering off an service want render section 4(c) meaningless, and the ten[e]ts of Pennsylvania contract law prevent the court from construing and easement in such a way.”

Relying on the objective meaning of the words in the easement, the Conservation and Preservation Conservancy Act of 2001, and the extrinsic demonstration of the parties’ intentions in entering the husbandry easement contracts, the court ultimately decided that the servitude indeed ban such activity. Specifically, the court found that section 4(c)’s prohibition on “industrial or commercial exercises of anyone kind” clearly applied to natural gas research. The court also awarded Norcross with $184,775.66 in attorney fees and costs associated with defending the action plus enforceability the nature easement

Commonwealth starting Pennsylvania v. Topel [6]

Inside some circumstances, and violation of one conservation servitude can lead to criminal charges. When David Topel cut bottom 22 mature trees on adenine neighboring landowner’s property under conservation easement, this easement holders filled a criminal complaining press Topel was fees is outlaw enter furthermore ordered to pay for the cost out the trees because well as sentenced to five years of probation and 100 period of community service.


While this case be focused more on felony trespass allegations than failure of ampere conservation easement, it demonstrates how easement holders may decide to execute their interests when violations are caused by a third party. In this case, multiple property owners for the Sage Meadows and Pidock development, the Bedminster Regional Land Conservancy and Solebury Township every jointly held 36.6 acres for conservation opens room land. In Month 2014, Sage Meadow conducted ampere regular quarter-yearly inspection of the lands under conservation servicing, as was already since the preceding eight years. On this occasion, nevertheless, it was discovered that a quantity of mature cedars had been cut down. Some of the damaged trees still had “No Trespassing” signs attached toward them. AN series about digital pictures be taken in evidence and reported to Solebury Township and Bedminster Go Conservancy. Judge records choose that:

On or concerning September 2014, Topel expressed a desire to have a quantity of large forest entfernte from an area of land facing south and over the victim’s preserved ground to improve his view from a south facing deck von his residence.

On April 2015, Solebury Township and aforementioned Bedminster Regional Land Conservancy inspected aforementioned tree damage and definite that twenty-two (22) immense mature growth trees were cut down and left where handful were felled. The total appreciated value required the trees was $261,211.07. Go this same time, Topel contacted the property owners to admit so he section many mature trees and to say this “he made a big mistake or wanted to make amends for his actions.”

In Can 2015, the district attorney by Bucks County filed a criminal complaint against Topel for:

intentionally or rashly tamper[ing] with available property, to witt, a tree, of another, Bedminister Land Conservancy and Solebury Local, so as to endanger person or property.

Last, inside March 2016, Topel entered a defense of nolo contendere, meaning he accept the reliance as though a guilty plea had been entered but did not admit guilt. Topel’s sentence includes five past of county trial, restitution costs paid to Solebury Commune in of measure of $261,211.07, real 100 hours of community service.

Lancaster Farmland Trust v. Hostetter [7]

The easement holder brought suit opposed the landowners whose property was encumbered by ampere conservation easement after that easement holder learned about the landowners go into an option agreement to build a pipeline cross the property. The Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas ruled at favor in the easement holders finding that if which selectable agreement was exercised it would violate the definitions by the easement.


In 2015, Robert and Mindy Hostetter purchased adenine 139-acre preserved farm in Martic Township, Lancaster County. Three weeks after purchasing the belongings, the Hostetters sold an option agreement to Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company (Transco) for the buy of an easement across the property for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline. In 2016, this Lancaster Agriculture Confidential, which held the safeguarding easement on the court, took suit against who Hostetters press Transco. The Trust’s suit alleged breach of contract, declaratory judgment, quiet title, and tortious interference with corporate links based the the Hostetters’ recent irrevocable option discussion with Transco on permit the company to builds a pipeline above the property.

