Open Space Equity: Creating Value through Conservation

Conservation Development    

Crafting conservation solutions that maximize long-term value








Unsure about what
conservation easements
are and how they work?
the Landowner's
Guide to Open Space Preservation


Feasibility Assessment

Open Space Equity can help you assess the feasibility and financial implications of placing a conservation easement on a property--whether you currently own it, wish to sell it, or are considering a purchase.

Fieldwork Management

We assemble and manage teams of skilled field work professionals to help landowners derive the greatest functional and financial value from conserving a property. By carefully planning and coordinating the work of engineers, surveyors, architects, soil scientists, ecologists, foresters, botanists, and other professionals, Open Space Equity can help you identify and preserve important natural resources, find and capture overlooked value, prevent tax problems, retain flexibility to undertake future improvements, and protect the long-term value and marketability of a property.

Development Potential Analysis

Understanding development potential in the context topography, soils, regulatory constraints, neighboring land parcels, and the local real estate market is critical when devising a long-term plan for your property--and for calculating and substantiating conservation easement tax benefits. Through careful research and analysis, Open Space Equity can help you determine your property's highest-and-best use, capture the maximum legitimate conservation easement tax benefit, and retain appropriate development rights to undertake future property improvements.

Conservation Site Planning

Open Space Equity helps landowners develop conservation plans that protect important natural resources; prevent problems with land trusts and the IRS; allow appropriate stewardship of farmland, forests, and other managed landscapes; and reserve sufficient development rights to allow responsible future improvements to a property.

Development Site Planning

Land conservation need not be an all or nothing proposition. Open Space Equity develops property improvement plans which thoughtfully balance conservation and development needs, responsibly site and configure structures and other improvements, and create value while maintaining important natural features and functions

Conservation Easement Development

Many conservation easements are placed in force using hastily prepared form documents. While there's no need to reinvent the wheel each time land is preserved, a conservation easement should carefully address issues that are specific to a particular property, its distinct conservation values, and its owners. Open Space Equity can help individuals, attorneys, and land trusts draft easement documents that pre-empt IRS problems by clearly documenting the conservation values that make an easement eligible for a tax benefit, while reserving future development rights where doing so may be necessary or appropriate.

Grantor-Grantee Relations

A good conservation easement satisfies the interests of both the property owner and the land trust, town, or other entity that will hold the easement. Getting to the best result typically requires some negotiation, particularly in the area of reserved rights. Open Space Equity can help you negotiate the ability to make responsible future improvements to your land while ensuring that conservation values are protected--and that retained rights don't run afoul of the tax code.

Managing Conserved Landscapes

Protected open space often encompasses working landscapes, such as farms and forests. We can help you plan for appropriate management activities when crafting a conservation easement and, thereafter, develop and implement plans for responsible stewardship.

Tax Compliance

Not all conservation easements qualify for tax benefits, and if a tax benefit is claimed, it's important that the easement be planned, implemented, documented, and appraised in full compliance with tax laws. We help people avoid problems with the IRS by ensuring that conserved areas, easement documents, and baseline documentation comply with the tax code, and that donated development rights are valued based on realistic and defensible highest and best use configurations.

Project Management

Properly planning and implementing a conservation easement typically requires an attorney, a team of fieldwork professionals, a land-use planner, and an appraiser. Open Space Equity helps property owners and their advisors assemble and manage project teams; sequence and schedule fieldwork; handle negotiations with land trusts, towns, and other types of easement grantees; ensure regulatory compliance; and generate documentation that clearly demonstrates tax-code compliance.

Issue-Specific Consulting

In addition to providing comprehensive conservation easement solutions, Open Space Equity provides issue- and task-specific consulting services to owners, buyers, and sellers of land, and to attorneys, financial advisors, and other professionals who are helping their clients plan and implement conservation easements.


Land Conservation

  • Properly planning, sequencing, and analyzing field work to determine development potential yields the best legitimate tax benefit value
  • Documenting functional and tax-driven conservation values is critical
  • Master-planning to protect conservation values and accommodate future improvements insures long-term value
  • It's best to preempt IRS problems by cogently demonstrating compliance with tax regulations governing qualified conservation easements






Copyright 2011 Open Space Equity, LLC
Box 50, Washington Depot, Connecticut, 06794
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