Defending Conservation

Adverse Possession in Pennsylvania

2020
A long-time trespasser may gain ownership of land by using it with no documented challenge for 21 years. Landowners can avoid this threat with some good, basic practices.
Last Modified
Jun 08, 2021
Viewed
2662 times

Conservation Easements in Court: A Review of Easement Violation and Enforcement Litigation in Pennsylvania

2024
A review of Pennsylvania judicial decisions reveals that conservation easement holders and the conservation values they uphold prevail when a dispute leads to litigation. Courts respect the text of easement documents and their conservation purposes. This guide reviews eleven cases where the interpretation or enforcement of a conservation easement was at the center of litigation. WeConservePA guide. 12 pages.
Last Modified
Jan 03, 2024
Viewed
2137 times

Eminent Domain and Conserved Land in Pennsyslvania

2021
This guide provides a basic review of the eminent domain law of Pennsylvania and the United States as it applies to conserved land and conservation easements. An 8-page guide.
Last Modified
Jul 01, 2021
Viewed
1698 times

Ensuring the Permanence of Parks and Other Public Open Space: Safeguards for Lands Entrusted to Local Government

2024
What legal principles provide the means to reasonably protect parks and other public open spaces? What can local governments do to best ensure that these principles can be successfully applied to any particular property? This guide addresses these questions in the interest of minimizing misunderstandings and conflict regarding public lands, helping local governments take informed action for the public’s benefit, and educating all interested parties regarding the nature of protections provided to public lands under the law. WeConservePA guide. 15 pages. (DRAFT FOR PEER REVIEW)
Last Modified
Apr 29, 2024
Viewed
135 times

Model Declaration of Public Trust for Conservation Easements (with Commentary)

2024
The Model Declaration of Public Trust for Conservation Easements is a tool for local governments to use to help ensure that the conservation easements they acquire are long-lasting and durable no matter changes in politics. With a Declaration, the local government declares a public trust containing a conservation easement held by the government and affirms the government's role and duty as trustee in service of the public purposes described in the conservation easement's conservation objectives. THE DRAFT MODEL AVAILABLE HERE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS.
Last Modified
Apr 26, 2024
Viewed
345 times

Model Declaration of Public Trust with Commentary

2018
This set of model documents and accompanying commentary helps local governments to formally dedicate lands to public purposes, reserve portions for other purposes, and clarify what are and aren’t appropriate uses of the land. The materials include an option to grant a conservation easement to a qualified holder as added protection for the land. WECONSERVEPA IS FINALIZING A NEW EDITION OF THIS GUIDANCE. THE LATEST DRAFT IS PUBLISHED HERE BECAUSE, ALTHOUGH A DRAFT, IT DOES IMPROVE ON THE 2018 EDITION. (Note that WeConservePA also publishes a model declaration to protect government-held conservation easements. See https://library.weconservepa.org/library_items/2249)
Last Modified
May 02, 2024
Viewed
8485 times

Model Permission for Encroachment

2019
The Model Permission for Encroachment is a license agreement that allows an encroachment to continue until the owner withdraws permission. The model document also features owner protections from claims pertaining to injury or property damage, a requirement that the encroacher comply with the law, and the termination of any rights the encroacher may have to claim adverse possession.
Last Modified
Aug 10, 2022
Viewed
5005 times

Parks in Perpetuity: The Protections Provided to Parks and Other Public Open Spaces Under Pennsylvania Law

2021
Authors: Andrew M. Loza
Parks and other public open spaces deliver tremendous benefits to the public and provide a crucial foundation for building, maintaining, and renewing communities. People rely on the permanence of these civic assets in making decisions on where to live and work. Thus, it is no wonder that Pennsylvania law affords great protections to parks from sale or conversion to non-public uses by the municipal governments responsible for their care. This guide describes these protections in brief. [3-page WeConservePA guide]
Last Modified
Jun 04, 2021
Viewed
4002 times

Responding to an Encroachment: Oust or Give Permission with Conditions

2022
What should you do if a neighboring landowner encroaches on your organization’s property (e.g., builds a shed or extends their lawn) or otherwise uses the land without permission? Sometimes immediately booting them is the best answer; sometimes making an accommodation that provides them with at least temporary permission makes more sense. Doing nothing invites trouble. WeConservePA guide. 3 pages.
Last Modified
Aug 10, 2022
Viewed
2845 times

Restricting Development to What Is Approved in a Subdivision and Land Development Plan

2021
When a local government is approving a subdivision and land development plan, a landowner or developer sometimes agrees to place restrictions on the land to ensure that no further subdivision or development of common open space or large lots can occur beyond that contemplated in the plan being approved. Pathways to establishing these restrictions in Pennsylvania so that they are enforceable in the event of a breach are described in this guide. WeConservePA guide. 6 pages.
Last Modified
Sep 06, 2021
Viewed
1690 times

Reversionary Interest

2012
A landowner concerned about the future use of their land can donate or sell their land on a conditional rather than absolute basis. The deed used to convey the land can include terms that will trigger a change in ownership back to them—or some other person or entity assigned by them—if use of the land falls out of compliance with the conditions set in the conveyance.
Last Modified
Aug 27, 2022
Viewed
6946 times