Methods of Land Aquisition

  1. Greenspace Advisory Board
Parks and Recreation

Harris Center

425 Perry St

Rebecca Richardson

Rebecca Richardson

Parks & Recreation Director

Conservation Easement

  • A legal agreement between a landowner and the City, it is a flexible land protection tool
  • Permanently limits the uses of the land in order to protect its conservation or recreation values
  • Conveys a permanent right of public access across the property for a greenway
  • The land remains in private ownership
  • Can be tailored to meet the financial and personal needs of the landowner as long as the land's conservation and recreational values continue to be protected
  • May qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation, resulting in federal income tax benefits for the landowner
  • Landowner may also gain reduced property taxes and estate tax benefits

Land Donation

  • An outright donation of land for the purposes of open space
  • May be the best land protection strategy if the landowner:
    • does not wish to pass the land along to heirs
    • owns property he or she no longer uses
    • owns highly appreciated property
    • has substantial real estate holdings and wishes to reduce the potential estate tax burden
    • would like to be relieved of the responsibility of caring for the land
  • May qualify as a tax deductible charitable donation, resulting in federal income tax benefits for the landowner, while avoiding any capital gains taxes that would have resulted from selling the property
  • May provide estate tax benefits by reducing the value of the landowner's estate

Bargain Sale

  • Sale of land by the landowner to the City for less than the appraised fair market value of the land
  • Combines the income-producing benefit of the sale with the tax-reducing benefits of a donation
  • Provides cash to the landowner, avoids some capital gains tax, and provides a potential charitable income tax deduction based on the difference between the land's fair market value and its sale price

Fee Simple Acquisition

  • The outright sale of land by a private landowner to the City for a greenway, based on an agreed upon sale price

Land Trust

  • A non-profit, community-based organization that collaborates with citizens, governmental entities, developers and businesses to preserve the quality of life through land use, acquisition, and preservation
  • A partnership designed to "merge the creative energies of the public and private sectors in the creation of a strong sense of community in every area of life"
  • Since 1968, the number of local and regional land trusts in the United States has increased by 68%, to over 1,200. These trusts have protected more than 5 million acres of open space, and they have more than 1 million members in total.
  • Land trusts employ all the aforementioned methods of land acquisition to protect land for future generations; however, conservation easements are by far the fastest-growing land protection strategy of local land trusts.
  • Some of the responsibilities of a land trust:
    • Manage land owned by others
    • Advise landowners on how to preserve their land
    • Help negotiate conservation transactions
    • Evaluate open space needs
    • Assist in the development of open space plans
  • Therefore, a land trust represents a long-term and on-going financial commitment to the community it serves.