Land Protection

To achieve our vision for Lancaster County, we have worked for nearly 50 years to save important natural places for people and wildlife. As of 2017, we have protected over 6,100 acres, but we recognize the need to do more. With acres being lost each year to development, it is the Conservancy’s purpose to maintain carefully selected portions of the county’s open areas in their natural state. We have not done this alone and have valued the input from the local community, public and private funders, and our volunteers. Working with landowners, LCC strives to develop plans that reflect the goals of the landowner and the mission of the Conservancy. 

Fern Cliff

Fee Simple Acquisitions

Fee simple acquisitions allow the conservancy to acquire strategically important natural lands for preservation. In a Fee Simple Acquisition LCC acquires all the property rights of the owner. Typically lands are acquired through either a partial or full donation. With a full donation our professional staff will work with you to fulfill your plans for the property, which may include restrictions. Where a partial donation or bargain sale is contemplated LCC will acquire grant funds for part of the value. Our grant funders require certain restrictions on the deed, typically that the lands be open to the public free of charge.

Conservation Easements

Conservation Easements involve transfer of less than a full interest in land (Fee Simple). Conservation Easements are legal agreements that establish restrictions on land in perpetuity. Typical restrictions include use and development rights that would be in conflict with preservation of the natural, scenic, recreational, educational, and historic resources. The landowner continues to own the land privately and pay taxes. We work with landowners to identify resources that are important to the landowner and to establish a plan to protect what they value. Once finalized, the Conservation Easement follows the deed and is tied to the land whether it is transferred within or outside the family. Easements help keep our watersheds, forests, and habitat healthy.

OCT 14 2011 005LCC is required to monitor the conservation easement area on a yearly basis and the landowner is required to keep all the requirements mandated in the easement document. Ensuring that plans for the property are followed requires a financial commitment and a stewardship endowment with every donation of a Conservation Easement. This donation ensures that plans for the property as outlined in the Conservation Easement are followed and wishes are enforced. 

Benefits of Protecting Your Land

With partial or full donations the landowner may be able to realize a tax benefit. LCC advises potential donors and their families to work with their attorney, accountant, or financial adviser. The value of the Donated Conservation Easement is determined by a specialized appraiser, selected and paid for by the landowner.  The appraisal of the property is done in two ways.  First the land valued at the highest use (or development value), and then at a value with the Conservation Easement restrictions in place.  The difference between the two values equals the Conservation Easement Value. LCC will review the appraisal before confirming the value of the charitable contribution.
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