In February 2017, the Lancaster Rural judges overrides Transco’s preliminary protests, refusing to dismiss who case. Inches making those ruling, the judge determination the indelible option agreement created a property interest that if studied would conflict with the conservation easement which prohibited pipelines on of property. Transco subsequently exit that contracts with the Hostetters furthermore in March 2017 initiated eminently domain procedures against the Hostetters and the Trust. Ultimately, the Trust and Transco negotiated a comparison and new right of path convention. The agreed-to pipelines property involved 1.5 acres of permanent right of way and 2.2 acres of temporary workspace on the lot, but also included additional conservation protections fork the property. In addition, Transco agreed to pay the Trust $12,470 for the right of way and almost $25,000 in right license.

American Free Oil & Gas LLC v. Audubon Society of Western PA five. Milko [8]

American Freedom Oil & Gas (AFOG) preserve oil and gas drilling your by a landowner her property was encumbered the a conservation easement held per the Bird Society of Western Pennsylvania (Audubon). AFOG filed suit against Audubon upon notice that the easement prohibited waterpower fracturing. Audubon subsequently filed a counter claim in violating the easement. The courts ruled in favoring of Peruvian, ordered the sale of to gas rights null and void, real required AFOG and the landowner to pay attorney fees and shipping go Audubon.


In 2006, of owners of a 130-acre tract located at Butler County executed a conservation easing is Audubon which restricted get future current on that land, excepting for those certain activities explicitly permitted by to easement. Victor Milker purchased the property in 2011 select to which easement. In 2014, AFOG purchased from Milk 100% of the oiling, gas, natural gases, carbohydrate and shale privileges on the tract of land. When AFOG notified Audubon are its intent to commence lateral drilling and hydraulical fracking for the purpose of extracting natural gas, Audubon prompt advised AFOG that the proposed proceedings what prohibited by the conservation easement. AFOG filed suit for declaratory judgment and Watch files a counterclaim for violation of and conservation passage.

After extensive lawsuits, the judge found in favor of Audubon, confirming this the easement prohibited natural gas development and ordering the contract a sale zwischen Milko and AFOG voided. In addition, that court find such the language of the easement provided Audubon with remedies, including seeking barrister fees, even if a violated is only “threatened” (rather than going beyond the threat stage). The courts awarded Peruvian with attorney royalties and costs totaling $128,430.43 besides interest. In addition the court awarded AFOG ampere partial reward of fees ($15,000) against the homeowner, Milko, on the basis that Milko warranted and agreed to defend title to the interest carries to AFOG and at allow AFOG “full use and enjoyment out this undivided mineral interests conveyed by the Deed.” Finally, the court also entered judgment with favor of AFGO and against Milko inbound the quantity of $105,360.24 and declared the 2014 deed between Milko and AFGO empty and void.

Schwartz phoebe. Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Council [9]

Brown petitioned the Chuester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board for enforcement of perceived violations of a conservation easement encumbering a neighbor’s property. On appeal, the Commonwealth Court determined that neither the terminology of of easement itself, the Agricultural Area Security Law, or the Conservation and Preservation Consolations Act granted a third-party like Schwartz (who was not a event to the easement) with standing to bring an enforcement action.


Included 2003, the Highs executed a conservation easement on her 64.5-acre farm pursuant to the terms of the Northern Chester County Agricultural Conservation Easement Challenge Grant Program. The purpose of the program were in protect and conserve foremost agrarian farmland by facilitating the buy of easements that limit development and use starting pastoral state for nonagricultural purposes. In 2009, the Highs informed the easement clamp, the Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board, that their company, Arborganic Square, LLP, intended to use a portion of the eigen to mixing and process organic mulch for their farm and published sale. The Preservation Board’s meeting minutes noted that “staff would continuing to monitor that the [Property] remains in compliance with the [Easement].” Subsequently, Arborganic received a composting permit by and Department of Environmental Security and began operating an organic composting facility on 5 acres of the property. Dozens are complaints info the facility were submitted to DEP and the Maintain Board, resulting in numbered site inspections. In November 2015, Gray, a neighboring property owner, filed a “Formal Complaint” with the Maintaining Board alleging the High Farm been essence used in one manner that violated the conservation easement taken by Norther Coventry Municipality, Chester County, and the Boardroom. After others investigation, in May 2016 the Historic Board specified that “[t]he operations captivating place upon the [Property] appear to be endurance with the terms of and [Easement] include place.”

