Protecting Land » Conservation Options
Saving your land for future generations to enjoy can be one of the most satisfying but also difficult decisions you will make as a landowner, or indeed as a family. Whether you are granting a conservation easement or transferring ownership to a land trust or state agency, a conservation transaction is distinctly different from other real estate or business deals with which you may be more familiar. Landowners can learn more about HVA's land protection process here.
The US Government and the State of Connecticut both recognize that saving land for conservation purposes provides a significant public benefit. Individual land trusts may concentrate on a particular geographic area or particular conservation purposes, such as preserving agricultural lands or protecting water quality. Each conservation transaction is different and reflects the needs and interests of landowners, conservation organizations, and funding sources, as well as the attributes of the property and its conservation significance. The Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative helps landowners who voluntarily wish to conserve their land. Our staff can help suggest land trusts or qualified conservation organizations that could be the right partner for your conservation transaction.
Land trusts and other public agencies that are qualified to hold a conservation interest in land have two options for doing so in perpetuity. They can either own land outright for conservation purposes (known as fee simple interest) or they can hold a conservation easement (known as conservation restrictions in Massachusetts and Connecticut). Both of these types of conservation interest are considered to provide permanent protection for the property.
A conservation easement or conservation restriction is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and a qualified conservation entity in which certain development and land use rights which would otherwise be permitted on the property are permanently prohibited or limited. The land remains under private ownership and the conservation easement is recorded with the deed and carries forward under subsequent owners. The easement is granted to a land trust or another conservation entity, which assumes responsibility for ensuring that its terms and conditions are honored by the grantor and subsequent owners.
Depending on individual circumstances, there may be tangible benefits such as financial payments or tax deductions, and intangible benefits such as the peace of mind that comes from resolving questions about inheritance and the fate of family land. We are not qualified to advise landowners on their personal finances. It is important for anyone entering into a conservation transaction to seek independent legal and financial advice.
Contact us to learn more about conservation transactions.