Options for Protecting Your Land
Conserving land in Western Pennsylvania is vital to protecting the natural features, wildlife habitats, waterways and scenic landscapes that make our region unique and special. These exceptional places need our protection. And, conservation-minded landowners like you can help. The following is a list of conservation options available to landowners to permanently protect their land for generation to come.
In this transaction, landowners maintain ownership and use of the land, but conservation restrictions limit specific prohibited and permitted uses of the property. Permitted uses typically include agriculture, forestry, recreation, other open space uses. Industrial, commercial, and residential development uses are typically prohibited. Restrictions may cover all or part of the property. There may be income, estate and property tax benefits that result from this type of conservation option.
When a landowner donates land to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, we may sell the property while retaining conservation restrictions. We may also retain ownership and lease the land with conservation restrictions to a private party, such as a farmer. The landowner who donates the property is entitled to an income tax deduction for the value of the property. There may be income, estate and property tax benefits that result from donating your land.
Some landowners donate land to the Conservancy, while retaining a life estate for themselves. This can result in a significant tax deduction.
The sale of conservation restrictions to the Conservancy is the equivalent to placing a conservation easement on the property which restricts the use of land to primarily agricultural, forestry, and recreational uses, consistent with the conservation values of the property. The value or sale price of development rights is the difference between the land's fair market value for development and its restricted value. The landowner retains title to the land, while the right to develop all or part of the land in the future has been removed.
The Conservancy will occasionally purchase outright land that is very important to the local community or region and is being threatened with sale and development. There may be income, estate and property tax benefits that result from selling property as a "bargain sale" at below market value.