Conservation Options

The participation of private landowners is vital to the conservation of lands and natural assets in Pierce Township. There are many options available to landowners that are interested in conserving the places they value. Below is a list of voluntary, conservation options. Pierce Township will work with you to determine the best means to achieve land protection goals and meet the specific needs of the landowner. Many of the approaches described offer income tax, estate tax, and property tax relief that help make conservation affordable.
Method
Benefits
Gifts of Land
An outright gift of land to Pierce Township
  1. The value of the land donated (as determined by a qualified appraiser) can be claimed as an income tax deduction.
  2. Real property and estate taxes are eliminated.
Conservation Easements
A legal agreement between a landowner and Pierce Township that permanently limits a property’s uses in order to protect the property’s conservation values.
· The landowner gives up some rights of development.
· A conservation easement is permanent and binds all present and future owners of the property.
· A landowner may sell a conservation easement, but easements are usually donated.
  1. Landowner retains ownership and use of the land. Landowner may sell the land or pass it on to heirs.
  2. A conservation easement donated to Pierce Township may qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation.
  3. May be a savings in property taxes.
  4. The terms of the conservation easement are negotiable and written to meet the particular needs of the landowner while protecting the conservation value of the property.
Deed Restrictions
Terms are placed in the deed to the property that restrict certain uses of the real estate by future owners
  1. No income tax benefits; possible estate tax benefits.
Mutual Covenants
Several landowners mutually agree to protect their land. The covenants are enforceable by each of the other landowners and their heirs and successors. Not necessarily permanent or binding for future owners since the covenants can be nullified by subsequent agreement of all the landowners
  1. Terms are flexible and developed by the landowners.
  2. No income or estate tax benefits.
Outright / Bargain Sale*
The sale of a property for fair market value (outright sale) or less than the fair market value (bargain sale) as determined by a qualified appraiser.
* Although Pierce Township is not currently purchasing conservation land, due to funding limitations, we do encourage you to contact the Greenspace Committee for assistance.
  1. Immediate income.
  2. Lower capital gains taxes.
  3. Property taxes eliminated.
  4. The difference between the selling price and the appraised fair market value can be claimed as an income tax deduction.