PPL Corp. is restructuring a deal to turn over thousands of acres of land along the Susquehanna River to a Lancaster County nonprofit.

The electric company announced plans in December 2007 to sell for $5 million about 3,500 acres on the Lancaster and York sides of the river to the Lancaster County Conservancy, a group dedicated to protecting natural lands and open space in Lancaster County.

However, the deal was tentatively restructured after an August meeting with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff, people involved said Monday.

PPL Corp is now planning to sell about 2,300 acres to the conservancy, with the rest preserved through deed restrictions, said Ralph Goodno, the conservancy's president and chief executive officer.

The changes were made in response to advice from regulatory commission officials, he said. The commission has oversight of about 2,500 acres of the land PPL was planning to sell.

Advice: Regulatory commission officials told project partners the deal was most likely to get approval if the sale did not include about 1,200 acres of land that abut the river or contain active recreational facilities, Goodno said.

Instead of selling that land, PPL will retain ownership but transfer management responsibilities to other entities via leases or conservation easement-like agreements, said company spokesman George Lewis.

York County is considering using 61 acres as an addition to Apollo County Park.


"We are still committed to going ahead with the project," Lewis said. "We want to make sure it happens."

Although the deal has changed, Goodno said its results will be similar.

Preservation of the property will protect wildlife habitats and ecosystems in the environmentally sensitive area, he said. The conservancy will also look at ways to improve and create recreational opportunities.

-- Reach Carl Lindquist at 505-5432 or clindquis t@yorkdispatch.com.