Metacomet strongly supports the conservation of privately owned property. Conservation is forever. We applaud the conservation ethic of residents in our area who have preserved their land. If you are considering how to conserve your family’s property, here is our checklist.
The list below is long and detailed; we have learned through experience that it is far better to be realistic at the beginning than to have surprises at the end! Please pay particular attention to the requirements for a survey, a qualified attorney to represent you, and the appraisal requirements of the IRS.
- The land trust will visit the property and discuss the public interests furthered by preservation of your land. The trust will begin to document the property with photographs, maps, and sketches during visits. This is the starting point of every conservation project.
- Our Board of Directors will discuss the property at meetings which you are invited to attend.
- All donors of major charitable gifts should consult an experienced accountant or tax advisor about the impact on your personal finances. The 2006 tax law changes should be studied to determine how your potential tax deduction will be calculated.
- You should be represented by an experienced attorney throughout the process.
In most projects, a recent or updated survey is recommended. Your survey plan should include locations for any future building rights, wetlands and streams, the current treeline surrounding any areas of fields or lawns and any driveways or cart paths. Copies of the finished plan will need to go to the land trust and to the Commonwealth in the case of a Conservation Restriction. The plan must be provided in digital form in a GIS format acceptable to the state.
- If you are considering a Conservation Restriction, please read the Commonwealth’s handbook, [www.mass.gov/envir/dcs] which is posted on line. The state’s procedure is followed for all conservation restrictions undertaken by non-profit organizations. Please download the state handbook and the application form and review both.
- For CR’s Metacomet will prepare the baseline documentation and the state application. We are often able to conduct most of the legal work. In exchange, we ask the donor to provide the survey and your own legal and financial counsel.
- The value of your charitable donation must be determined by a qualified appraisal soon after the date of the gift.All donors must provide documentation that their appraisals are done to national standards by qualified appraisers. The cost of the appraisal is the responsibility of the donor. If you claim a deduction, please note that the land trust is required to inspect the appraisal itself before we sign the IRS form which will document the value of a conservation gift.
A land trust which monitors a restriction must have the strength and resources to fulfill its role in perpetuity. In order to ensure that the trust will be able to enforce the restriction in the future, Metacomet requests a gift or pledge that will be held in our Stewardship Program restricted account to cover ongoing stewardship costs. Thank you again for your steadfast conservation ethic!