Examples of Different Types of Easements

Here are some examples of how conservation easements have been used in other communities to achieve land protection and provide landowners with significant benefits.

Buffer property & trails

A landowner with a beautiful oak savanna adjacent to a forest preserve property wanted to ensure that the trees were protected. The landowner put an easement on just the half of her property that contained the trees. The easement serves as a protective buffer between the forest preserve and any future development that might occur on the rest of her land. She now has protected the savanna she loves and enjoys reduced property taxes. Easements can also be used to protect riding and bike trails, while providing tax benefits to landowners.

Residential property

A homeowner wanted to preserve the rustic character of his 12-acre property. A wetland on the site made the land environmentally-valuable, but existing zoning permitted the property to be subdivided into 4-acre lots. The homeowner put an easement on the entire 12 acres, preventing subdividing and limiting use to a single-family dwelling. He received significant income tax and property tax benefits for his easement.

Large parcels

The patriarch of a family with a 300-acre farm listened to his children talk about what they will do with it in the future. The father’s priority was ensuring that the original home and farmstead were protected and that the rest of the property would be developed responsibly. The patriarch and his children worked with the land trust and his attorneys to map out an easement for the entire property that preserved the original 100 acres as open space and detailed how the remaining land could be used. Drafting the easement forced the children to work out their differences. They also realized that the easement would provide important estate tax benefits that would allow them to keep all of the land in the family. The father and his children gained significant peace of mind and financial benefits by using a conservation easement to define the land’s future.