1 13 Easements & Land Use


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1 13 Easements & Land Use

  1. 1. Natural Resources Government Agencies
  2. 2. Term: Easement <ul><li>Define: Easement </li></ul><ul><li>Go to www.landtrustva.org </li></ul><ul><li>Go to the “About Conservation Easements” tab. </li></ul><ul><li>What does a conservation easement do? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Conservation Easements <ul><li>Easement: A right held by someone to use land belonging to someone else for a specific purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Conservation Easements prevent a parcel of land from being developed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>usually indefinitely </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>some are written for a specific period of time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Landowner maintains the title </li></ul><ul><li>If sold in the future, easement goes with the land </li></ul>
  4. 4. Sources of Easements <ul><li>Private land trusts: usually land is donated </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Land Trust of Virginia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virginia Outdoors Foundation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Nature Conservancy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-common Open Space: 85% </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Required of subdivisions of 30 acres or greater in RA & RC zoned areas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PDR- County buys the right to develop </li></ul>
  5. 5. PDR <ul><li>Purchase of Development Rights: Under a PDR program, a landowner voluntarily sells his/her rights to develop a parcel of land to a public agency or qualified conservation organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Owners sell the right to develop to raise cash or make improvements to property </li></ul><ul><li>Budget will be cut 50% next year </li></ul>
  6. 6. Who owns the land? <ul><li>The original owner maintains title to the land </li></ul><ul><li>He sells (or donates) his right to develop it (break it into smaller parcels). </li></ul><ul><li>Putting any easement on land decreases its market value. </li></ul><ul><li>If you donate your land you write that loss off of your taxes </li></ul>
  7. 7. Process <ul><li>Apply for PDR or Easement donation </li></ul><ul><li>Land is appraised </li></ul><ul><li>Land is accepted or declined based on likelihood of development </li></ul><ul><li>Requires legal expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Requires closing costs </li></ul><ul><li>Expenses are tax deductible </li></ul>
  8. 8. Advantages & Disadvantages <ul><li>Land permanently preserved </li></ul><ul><li>May have financial benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Your property decreases in value </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t undo it if you change your mind </li></ul><ul><li>More complicated if you have a mortgage </li></ul><ul><li>Easement holder maintains right to monitor property </li></ul>
  9. 9. Agriculture Land Use Valuation <ul><li>Special property tax rates for land used for agriculture or forestry </li></ul><ul><li>Tax rate is based on “use” rather than market value </li></ul><ul><li>Taxes deferred annually (apply in Jan & Feb) </li></ul><ul><li>If you sell or stop producing you owe “rollback” taxes – difference between the use tax and the assessment tax rate </li></ul>
  10. 10. Types <ul><li>Forestry – minimum 20 acres forested </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Must have 40% stockage: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>400 seedlings or 21 trees 15” dbh per acre </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Or inaccessible or adverse site </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Agriculture/Horticulture – min of 5 acres </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Must have been in production for 5 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must have sales averaging over $1,000/yr for the last 3 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimum of animal units per acre per month </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Cost share programs <ul><li>Funded by the 2008 Farm Bill </li></ul><ul><li>Managed by the local Soil & Water Conservation Districts, the Department of Forestry, and the USDA </li></ul>
  12. 12. CREP – Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program <ul><li>Shares cost of planting riparian buffers along streams </li></ul><ul><li>Fencing livestock out of riparian areas </li></ul><ul><li>Building alternative livestock water access </li></ul><ul><li>Pays 75% - 100% of costs </li></ul><ul><li>Continuous sign-up </li></ul>
  13. 13. CRP – Conservation Reserve Program <ul><li>Plant long term cover crops on highly erodible land </li></ul><ul><li>Pays cost share of the cover crop or forest </li></ul><ul><li>Pays rent on the land </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed sign-up periods </li></ul><ul><li>Make a contract for 10 – 15 years </li></ul><ul><li>Cropland must have been in production for 2 of the 5 most recent years </li></ul>
  14. 14. Conservation Security Program (CSP) & Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP ) <ul><li>Financially rewards stewardship and sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Only for lands in priority watersheds </li></ul><ul><li>Land must be in use for livestock or crop production </li></ul><ul><li>Contract payments are made for conservation treatments or practices </li></ul>