NARROWSBURG, NY — A conservation easement is a useful tool in land preservation, in that it allows landowners continued use of their property while protecting it for future generations. At the …
NARROWSBURG, NY — A conservation easement is a useful tool in land preservation, in that it allows landowners continued use of their property while protecting it for future generations. At the November 2 Upper Delaware Council meeting, Kaylan Hubbard, land protection coordinator at the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, explained how they work.
“The way that you get at the easement value is the appraiser essentially does two appraisals,” she said. “They appraise the property for its fair market value without an easement, and then they appraise it again as if it were subject to an easement, and the difference in those two values is the easement value.”
Helen Beichel’s property in Cochecton, where a recent timber theft occurred (see related story, next page), is one of the easements managed by the conservancy, which has 19,000 acres in easements in New York and Pennsylvania.
The Delaware Highland Conservancy was founded in 1994 and is accredited by the National Land Trust Alliance. It defines a conservation easement as “a voluntary but legally binding agreement between a landowner and the Conservancy to permanently protect a portion (or all) of a land’s natural value.”
Although conservation easements remain privately owned, the owner is restricted with regard to future development, dumping and subdivision. Easements are working documents that aim to ensure the goals of both landowner and conservancy are met. Toward this end, the conservancy monitors the land on an annual basis.
Conservation easements sometimes also come with tax benefits.
The conservancy is busy with multiple active easement projects in both New York and Pennsylvania.
Hubbard outlined some of the qualities the conservancy looks for to determine a good easement:
Hubbard said potential easement lands are not exclusively limited to these conditions.
For more information about land preservation and easements visit delawarehighlands.org.
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