ACT 319, "Clean and Green" Program​​​​​​​
The Pennsylvania Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act of 1974 was first utilized in Monroe County in 1976. The Pennsylvania state legislature enacted the program as a tool to encourage protection of the Commonwealth’s valuable farmland, forestland and open spaces.
 
The Act allowed counties to assess and tax properties at the actual use of the land rather than the fair market value of the land. Ordinarily property owners who qualify for Act 319 will see tax savings once they are entered into the program. In exchange for this tax break, the property owner signs a restrictive covenant to keep his/her property as open space and to dramatically limit any development of the land.
 

When are applications due for Act 319?

Applications must be received by June 1st to be considered for any assessment reduction for the following taxing year. Also to be included with the application is an affidavit form, a tracing or plan of the property showing shape, acreage and/or dimensions and a $50.00 application fee.

Who must sign the ACT 319 application?

All property owners must sign the application form and the letter of acceptance in order to qualify.

Is there more than one category for ACT 319?

There are three categories to be considered when entering ACT 319. They are Agricultural Use meaning the property is currently being farmed and producing farm products, Agricultural Reserve which categorizes land which is not currently being farmed but is not covered with trees. Forest Reserve land which is tree covered. You may choose one category or a combination of 2 or even 3 categories. You must choose the category which is the actual use of your property.

What category is open for public use? 

Agriculture Reserve is open to the public for passive recreational uses and free of charge on a non-discriminatory basis. The land owner may place reasonable restrictions on the use.

What are the minimum size requirements?

The minimum size for applying is 10 acres. Agricultural Use applications may be less than 10 acres of land if the property owner can prove at least $ 2,000.00 in annual income from the sale of farm products.

What restrictions are related to splitting the ACT 319 parcel?

There are restrictions in splitting off or selling any of the land once you are entered into the program. You are allowed to split off 10% or 10 acres of the total land whichever is the least. I.e. (1) You own 12.3 acres of land so the maximum that you can ever split off your tract is 1.23 acres. The split-off parcel must be used for residential use or open space use only. (2) You own 98.5 acres and therefore can split off 9.85 acres BUT not more than 2.00 acres per year. Again, the parcel split off must be used for residential or open space purposes only. There will be a roll back tax lien against the smaller split off parcel.

What happens if the ACT 319 parcel is greater than 10 acres?

If your tract is large enough you may be able to separate a tract of land of 10+ acres or more as long as the new 10 acre tract remains in ACT 319. The remaining tract must also be 10 acres of more.

Who determines the ACT 319 land values?

The Department of Agriculture provide the Assessment Office with the land rates  every year. The county has the option to implement these values or use lower values that the county has developed on its own. 

What happens if there is a violation?

Our office keeps records of your regular assessment and your 319 assessment. If a landowner breaches the covenant and creates a violation of the Act, there will be a roll-back tax lien filed against the property. The roll-back is the difference between what was paid under Clean and Green versus what would have been paid if the property had not been enrolled, plus 6% simple interest per year. Tax Claim Bureau costs are also added to this lien. This tax lien will be filed for the past six (6) years and the current taxing year.

Is there a requirement to remain in ACT 319?

Once you enter into ACT 319, current regulations state that you will remain in ACT 319  until a violation of the Act occurs. If a violation does occur, the property owners have the right to submit a letter stating that they no longer wish to remain in ACT 319 and the property will be removed from the Act. If the office does not receive a letter, the remaining land (if it still qualifies) will be reentered in the Clean and Green program.

Can I voluntary exit from ACT 319?

ACT 109 of 2010 allows the voluntary withdrawal of properties from ACT 319 if the property owner gives written notification by June 1st and pays the rollback.

Where can I gather more information?

ACT 319 has many rules and regulations to be followed. If you have questions about the ACT, you may call our office at (570) 517-3133. You may also go to The Department of Agriculture for a complete copy of the rules and regulations.

How do I convey an ACT 319 parcel to a new owner?

The attached form must be completed by the current owner to the County Assessor 30 days prior to any proposed transfer, split-off or separation of land enrolled under the ACT.