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Conservation Easements

For inquiries contact Susan Hughes, Executive Director.

If you’re reading this page, you’re interested in preservation of open space, scenic views, wildlife habitat, or the protection of the historical, archeological, and cultural aspects of South Texas that make our area unique. You’ve come to Green Spaces Alliance as a landowner, developer, neighbor, or planner, and you want to know what we can do to help you.

Here are some of the ways we can help you:

Traditional Conservation Easements

A conservation easement agreement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows you to continue to own and use your land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs. (Click here to read more about what a land trust is)

Green Spaces Alliance is a qualified holder of conservation easements. When you donate a conservation easement to a qualified holder, you give up some of the rights associated with the land. In exchange, you may receive a tax benefit or you may qualify for a program that pays you for all or part of the loss in value incurred when you put an easement on your property.

Conservation easements offer great flexibility. An easement on property containing rare wildlife habitat might prohibit any development, for example, while one on a farm might allow continued farming and the building of additional agricultural structures. An easement may apply to just a portion of the property, and it need not require public access.

In order to encourage the donation of conservation easements on eligible land to a qualified holder, the Federal Tax Code permits qualified donors of conservation easements to deduct the value of the conservation easement in an amount up to 50% (100% in the case of qualified farmers and ranchers) of their income and to carry the deduction forward for 15 years. The value of a conservation easement is the difference in fair market value of the property before and after the conservation easement is placed on the property.

Some programs like the Aquifer Protection Program may compensate a landowner for all or part of the value of the conservation easement. A bargain sale occurs when the landowner isn’t fully compensated for the value of the easement placed on the property. In that case, the landowner may be able to receive a charitable deduction for the value of the conservation easement for which he or she hasn’t received compensation.

Conservation Developments

Green Spaces Alliance works with developers who are interested in reducing the cost of infrastructure by concentrating development of a piece of land to one portion, leaving the remaining portion in its natural condition for the enjoyment of all. We will do a baseline assessment of the property, draft and negotiate a conservation easement, and work with the landowner and successive owners so that the conservation values are maintained forever.

Land Banking

When we identify a parcel of land that may be of benefit to a county or city as a park, library, school, or housing, we may work with a governmental or quasi-governmental entity to acquire and hold the land until the county or city is ready to acquire it.

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