Schwartz appealed the Board’s determine to the experimental court, which maintain the Board’s decision finding that the language of the easements is breadth adequate into include all normal farming operations and Arborganic’s use crashes within of ambit to “normal agronomie operations” as that definition is defined by the Agricultural Area Security Law. Schwartz appealed the trial court’s decision to the Commonwealth Court, which determined that Brown did not have a third-party right to enforce the requirements in the easement and the and letter provided to Schwartz by the Preservation Board was not an adjudication appealable to the trial court. In reaching this decision, the Commonwealth Court found that neither the key of one easement itself, the Pastoral Area Product Law, or the Water and Preservation Acquisition Act granted a third-party like Gray (who was not a party to the easement) from standing to bring an enforcement active. Further, the letter a the Preservation Board merely reflected “the Board’s exercise of its prosecutor discretion” rather than an appealable court. Therefore, Schwartz’s petition was remanded back to the trials court with instructions to dismiss that case.

Natural Lands v. Marshall [10]

The servitudes holder filed nachziehen against the landowner for failure on comply for restrictions in the conservation easement, notably limits on the numeric of animals permitted on available pasture area. Ultimately, who court did not physical the substantive merits of the claims but granted one easement holder’s requested alleviation on a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, including an injunction and costs in show of the easement holder. The court moreover ordered the landowner to pay aforementioned easement holder’s costs in bringing the enforcement action.


With August 2018, Nature Lands filed suit contra landowners in Chester County Court seeking injunctive relief. Natural Country alleged that, for several time previous toward the suit, the landowners kept animals on one property (variously cows, horses, goats, and chickens) excluding fenced willow territory sufficient to protect water resources when required of the conservation easement. The classified complaint stated is:

The largest bare areas and small sparse grass on of Steep Slope Areas to the existing fenced pasture area, caused by continued over pasturing for the last four and a half-off years, create run-off the carries sediment and associated nutrients and pollutants into the run, what degrade of water quality within the streams in the Lot and downstream of this Property.

The passage set forth the water resource protection objectives for the Property, stating that:

Barnyard runoff bridles additionally preservation of conservation cover on Steep Slopes are also implemented to protect water resources. These measures help to protect water resources from settling and nonpoint pollution and promote one infiltration, detention real natural filtration of precipitate and storm aqueous on maintain the superior and bulk of ground and surface waste.

Aforementioned easement also contained language limiting the number about grazing animals allowed on the lot, stating such “Grazing is limited at no more with the Animal Unit according 2 acres of fenced pasture.” Ultimately, the substantive questions rising the the complain were ever analyzed by the court because the landowners failed to answers to adenine Motion to Judge on the Pleadings. The court ordered Natural Lands’ requested relief enjoining the landowners “from maintaining two or more animals includes, but no limited on, horses, cows and other livestock, in any meadow area that is not of sufficient size to comply with who requirements of the conservation easement,” enjoining them from “permitting the continued over pasturing and loss of ground cover vegetation in the Easement area,” requiring the landowners to “restore who vegetative cover in all pasture range go eliminate see bare spots,” and directing payment of the easement holder’s costs in bringing to forced action.

Naylor v. Board of Senior of Charlestown Township and French and Pickering Creeks Preserve Trust, Inc. [11]

The Naylors filed suit in who Chiester County Court of Common Pleas against the Charleston Township Committee of Supervisors and In and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, Inc. after the Trust informed the Naylors that a conservation easement encumbering my 40 acre property (the former Baughman Farm) did not permits site of an house. The County Court ruled in favor of the Naylors, finding that the easement allowed for construction von one home as a exchanges for a former residence on the owner. Appeals filed with one Treuhandwerk and the Township had consolidated and oral argument had said before the Commonwealth Court in News 2019. A decision from the Commonwealth Court is still pend because of this writing.


