Conservation

One of CHPT's main objectives is to introduce Charlton land owners to the benefits of land protection. Land preservation and protection offers the following benefits:
  • It protects open space and water resources for passive recreation, an objective which was identified in the "Final Charlton Open Space and Recreation Plan - November 1996".
  • Open space actually contributes to the revenue of the town because residential development of the same property usually results in higher service costs.
  • It frequently results in tax benefits for the land donor while offering the community passive recreation sites that may enhance the property values of the neighborhoods in which they are located.
There are many options available to land owners who wish to preserve, conserve, and/or protect all or part of their property. The three most common options for land protection are highlighted below.

If you are interested in discussing any of these options with CHPT, please contact us at (508) 248-7110 or send us an email.
Developers with open space as part of Flexible Subdivisions are welcome to call Sandy at (508) 248-7110.

Bargain Sale

A bargain sale is a sale of land at below fair market value. The tax deduction is the difference between the fair market value and the actual price paid. Bargain sales may be a good choice for landowners who wish to preserve their land but need income from the sale. Click here for more information from The Land Trust Alliance on bargain sales.

Conservation Restriction/Easement

A conservation restriction (CR), or easement, is a legal agreement between a landowner and nonprofit organization in which the owner agrees to restrict the use of the land. In granting a CR, the land owner retains some rights and gives up others. Conservation restrictions are flexible conservation choices. Common restrictions include prohibitions on development activity or disruption of vegetation. With a CR, the land owner continues to own the land. If and when the land owner sells the property, the new owners must comply with provisions of the conservation restriction. CRs can be donated or sold. Click here for more information from The Land Trust Alliance on conservation easements.

Land Donation

There are several ways to donate land to a land trust. Some include: donating land outright, donating a remainder interest which allows the landowner to remain on the property via a life estate, donating land in a will, donating land to create a charitable gift annuity, donating to create a charitable remainder unitrust. Click here for more information from The Land Trust Alliance on land donations.

Note on Bargain Sales and Conservation Restrictions: The full Congress recently approved expanded federal income tax deductions for conservation easement donations and bargain sales. Acts 2008 - Chapter 509. An Act Relative to Authorizing Tax Credits for Qualified Donations of Certain Land to a Public or Private Conservation Agency. (see House, No. 5080) Approved by the Governor, January 14, 2009.

Definitions

501(c)3 - Exemption status given to a charitable organization under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS code. Organizations receiving 501(c)3 status are tax exempt and donations to such organizations are tax deductible. CHPT is a 501(c)3 land trust.

Bargain Sale - Sale of land at below fair market value. The difference between the fair market value and price paid is the tax deduction.

Conservation Restriction - Also known as a Conservation Easement, this is a legal agreement between a landowner and non-profit organization in which the owner agrees to restrict the use of the land. Subsequent owners must comply with provisions of this easement.

Cultural Resources - Historic or prehistoric sites, typically man-made or influenced.

Endangered Species - There are three types of endangered species: special concern, threatened, and endangered. For more information on endangered species, please visit Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program web site.

Massachusetts General Law Chapters 61 - MGL Chapter 61 is titled "Classification and Taxation of Forest Lands and Forest Products".

Massachusetts General Law Chapters 61A - MGL Chapter 61A is titled "Assessment and Taxation of Agricultural and Horticultural Land."

Massachusetts General Law Chapters 61B - MGL Chapter 61B is titled "Classification and Taxation of Recreational Land."

Natural Resources - Wetlands, habitat, plants, vernal pools, scenic areas; anything not man-made.

Stewardship - Maintenance and management of protected land.

Vernal Pool - Physical and biological descriptions of vernal pools can be found by visiting The Vernal Pool Association.

CHPT has a growing library of resource material available to landowners seeking more information. Below is a list of books available to loan from CHPT.

Preserving Family Lands: Book I Essential Tax Strategies for the Landowner by Stephen J. Small, Attorney at Law
Preserving Family Lands: Book II More Planning Strategies for the Future by Stephen J. Small, Attorney at Law
Preserving Family Lands: Book III New Tax Rules And Strategies And A Checklist by Stephen J. Small, Attorney at Law
Land Conservation Options A Guide for Massachusetts Landowners
Rescuing Wetlands Close to Home Ten Stories of New England Landowners

Our thanks to Attorney Robert A. Levite for donating much of this valuable material!
Copyright 2010-2017 | Charlton Heritage Preservation Trust

Disclaimer: The information provided on this web site is not to be construed as legal advise. If you are interested in finding out how these
or other land protection options effect your estate and/or income taxes, please contact an attorney knowledgeable in land issues.

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