The Summit Land Conservancy is Summit County’s only locally based land trust.
We work with willing landowners to protect the working farms and ranches—many of which have been in families for generations—that bring so much value to our communities.
Are you interested in preserving your property from development and passing it down to future generations?
Please call Kate Sattelmeier at 435-649-9884 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also read about the process below.
Steps to Preservation
What follows is a brief outline of the steps involved in placing a conservation easement on a property. We have found it helpful to inform landowners ahead of time about the easement process so they know what to expect and can ask any questions they may have regarding the process.
Introduction between Summit Land Conservancy staff and Landowner.
This is an opportunity for landowners to share their goals, needs and interests regarding their property. The landowner can explain specific interest that should be addressed in the conservation easement. The landowner may wish to reserve a portion of the property outside of the easement for some other use. The Conservancy staff explains the role of the Summit Land Conservancy and how conservation easements work.
It is important for the Conservancy’s staff to see the property firsthand and to be familiar with its different features and characteristics, especially if the Conservancy will be seeking funding.
Many family members may be involved in the decision to protect a property that represents their heritage. The Summit Land Conservancy is very sensitive to these issues and is willing to provide mediation to help advance the discussion. Once a concensus has been reached, the Summit Land Conservancy will begin the formal easement process.
Summit Land Conservancy Board Approval.
Because drafting easements, preparing baseline studies, and finding funding can take a great deal of resources from the Conservancy, the Board of Trustees must approve all conservation projects.
Resolution of Title/ Mineral/ Mortgage Related Issues.
The Summit Land Conservancy will need title, mineral, and mortgage information that ensures that the title is free and clear. If there are encumbrances of any kind, they will need to be resolved or incorporated into the terms of the easement.
In some cases, landowners will donate a voluntary conservation easement on their property. Other times, a landowner would like to receive some cash in return for protecting the property. The Summit Land Conservancy works with a variety of federal, municipal, and private funding sources who are interested in protecting the values of Summit County’s agricultural heritage and open space. Our staff will work with the landowner to secure funds, but a landowner will almost always be required to “donate” some of the value of the easement.
Determination of Conservation Easement Tax Deductibility.
There are certain IRS requirements that must be met in order for an easement to be tax deductible. The Summit Land Conservancy encourages landowners to seek professional tax and estate planning advice. In some cases, the Conservancy will pay for these professional services.
Conservation Easement Drafting and Discussion of Conservation Easement Terms.
The Summit Land Conservancy usually prepares the first draft of the easement and then the landowner and his/her lawyer review it. This can require a significant amount of time depending on the complexity of the easement. The Conservancy is in frequent contact with landowners, or their representative, during this process in order to create a mutually acceptable easement document. The Summit Land Conservancy will need accurate, legal descriptions and maps of the property. If the property does not have a survey, then one can be contracted with a surveyor or, in some cases, a surveyor can prepare a metes and bounds legal description.
Signing and Recordation of Final Conservation Easement.
The signatures on the easement must be notarized. Then the signed easement documents, usually including the Baseline Report, are recorded at the county courthouse. The original is then returned to the Summit Land Conservancy for safekeeping, and a copy is sent to the landowner.
We invite conservation easement donors, if they are able, to assist the Summit Land Conservancy with the cost of monitoring and enforcing the conservation easement in perpetuity. The amount of these contributions varies, but it allows the Conservancy to send a person out to the land each year, prepare a report comparing current uses with the easement, and enforcing the terms of the easement in court, if necessary.
Completion of an Appraisal.
If an easement donation is tax deductible, the easement gift must be appraised to establish the value of the charitable contribution. The appraisal is completed after the easement is signed. It is useful, however, to involve an appraiser earlier in the process if the extent of the tax deduction is an important factor in the design of the conservation easement.
The landowner continues to own and enjoy the use of the property. Each year, the Summit Land Conservancy’s staff will visit the owner and the property and prepare a report. The landowner may sell the property or pass it on to heirs, but the easement and the Summit Land Conservancy remain a part of the property forever.