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Legislation, if passed, would make it more difficult for land – like McCormick Farm – to be seized through eminent domain in Pa.

SILVER SPRING TWP., CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. --  A piece of preserved farmland in Cumberland County is n the spotlight once again; Legislation recently passed through the Pennsylvania House - a bill, if signed into law, that would make it more difficult for the land to be seized through eminent domain.

The McCormick Farm in Silver Spring Township is up for sale, but should it be developed?

On one side, some people say no because the land is currently preserved under a Natural Lands Conservation Easement.

“We were entrusted with the conservation easement on that property by the McCormick family in the 1980's, and part of our responsibility is to enforce those restrictions and uphold the conservation easement, and that's a responsibility we take very seriously," said Oliver Bass, a Vice President of Communications with Natural Lands.

The Cumberland Valley School District superintendent announced plans to seize the property through eminent domain last month, unveiling proposed drawings of a new middle school.

Some neighbors are bothered by the decision, calling it abrupt.

“It sends the wrong message to the students and the community and our kids about accountability, transparency; we need to set a higher standard in how we build schools," said Kate McGraw, a Monroe Township resident.

McGraw sits on the county’s agricultural conservation board and graduated from Cumberland Valley High School.

McGraw says the farm's soil is precious, and it's not right for anyone to develop the land.

"Especially, when there are other pieces of land available closer to Cumberland Valley School District so it does seem ridiculous to me," she added.

House Bill 2468, if signed into law, would provide further protections for properties like the McCormick Farm.

It would force school districts and other governmental agencies eyeing protected land to win court approval before taking the property through eminent domain.

Some advocates feel optimistic since the bill recently passed through the State House.

“We are hopeful that it will get passed through the Senate without amendment, and it will become a tool in protecting places like McCormick," added Bass.

FOX43 reached out to the Cumberland Valley School District for comment Thursday afternoon, but so far, no return call or email.