Post Content

Written by Joan Youngman, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

 

Conservation restrictions are the most significant and fastest-growing means of protecting environmentally sensitive land, and Massachusettshas been a leader in their development. It is 44th among states in terms of land area, but 10th in terms of acres preserved for conservation. It has more land trusts than any other state except California, and it was the first state in the nation to amend its statutes to recognize this new property right.[1]Its pioneering legislation described this as a, “conservation restriction.” Later states and a model federal Uniform Act have called this same instrument a, “conservation easement.”

 

A conservation easement limits future development by transferring some rights in property, such as the right to construct new buildings, from the landowner to a nonprofit organization or a governmental entity for conservation purposes. Conservation easements are enormously popular because they are the only means of permanently restricting development while allowing property to remain in private ownership. This has a number of important advantages over a completely public model of preservation, where a government agency or conservation organization might purchase property outright in order to maintain it as open space. Many owners who care deeply for their land do not want to sell it and move away but may be pleased to donate or sell the development rights to insure that their property is protected in the future. These owners may well be better able to maintain the property than hard-pressed public agencies or nonprofit organizations. Owners who cannot afford to donate the development rights may offer them for sale, which would be less costly to the conservation organization acquiring the rights than a purchase of the entire property. Continued private ownership generally also means that some portion of the property value will remain on the local tax rolls.

 

For full story please click here.



[1]The conservation restriction was introduced to Massachusetts by Chapter 666, Acts of 1969, which created new sections 31-33 of M.G.L. c. 184.

Written By:

Recent Posts

It’s All About Plain Talk posted on Aug 13

Commissioner Amy Pitter wants to be sure that the information going out of DOR to taxpayers is clear and concise. If you received a bill, form or notice from the Department of Revenue and are having trouble understanding what actions you need to take, tell   …Continue Reading It’s All About Plain Talk

Take a survey — Your feedback impacts how DOR does business posted on Aug 4

The Department of Revenue wants to hear from taxpayers and anyone who is advocating for taxpayers! DOR has just unveiled its new “How Are We Doing?” survey page, and we’d like you to report in on your customer service experience. This page was created to   …Continue Reading Take a survey — Your feedback impacts how DOR does business

DOR + Social Media — #CheckUsOut posted on Jul 28

DOR + Social Media — #CheckUsOut

  State tax administration might not deliver such seismic news events as LeBron’s eagerly-awaited announcement of his return to his old Cleveland team, but knowing what’s going on at any given moment in the tax world could save you some time and effort, and maybe   …Continue Reading DOR + Social Media — #CheckUsOut