A House committee has reported out legislation to limit the use of eminent domain on land that has been set aside as green space or open space.
House Bill 2468 was sent to the full House on Tuesday by a 27-0 vote.
Montgomery County Republican Reps. Warren Kampf, Marcy Toepel, and Kate Harper said their measure would require any government agency to get court approval before using eminent domain to take permanently preserved land.
The bill was introduced in response to recent efforts by the Lower Merion School District to use eminent domain to take land from Stoneleigh, a 42-acre public garden in Villanova, and use it to construct a new middle school.
“This bill would set a far higher standard, similar to that already in place for protected agricultural lands, to ensure the protection of our valued open space,” Kampf said in a statement.
“The use of eminent domain really should be the option of last resort in situations like these,” Toepel said. “A change in the law will help ensure that is the case, better protecting our open space for generations to come.”