A landowner has land under conservation easement and is ready to conserve more of their nearby property. How best to carry this out?
This article outlines the current guidance on the circumstances under which conservation easements, meant to protect land “in perpetuity” can be amended or terminated, and offers some drafting suggestions. It focuses on tax-deductible conservation easements. Although the law in this area is still developing, much can be done to ensure that conservation easements are drafted to comply with all relevant laws, carry out the landowners’ intent, and provide easement holders with the flexibility needed to administer easements consistent with their overall charitable conservation purposes in light of changing conditions.
This publication covers the complexity and various perspectives in easement amendment decisions and presents case studies. Originally published in 2007, the second edition was produced in 2017.
This guide informs easement holders of legal matters to consider under Pennsylvania law and the Internal Revenue Code when making decisions regarding the amendment of grants of conservation easement.
This paper explores the legal, ethical, and public relations issues surrounding amendments and the limitations of applying the charitable trust doctrine. It proposes a legislative solution to clarify the rules for amending easements in response to changed circumstances.
If changes to a conservation easement are necessary or desirable, the easement holder must decide whether to amend and restate the grant of easement in full or simply amend it. This guide assists with that decision and points to resources to aid in implementation of the decision. WeConservePA guide. 3 pages.
This article explores conservation easement drafting strategies responsive to global warming and climate change. It proposes the development of an "Ark" easement, which unlike traditional, perpetual easements, would be terminable by the holder without resort to a judicial proceeding if global warming caused changes render the conservation purposes of the easement impossible or impractical. For this strategy to succeed, however, the easement holder must be able to recover the full, appreciated value of the development rights and redeploy them to further the social good of land and resource conservation.
An original draft of this paper was prepared for the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Seminar, Stanford Law School, April 10, 2006. 27 pages.
The Model Grant of Conservation Easement and Declaration of Covenants may be modified to amend and restate a grant of conservation easement by following the instructions below. WeConservePA guide. 4 pages.
This comprehensive guidebook provides a structured process for organizations that want to upgrade older easements. It includes a process for analyzing and managing problem easements and offers options for resolving problem easements. It also includes lessons learned from six case studies and national research conducted by Solid Ground Consulting.
Conservation easements are intended to last—to ensure protection of important resources, no matter people’s whims—through the decades and centuries. However, the world changes and so do understandings of how best to meet conservation objectives. A land trust must be prepared to address these changes in order to ensure that its conservation work is effective while assuring its supporters and the public that it is a reliable agent of conservation. This resource serves as both a guide to responsible decision-making and a model policy for easement amendment. WeConservePA guide. 22 pages.
The first edition of the model and commentary was published in 2011; the model was updated in 2013. The model is tailored to Montana law and the commentary identifies areas where some of the principles the Land Trust Alliance outlines in its publication Amending Conservation Easements are in potential conflict with Montana law.