Conservation Easements Become Popular With Developers

Developers and land owners are finding that the tax benefits of making conservation easements are easy money.
December 22, 2003, 9am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Easements are permanent deed restrictions that limit some types of intrusive development -- such as dense subdivisions or strip mines -- while often permitting limited construction. Landowners 'donate' the easements to a nonprofit land trust or a government agency that, in effect, certifies that the restrictions are meaningful and provide some public benefit, such as preserving open space or protecting wildlife. That allows the donor to seek federal income tax deductions for the reduction in the land's market value... By taking such steps to limit construction, the owners of vacation resorts, country manors and dude ranches can seek big write-offs, too. Pennsylvania developer Kenneth C. Hellings says he restricted building on 'unusable' portions of his new subdivision and took a 'shocker' of a tax deduction."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Sunday, December 21, 2003 in The Washington Post
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