- General information to help decide whether a conservation easement is appropriate for your needs.
- Discussion of these needs with the ECLT, including the public benefit of an easement and stewardship funding.
- Initial and limited inspection of the land by the ECLT (receiving a copy of a plat or tax map from the landowner, site visit to walk the land and take some photos). Any further details can be provided about the types of activities the landowner intends to conduct on the property (farming, forestry, wildlife management, future improvements, etc.).
- Review of the proposed conservation easement by the ECLT Land Protection Committee to determine if it meets the protection criteria. The committee makes a recommendation to the ECLT Board of Directors, which must approve the acceptance of the easement before moving forward with the project.
- Due diligence (further inspecting the land, title certification, and generating the baseline documentation of the conservation values).
- Writing the conservation easement. If both parties decide to move forward with the project, the ECLT will work with the landowner and their attorney to prepare the conservation easement (there may be several revisions before a final version is agreed upon).
- Signing and recording the easement.
- In granting an easement, the landowner is responsible for the fees for any professional services they obtain. These include surveyors, appraisers, attorneys, and financial consultants.
- The ECLT also request the landowner to assist with the cost of baseline documentation. A Baseline Document is required by the ECLT for the purpose of establishing the condition of the land at the time the conservation easement is granted.The typical cost for a baseline report is between $1,000 and $1,500.
- Finally, the ECLT requests that each landowner who places a conservation easement on his or her land make a tax-deductible gift to our stewardship endowment. The endowment provides funding for our perpetual obligation to inspect the property annually, enforce and/or defend conservation easements and to otherwise perform our responsibilities. We cannot accept an easement without finding a source to fund for its care in the future. We provide you with an estimate as we learn more about the land and move forward with the easement transaction.
The current and successive owners continue to own, manage and pay taxes on the land. You can continue the uses of the land you agreed to retain. You decide whether or not to allow public access and, if so, on what terms. Your property is still private. You can pass it on to the next generation, sell it, trade it – you retain all the rights of ownership, except those you voluntarily gave away in the conservation easement.
Those rights you forfeited via the conservation easement will be protected by the ECLT in perpetuity. Our land trust will monitor your property at least once a year to ensure the agreements made in the easement are being kept. If necessary, the ECLT will defend the terms of the conservation easement in court.
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