Consider Placing a Conservation Easement on Town-Owned Land

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If you have a town or city-owned property with conservation value and the community would like to ensure the property remains a natural area forever, the town may choose to place a conservation easement on the property to protect it from development in the future.  It is important to keep in mind that the landowner (the town/city) cannot hold an easement on property they own. Towns/cities can partner with a land trust to place an easement on town land. Consider the land trust goals and mission when determining who would be the most appropriate easement holder and project partner. Every property is different and each town/city has needs and goals to consider during the easement drafting process. Conservation easements are legally binding agreements between the owner of the property and the easement holder or land trust. The process to place land under a conservation easement may take several months or years to coordinate and several steps are involved to develop and negotiate the final easement document.

Things to consider when considering a conservation easement on town land

  • The property’s conservation value should be evaluated and documented before the conservation easement is signed by both parties.
  • Land management and stewardship goals should be discussed and outlined so that each party has a good understanding of how the land will be protected in the future.
  • Towns should seek legal advice to ensure that they have a complete understanding of the potential impact on the land.

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