Pennsylvania Statutes Title 32 P.S. Forests, Waters and State Parks § 5055. Judicial and related actions

(a) Persons who have standing.--A legal or equitable action affecting a conservation or preservation easement may only be brought by any of the following:

(1) An owner of the real property burdened by the easement.

(2) A person that holds an estate in the real property burdened by the easement.

(3) A person that has any interest or right in the real property burdened by the easement.

(4) A holder of the easement.

(5) A person having a third-party right of enforcement.

(6) A person otherwise authorized by Federal or State law.

(7) The owner of a coal interest in property contiguous to the property burdened by the easement or of coal interests which have been severed from the ownership of the property burdened by the easement.

(b) Limitation on actions.--No action may be brought for activities occurring outside the boundaries of a conservation or preservation easement except in circumstances where such activities have or pose a substantial threat of direct, physically identifiable harm within the boundaries of the easement.

(c) Authority of courts.--

(1) This act shall not affect the power of a court to modify or terminate a conservation or preservation easement in accordance with the principles of law and equity consistent with the public policy of this act as stated under section 2   1 when the easement is broadly construed to effect that policy.

(2) Any general rule of construction to the contrary notwithstanding, conservation or preservation easements shall be liberally construed in favor of the grants contained therein to effect the purposes of those easements and the policy and purpose of this act.

(d) Eminent domain right preserved.--

(1) Nothing in this act shall be construed either:

(i) to limit the lawful exercise of the right of eminent domain or the power of condemnation by any person or entity having such power over real property subject to a conservation or preservation easement by any person or entity having legal authority to do so or in lieu thereof;  or

(ii) to limit the right of such person or entity to purchase rights for its public purposes over real property subject to a conservation or preservation easement without resort to condemnation.

(2) In the event of exercise of eminent domain, nothing in this act shall be construed so as to restrict any right to compensation a holder of a conservation or preservation easement may have under applicable law.

(e) Just compensation.--A court order issued under subsection (d) shall provide for the holder of the easement to be compensated in accordance with the applicable provisions of the conservation or preservation easement which specify a particular allocation of damages and, in the absence of such a provision, for the fair market value of the easement.  Nothing in this act shall be construed to prevent a purchase agreement in lieu of condemnation as a means of settling such claims by providing either the specifically allocated damages or the fair market value to the holder of the easement.  The net proceeds of the condemnation received by the holder shall be applied in furtherance of the public benefit in accordance with its charter or articles of incorporation.  The court in adjudicating damages to a conservation or preservation easement shall be guided by principles generally applicable to condemnation proceedings.

1 32 P.S. § 5052.

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