Posted by Chris in Untagged
by Rick Leader, Executive Director of Scenic Rivers Land Trust
Land preservation offers families an opportunity to protect the lands they cherish. Few people want to see their properties further developed, but financial challenges may force their hand. Some have a general inclination toward land preservation, but they want a strong financial incentive to give up their development rights. The preservation of forests and other open spaces is critical to the health of our rivers and our quality of life in Anne Arundel County.
Scenic Rivers Land Trust (SRLT) has been preserving land in Anne Arundel County since 1988. SRLT works closely with willing landowners who want to voluntarily restrict further development of their properties through land preservation agreements known as easements.
An easement is a binding agreement that forever limits the development of a property according to very specific guidelines. It can remove all development rights, or allow room for limited expansion of an existing house or possibly the addition of a new structure. An easement is permanent; it forever conveys with the property deed.
Along with the personal goal of protecting in perpetuity a property they value, landowners can realize several financial incentives for placing an easement on their property. Easements can significantly reduce estate taxes, making it easier to keep land in the family. Anne Arundel County waives a portion of annual property taxes on eased properties. Easements that meet specific IRS requirements may result in large income tax deductions. In rare cases, funding becomes available to purchase easements.
SRLT holds and manages easements on 52 properties in Anne Arundel County, protecting over 2,500 acres. The organization has just released a draft expansion and fundraising plan that would double the number of acres protected by 2015. To learn more, contact SRLT Executive Director Rick Leader at Rick@SRLT.org or 410-310-6541 and visit the SRLT web site at www.srlt.org.