frequently asked questions frequently asked questions
The following is a list of questions often asked by landowners who are considering a conservation agreement on their property. The answers provide brief explanations of the agreement process. For more in depth information, please contact the EMFLT officer. What is a Conservation Agreement? A conservation agreement is a legal agreement a property owner makes to restrict the type and amount of development that may take place on his particular property. Each agreement’s restrictions are tailored to the particular property and to the interests of the individual owner. Why Should I Grant a Conservation Agreement? People grant conservation agreements to protect their land or historic buildings from inappropriate development while retaining private ownership. By granting in perpetuity the resource values of the owner’s land will be protected indefinitely no matter who the future owners are. What Kind of Property can be Protected by an Agreement? Any property with significant conservation or historic preservation values can be protected including forests, wetlands, farms, sensitive habitat, scenic and historic sites, and other areas. How Restrictive is an Agreement? An agreement restricts development to the degree that is necessary to protect the significant values of that particular property. Sometimes this totally prohibits construction or other types of development. Even the most restrictive agreements usually permit landowners to continue traditional uses of their land and can be tailored to fit the owner’s particular circumstances. How Long Does an Agreement Last? An agreement can be written so that it lasts forever. This is known as a perpetual agreement. Some agreements may be written for a specified number of years and are called term agreement. These agreements are recorded in county records offices so that all future owners and lenders know about the restrictions when they obtain title reports. Must an Agreement Allow Public Access? Landowners are allowed to make their own decision about whether to open their property to the public. Can Granting an Agreement Reduce an Owner’s Property Tax? Property tax assessment usually is based on the property’s market value which reflects the property’s development potential. If a conservation agreement reduces the development potential of the property, it may reduce the level of assessment and the amount of the owner’s property taxes. What are the Responsibilities of the EMFLT Towards the Agreement? The grantee organization is responsible for enforcing the restrictions that the agreement document specifies. A representative of the organization periodically visits the property with the owner to assure that the property is being maintained in the condition prescribed by the agreement. Written records are kept of the monitoring visits.
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