Conservation Easements

A Legacy of Enduring Stewardship - The Danby Conservation Advisory

Conservation easements can protect farms and forests, meadows and streams — places of beauty and value everywhere. In fact, conservation easements protect millions of acres coast to coast.

They are powerful, flexible, and voluntary.

Now the Town of Danby offers you the option to preserve your land for generations to come. The Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) is searching for landowners interested in preserving and protecting their land from future development. The Danby Conservation Easement is a flexible way for landowners to protect their land in perpetuity – forever, in a word. Ownership and use remain with the landowners, but easement limitations pass on with sale of the property to future owners.

CAC members works with landowners to help them determine the desired level of protection.

The Basics: Trained volunteers from CAC can walk you through the process of creating your own customized easement. Our legal template helps you:

  • Identify the characteristics of your land you prize
  • Decide which restrictions you want

Though the Town holds the easement, you retain title and ownership of the land. The protections you establish with your easement will be tied to the deed and continue on with a change of ownership.

Stewardship: The trained CAC volunteer who monitors your property each year would get in touch with you to set up a time agreeable to both of you. (As time goes by, different people would assume that role.) But should you or your successors be absent for weeks or months, stewards may enter your land after informing you of their plans.

Of course, we anticipate that you too will be stewarding your land. The need for an outside stewardship assessment is simply a legal necessity to protect your conservation values over the long haul, as these values have been granted to the Town in perpetuity. Since “perpetuity” is essentially forever, conserving this land is a considerable commitment the Town has taken on.

What rights would I give up?

Only those you choose and only in the zones of your land that you commit to an easement. At a minimum, conservation easements prevent further development. But you can add other restrictions.

Would people have right to enter my land?

Only if you want. Your easement is a gift to the town that might be protecting roadside views, natural areas, open space, and/or rural character, such as quality agricultural land. People are already benefiting from your generosity.

Are there tax incentives for donating a Conservation Easement?

Yes, while limited, there are some incentives for donating an easement. To begin, you could see a reduction in your local taxes There is also a one-time federal tax incentive for conservation easements. If you choose to hire a professional appraiser to value your property before and after easement, you might find that there is a reduction in value, although to date this does not appear to be the case in Tompkins County. See the Conservation Easement Tax Credit Information, below, for complete information.

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The Town of Danby sits on the traditional & ancestral land of the Gayogoho:no’ (Cayuga Nation), one of the five nations to first form the Haudenosaunee. Indigenous peoples were largely forced out of Upstate New York by the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition in 1779. The land that would become the Town of Danby was a part of the Watkins and Flint Purchase, a 336,380 acre patent granted by New York State to numerous eastern investors in 1794. 

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