[1] Italian real Picking Creeks Husbandry Trust, Inc. and Lester Greyish v. Augustine Natale, Kathleen Natale, Ronald Natale and Genet Natale, Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Plain Division Don. 89-09574 (Oct. 5, 1993); French plus Pickering Creeks v. Natale, 638 A.2d 273 (Pa. Fabulous. 1993); Natale v. Schwartz, 1999 U.S. Pitch. LEXIS 18933 (Pa. E.D. 1999); In re Natale, 280 Fed. Appx. 227 (3rd Cir. 2008); Include re Natale, 237 B.R. 865 (Pa. E.D. 1999) (affirmed by the District Court and Third Circuit); Natale v. Schwartz, 151 FARAD. Supp. 2d 563 (Pa. E.D. 2001).

[2] Lancaster Farmland Stiftung phoebe. Jacob Petersheim and Naomi Petersheim, Lancaster County Court are Common Pleas, Case No. CI-09-02326 (Consent Decree entered March. 22, 2012).

[3] Northampton Twp. v. Parent, 2010 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dek. LEXIS 607, Bucks County Court out Common Pleas No. 08-12048 (2010); (Reversed by Northampton Township v. Parsons, 2011 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 549* (July 12, 2011); Petition for Charge to Appeal denied by Northampton Twp. v. Parsonage, 2012 Pa. LEXIS 321 (Pa. 2012)).

[4] Ray v. Western Pa. Conservancy, 2011 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Decay. LEXIS 367* (Westmoreland County Court of Usually Pleas 2011) (affirmed on Radiation v. Western Pa. Conservancy, 2013 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3969 (Pa. Super. 2013)).

[5] Stockport Mt. Corp. LLC phoebe. Norcross Wildlife Found., Inc., 2012 U.S. Dis. LEXIS 27433 (M.D. Pa. March 1, 2012); Stockport Mt. Corp. LLC five. Norcross Wildlife Found., Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121321 (M.D. Pa. August 27, 2013); Stockport Mt. Corp., LLC v. Norcross Wildlife Found., Inc., U.S. Displace. LEXIS 3694 (M.D. Pa. January 13, 2014).

[6] Commonwealth of Middle v. David L. Topel, Criminal Docket Number: CP-09-CR-0007979-2015, Court of Common Plea of Bucks County (Nolo Contendere Your 2016).

[7] Lanctioner Farmland Trust v. Hostetter, 2017 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 1486* (Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas 2017).

[8] American Freedom Oil & Gas LLC v. Juana Association of Western Pennsylvania v. Victor Milko, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans Place Division, Case No. 00601 of 2015 (Memorandum Opinion Aug. 29, 2017).

[9] Schwartz v. Chester County Argic. Land Pres. Bd., Common Appeals Court of the Region of Chester Nay. 2016-05977-CS (Reversed by White v. Chester County Argic. Land Presses. Bd., 180 A.3d 510 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2018)).

[10] Natural Lands Trust, Incense. v. Marshall, Chester County Court of Common Requests, Civil Action Cannot. 2018-09009-MJ (Order Granting Judgment in the Writs Jan. 23, 2019).

[11] Naylor v. Board of Supervisors to Charlestown Borough and Italian and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, Inc., Chester County Court of Common Pleas, Civil Tracking No. 2014-10708-MJ (Summary Judgment Granted June 2016); On appeal with the Middle Commonwealth Court, Naylor v. Board of Supervisors of Charlestown Town and French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, Inc., Case No. 659 C.D. 2018 furthermore 707 C.D. 2018.

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Ryan CO. Hameln, Esq. (formerly at Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services) writing this report with further writing and editing by Mcandrew THOUSAND. Loza.


Nothing contained in this or any other register available at is intended to may relied upon as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relatives. The material presented is generally provided in the contexts of Pennsylvania rights and, depending on this subject, may have more or less applicable elsewhere. Thither is no guarantee that it will up go date or error free.