Process

Steps in Conserving Your Property Through a Conservation Easement

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  1. Initial Landowner Meeting – The WPLT will meet with you to talk about your interest and ideas and to answer any questions.
  2. Property Appraisal – If you and the WPLT agree to work on a conservation easement, the WPLT will pay for an appraisal of your property. The appraisal format must meet particular requirements and may include a a yield analysis which assists the appraiser in determining the number of lots the property could sustain if developed. The appraiser will visit the property, take photographs, and prepare the appraisal. This process usually takes 1-2 months.
  3. Board of Supervisors Meeting – The Board of Supervisors will meet to discuss the appraisal and whether township funds may be spent to purchase development rights and place a conservation easement on your property.
  4. Follow Up Landowner Meeting – The WPLT¬† will meet with you to discuss the board’s decision, review options, and discuss next steps.
  5. Choosing a Non-Profit Partner – If the township provides funding for an easement acquisition, it will be co-holder of the conservation easement with a non-profit conservation organization that will be responsible for managing the easement. You choose the organization that will manage and monitor the easement, such as West Pikeland Land Trust, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, North American Land Trust, Brandywine Conservancy, or Natural Lands Trust, just to name a few.
  6. Completing the Easement – The selected managing organization will prepare a proposal including cost estimates and will meet with you together with the WPLT to discuss. Examples of some typical costs include title report and insurance, property appraisal, legal expenses, survey, environmental assessment, and stewardship endowment. The proposal will become the easement agreement once all parties have agreed to its terms.
  7. Grant Application – The designated organization will also prepare and submit a grant application to the state and county for funds to help cover the cost of the conservation easement. It may take several months to learn whether funding has been approved.
  8. Tax Considerations – In lieu of full payment for development rights, donating a conservation easement or donating a portion of the easement’s value may qualify you for a tax deduction. You should consult a professional tax advisor for more information.