Manchester Water Works v Town Of Auburn

Supreme Court of New Hampshire, No. 2009-335, May 20, 2010
The court held that a self-imposed conservation easement that was terminable by the owner of the servient land did not have to be taken into account in valuing the land for tax purposes. The court interpreted and differentiated the statutes that control municipal taxation of conservation easements and the more general statute that defines “conservation restriction” for conveyancing purposes. The court found the easement did not comply with NH RSA chapters 79-A and 79-B, which govern the municipal taxation of conservation easements, and rejected the taxpayer’s argument that the easement must be considered in valuing the property’s fair market value regardless of such noncompliance. The taxpayer was Manchester Water Works (MWW). A NH statute requires a public water supply entity like MWW to make a payment in lieu of taxes based on the assessed value of their land.

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