With acres being lost each year to development, it is the Conservancy’s purpose to maintain carefully selected portions of the county’s open areas in their natural state. LCC has strategically protected over 5,200 acres. We have not done this alone and have valued the input from the local community, public and private funders, and our volunteers. Working with landowners LCC presents options and strives to develop plans to approach conservation that reflect the goals of the landowner and the mission of the Conservancy. We do this through Fee Simple Acquisitions and Conservation Easements.
Fee Simple Acquisitions
Fee simple acquisitions allow the conservancy to acquire strategically important natural lands for preservation. In a Fee Simple Acquisition LCC acquires all the property rights of the owner. Typically lands are acquired through either a partial or full donation. With a full donation our professional staff will work with you to fulfill your plans for the property, which may include restrictions. Where a partial donation or bargain sale is contemplated LCC will acquire grant funds for part of the value. Our grant funders require certain restrictions on the deed, typically that the lands be open to the public free of charge. Visit our Due Diligence page for more information.
Conservation Easements involve transfer of less than a full interest in land (Fee Simple) Conservation Easements are legal agreements that establish restrictions on land in perpetuity. Typical restrictions include use and development rights that would be in conflict with preservation of the natural, scenic, recreational, educational, and historic resources. The landowner continues to own the land privately and pay taxes. We work with landowners to identify those resources that are important to the landowner and to establish a plan to protect what they value. Once finalized the Conservation Easement follows the deed and is tied to the land whether it is transferred within or outside your family. Your gift will help keep our watersheds, forests, and habitat healthy.
LCC is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the easement in perpetuity. Ensuring that your plans for your property are followed requires a financial commitment and we require a stewardship endowment with every donation of a Conservation Easement. This donation ensures that your plans for your property as outlined in the Conservation Easement are followed and your wishes are enforced. Visit our Conservation Easement page for more information.
Benefits of Protecting Your Land
With partial or full donations the landowner may be able to realize a tax benefit. LCC advises potential donors and their families to work with their attorney, accountant, or financial adviser (visit our Tax Implications page). The value of the Donated Conservation Easement is determined by a specialized appraiser, selected and paid for by the landowner. The appraisal of the property is done in two ways. First the land valued at the highest use (or development value), and then at a value with the Conservation Easement restrictions in place. The difference between the two values equals the Conservation Easement Value. LCC will review the appraisal before confirming the value of the charitable contribution.