Open Space and Farmland Protection Options

Conservation Easement

  • Identifies a right to use land for a particular purpose under specified standards
  • Restricts development or certain uses to preserve or maintain stated existing conditions
  • Follows the property and is binding on all successive fee owners
  • Easement is individually written to meet desired intent of landowner
  • Can be given or sold to a qualified public or not-for-profit entity
  • Restriction on land lowers it value and can be used for tax and estate planning

Check out our Easement Q&A page for more info.

Bargain or Conservation Sale

  • Sale of property at less than full market value to a not-for-profit land trust
  • Difference between fair market value and sale value is considered a gift, providing tax breaks
  • Land trust places conservation easements on property before selling to another owner
  • Seller may profit as much from bargain sale as from full market value sale after tax benefits

Purchase of Development Rights

  • New York State does this through its competitive Farmland Protection Implementation Grant (FPIG) program.  Interested farmers apply through their town.
  • Farmer receives cash for the difference between market value and agricultural value of the land
  • Easement which restricts development is placed on property.  Farmer retains all other rights.
  • Restrictions and reservations are added to the property deed and held in perpetuity

Gift of Land by Will

  • Provides for an orderly transfer of property to a group or individual for a desired use after the death of an owner
  • Reduces or eliminates estate taxes if gift is made to a land trust or non-profit organization
  • Gift can be for a part or all of a property
  • Landowner establishes cleat terms regarding type and term of desired use as well as property maintenance and monitoring procedures

Reserved Life Estate

  • Owner deeds land to a beneficiary but maintains use and income from the property until death
  • If recipient is a not-for-profit, grantor can take annual tax deduction and reduce estate tax liability
  • Owner stipulates future land use

Agricultural Value Assessment

  • To qualify must be at least 10 acres and generate at least $10,000 in gross agricultural sales
  • Land is assessed for its agricultural use rather than its fair market value
  • Value is based on soil type
  • School and property taxes are based on Agricultural value Assessment, not the market value
  • Portions of woodland are eligible
  • Town does not have to be at full value assessment
  • Farmers face a penalty on conversion to non-agricultural use
  • Land must be in Agricultural District and/or committed to agriculture for 8 years

Your planned gift can provide lasting support to help CPF meet its mission of land protection. For more information on planned giving, see this page, or contact us.

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