A conservation easement is a tool for landowners to protect the natural resources and /or preserve the scenic beauty of their property while retaining ownership of the land. The easement is either voluntarily donated or sold by the landowner to the land trust. It constitutes a legally binding agreement that limits certain types of uses or prevents development from taking place on the land in perpetuity while the land remains in private hands. The conservation easement remains in effect even when the land is sold or inherited.
Each conservation easement is unique , but an easement may be applied to any land whose conservation is in the public interest - woodland, wetlands, farmland, scenic areas, historic areas, and undisturbed natural areas.
When a landowner conveys a gift of a conservation easement to a Land Trust , the transfer may entitle the landowner to a number of tax benefits. Easement offers are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Land trust board members are available to visit potential easement sites and meet with interested landowners. The final decision to accept or reject the easement rests with the board of directors of the land trust.
What are the typical costs associated with placing a Conservation Easement on a property, even when the easement is donated?
- Good, experienced tax and legal advice;
- Property appraisal costs;
- Survey expenses and other real estate transaction costs (if needed);
- Provision of a stewardship endowment for the holder of the easement
A conservation easement is also sometimes known as a conservation basement, conservation covenant, conservation resrtiction, or conservation servitude.
If you're interested in donating a conservation easement, please contact us via e-mail or by calling us at (203)748-3801 to talk to John O'Neill