Posts tagged division

All Together Now

Last month we wrote about common problem areas relating to division, and how no-division clauses can help. Here is why avoiding division is crucial not just for the easement’s habitat, scenic values and wildlife, but for your organization:

  • More owners means more chance of management related conflicts.
  • Property divisions within a conservation easement increase costs and burdens of extra monitoring and enforcement, including more paperwork. 
  • Subdivisions increase the number of landowners the land trust is responsible for maintaining relationships with; if a land trust is not able to devote enough resources towards landowner relationships and communications, violation risk increases.
  • Studies show that more landowners means more risk of violations generally. This is why Terrafirma will always count parcels with different owners separately.

Have questions about easement division violations or anything else? Please let us know. You can e-mail us directly or call 202-800-2248.

Thanks,
Hannah

Conservation Defense Coordinator
ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC
(202) 800-2248  |  help@terrafirma.org

 
 

Don't Crack Up

There’s nothing funny about easement division violations. No-division clauses prevent a number of issues including land fragmentation, enforcement complications, damage to the easement’s habitat and scenic values, and barriers to wildlife movement. Proactive monitoring can keep your easements from cracking apart.

Here are some common division problem areas to look out for:

  • Partition of tenancy in common
  • Foreclosure of a mortgage encumbering a part of the easement property
  • Tax foreclosure of part of the easement property comprised of multiple tax parcels
  • Bankruptcy rejection of an executory contract
  • Landowners adjusting the boundaries in violation of the easement

 Have questions? Please let us know. You can e-mail us directly or call 202-800-2248.

Thanks,
Hannah

 
 

Devising to Avoid Divisions

The no division clause in a conservation easement can be crucial. It protects the easement’s habitat and scenic values while promoting wildlife movement. It also avoids land fragmentation, conflicting management and the unnecessary costs and burdens of extra monitoring and enforcement for multiple parcels. Are you using annual monitoring visits to ask the important questions that will help you to determine if this clause could be violated?

Rather than pepper the landowner with questions, try to engage them in a friendly conversation that involves the following:

  • Has the address changed?
  • Has any portion of property been sold, no matter how small?
  • Has any portion of property been given to anyone, even a relative, no matter how small?
  • Has any portion of property been leased, mortgaged, exchanged, or liened, no matter how small?
  • Have you granted rights to anyone, even a relative or neighbor, to anyone else of any kind?
  • Have you changed the name of the owner of the property such as creating a company, partnership or trust of any kind?
  • Have land uses changed in any way?

Explain that the easement addresses divisions, and that understanding the owner’s plans now means no unpleasant surprises down the road – for you and for the landowner.

Have questions? Please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 802-262-6051 for Leslie, or 202-800-2248 for myself.

Thanks,
Hannah

Hannah Flake

Conservation Defense Associate

ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC

(202) 800-2248 | help@terrafirma.org

 

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Keeping the promise

A recent win in court for Three Valley Conservation Trust (Ohio) could help land trusts in other states as we all work together to uphold conservation permanence.

The case involved two siblings, James and Janis Taylor, who sold a conservation easement on their family farm to Three Valley Conservation Trust. The easement prevented any division of the farm. However, when Janis wanted James to buy her out, James asked the court to let him divide the property despite the restrictions, and the judge sided with him.

Three Valley Conservation Trust successfully appealed the decision with the help of Terrafirma, the Land Trust Alliance, Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts and American Farmland Trust. On appeal, the court sided with the land trust and Janis, stating that restricting division of the property is consistent with current law.

This is a great example of land trusts and their allies working together and it is an important decision with national ramifications. Read more about the case here.

We’re here to help! If you have any questions about divisions or anything else, please let us know. You can email us directly or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri, 202-800-2248 for Hannah, or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.

Thanks,
Hannah

Hannah Flake

Conservation Defense Associate

ALLIANCE RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC

(202) 800-2248  |  help@terrafirma.org

 

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