Legislation that benefits many property owners who allow wind turbines, gas wells and oil wells to be built on their land has been approved by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Ed Rendell.
The new rules benefit those who have been paying lower taxes in exchange for a pledge not to develop their land. The penalty for breaking that covenant has been lessened by lawmakers.
Act 109 clarifies rules relative to application of rollback taxes and fair market value on Clean and Green tracts with wind turbines and other alternative energy sources. Act 88 clarifies application of Clean and Green to oil and gas operations and coal bed methane sites on preferentially assessed land.
Under Act 109, wind power generation facilities can be installed on Clean and Green property without violating the whole tract; instead the roll-back applies to the foundation area of the wind turbine and the area of the surface covered by appurtenant structures, including new roads and bridges, transmission lines, substations and other buildings or structures related to the wind power generation system. The remainder of the property retains its preferential assessment.
Similarly, Act 88 also provides limits on roll-backs on oil and gas operations, applying only to those portions of properties, including appurtenant uses, that can not immediately be returned to a Clean and Green qualified use. The rest of the tract can continue to receive preferential assessment. The act includes timing triggers tied to permits issued by, and filings with, DEP.
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