Methods of Land Aquisition

Harris Center

425 Perry St

  1. Email:
  2. Phone: (334) 501-2930
  3. Hours:  M-F: 8AM-5PM

Rebecca Richardson

Parks & Recreation Director

  1. Phone: (334) 501-2930
  2. Email:

Conservation Easement

•A legal agreement between a landowner and the City, it is a flexible land protection tool

•Permanently limits the uses of the land in order to protect its conservation or recreation values

•Conveys a permanent right of public access across the property for a greenway

•The land remains in private ownership

•Can be tailored to meet the financial and personal needs of the landowner as long as the land's conservation and recreational values continue to be protected

•May qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation, resulting in federal income tax benefits for the landowner

•Landowner may also gain reduced property taxes and estate tax benefits

Land Donation

•An outright donation of land for the purposes of open space

•May be the best land protection strategy if the landowner: ◦ does not wish to pass the land along to heirs

◦ owns property he or she no longer uses

◦ owns highly appreciated property

◦ has substantial real estate holdings and wishes to reduce the potential estate tax burden

◦ would like to be relieved of the responsibility of caring for the land

•May qualify as a tax deductible charitable donation, resulting in federal income tax benefits for the landowner, while avoiding any capital gains taxes that would have resulted from selling the property

•May provide estate tax benefits by reducing the value of the landowner's estate

Bargain Sale

•Sale of land by the landowner to the City for less than the appraised fair market value of the land

•Combines the income-producing benefit of the sale with the tax-reducing benefits of a donation

•Provides cash to the landowner, avoids some capital gains tax, and provides a potential charitable income tax deduction based on the difference between the land's fair market value and its sale price

Fee Simple Acquisition

•The outright sale of land by a private landowner to the City for a greenway, based on an agreed upon sale price

Land Trust

•A non-profit, community-based organization that collaborates with citizens, governmental entities, developers and businesses to preserve the quality of life through land use, acquisition, and preservation

•A partnership designed to "merge the creative energies of the public and private sectors in the creation of a strong sense of community in every area of life"

•Since 1968, the number of local and regional land trusts in the United States has increased by 68%, to over 1,200. These trusts have protected more than 5 million acres of open space, and they have more than 1 million members in total.

•Land trusts employ all the aforementioned methods of land acquisition to protect land for future generations; however, conservation easements are by far the fastest-growing land protection strategy of local land trusts.

•Some of the responsibilities of a land trust:

◦Manage land owned by others

◦Advise landowners on how to preserve their land

◦Help negotiate conservation transactions

◦Evaluate open space needs

◦Assist in the development of open space plans

•Therefore, a land trust represents a long-term and on-going financial commitment to the community it serves.