Rural Enterprise Guidelines
Pennsylvania’s “Agricultural Area Security Law”, known as Act 43, 3 P.S. §§901. et seq., and the Regulations promulgated thereunder by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture [See: Subchapter I, §138e.241] require that an Agricultural Conservation Easement (ACE) shall not prevent customary part-time or off-season minor or rural enterprises which are provided for in the County Agricultural Conservation Easement Program approved by the State Board [See: 3 P.S. §914.(c)(6)(v)]. Please see the Rural Enterprise Guidelines above.
Agriculture-related products, services and activities associated with customary part-time or off-season minor or rural enterprises are permissible, provided that they remain incidental to the plant and animal production. Except as otherwise set forth herein, the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board (BCALPB), or its staff, will review and approve or disapprove all customary part-time or off-season minor or rural enterprises on a case-by-case basis. In order to obtain a required approval for a rural enterprise, an application form must be submitted to the BCALPB office by 12:00 noon two weeks prior to a regularly scheduled Board meeting.
The construction of new buildings for the purpose of “Customary Part-Time, Off-Season Minor and/or Rural Enterprises” is prohibited.
Procedures for Approval of a Rural Enterprises
Parcel Modification Form
Landowners submit a written request (or use the form above) for a customary part-time or off-season minor or rural enterprise to the County Office for preliminary review. The written request shall describe the rural enterprise and:
1. Specify which section of the rural enterprises permits the activity;
2. Identify the landowners and operator of the rural enterprise;
3. Identify the location of the rural enterprise;
4. Discuss whether it involves the direct sale to the public of agricultural products produced principally on the farm;
5. Specify how much total eased land will be involved in acres and by percentage;
6. Describe any excavation, paving, gravelling, or construction of non-agricultural structures;
7. Discuss updates to the conservation plan, if any;
8. Discuss how the farm operation will be impacted by the rural enterprise; and,
9. Specify that land will not be taken out of production for the rural enterprise.
Landowners may submit sketches or other documentation that may be useful for the County Board to render a decision.
The County Office will review the request and submit it to the County Board. Landowners will be notified as to when the County Board will consider the request and are encouraged to attend the meeting to present the request and answer questions.