On May 16, 2006, Upper Merion Township voters overwhelmingly passed an Open Space Referendum with 83% of the vote, which approved the creation of an elector debt in the sum of Five-Million Dollars ($5,000,000.00). Voters supported the adding of approximately 0.093 mills to their annual Township tax bill which would cost the average homeowner approximately an additional $26.00 per year. This fund will be used to purchase land or interests in land for preservation and conservation of open, undeveloped land in Upper Merion Township.
To fulfill the mandate of the Referendum, the Township Board of Supervisors are authorized to pursue one or more of the following initiatives:
Acquire agricultural conservation easements. The Township may purchase agricultural conservation easements, or participate in State or County land preservation programs that acquire agricultural conservation easements, an agricultural conservation easement allows the landowner to retain his/her land and use it for farming and other agricultural purposes.
Finance the acquisition of open space. The Township may purchase undeveloped land from landowners in the Township in order to protect sensitive natural areas such as woodlands, stream valleys or other unique natural resources or habitats.
Finance the acquisition of recreation or historic land. The Township may purchase undeveloped land from landowners in the Township for the purpose of developing additional recreational facilities for residents or for historic preservation purposes.
Acquire Property Development Rights. Under this option, a landowner may sell the development rights of a property to the Township. The landowner would retain the property, but the property could not be developed.