A conservation easement can be a useful tool to accomplish a variety of landowner objectives. One of the primary reasons owners place an easement on their property is to receive a direct cash payment, often in combination with state tax credits and a federal tax deduction. The benefit to the owner is they retain ownership and use of their entire parcel and “sell” some or all of their ability to develop the land. The public benefits because the limited development translates into scenic vistas and reduced interruption to open landscapes.
Properties encumbered by conservation easements sometimes experience a longer sales effort and attract a smaller pool of buyers. Recent sales of properties encumbered by conservation easements suggest this trend to be slowing as conserved properties are becoming more commonplace. The encumbrance on the property results in a diminution of value which can also benefit the landowner by lowering the value of the estate.
There are several organizations that are qualified to hold conservation easements and each trust is as unique and distinct as each conservation easement. Time and money spent on the front end discussing how to best fit a conservation easement to your land, your income and your future plans will be well spent.