Crain v. Hardin County Water District No. 2

Court of Appeals of Kentucky, No. 2015-CA-000499-MR, June 17, 2016: Ag conservation easement does not create public use protected from taking.

The issues in this case are (1) whether a taking of an easement on private land for a sewer line by the Water District is prohibited because of an agricultural conservation easement which the landowner previously [...]

Wetlands America Trust, Inc. v. White Cloud Nine Ventures

Supreme Court of Virginia, Record No. 141577, February 12, 2016: Conservation easement ambiguity resolved in favor of allowing construction.

This controversy arose because of construction activities and proposed uses of land subject to a conservation easement. The legal questions were whether a Virginia conservation easement should be construed “strictly” (i.e., narrowly) against restrictions on land, whether certain [...]

COMMUNITY INVOLVED IN SUSTAINING AGRICULTURE vs. BOARD OF ASSESSORS OF DEERFIELD

Mass.  Appeals Court, 13-P-1050, November 10, 2014: Agricultural buy-local organization exempt from real estate tax.

On appeal from the state’s Appellate Tax Board, the court held that Community Involved In Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) is entitled to exemption from local property tax on land it owns and occupies for its programs. At issue was whether the dominant purpose [...]

Wachter v. Commissioner

US Tax Court, 142 TC 7, March 11, 2014: No federal tax deduction for conservation easement when state law limits easement to 99 years.

Wachter, in a bargain sale transaction, donated to a land trust a portion of the value of a conservation easement on North Dakota land. Wachter claimed a tax deduction for donation of a [...]

Esgar Corporation v. Commissioner (Esgar II)

U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, No. 12-9009, March 7, 2014: Highest and best use in easement appraisal must be most reasonably probable in the reasonably near future.

Esgar appealed the decision of the Tax Court in Esgar v. Commissioner (Esgar I), US Tax Court, 2012 TC Memo 35, February 6, 2012. In Esgar I the Tax [...]

LONG GREEN VALLEY ASS’N v. BELLEVALE FARMS (Long Green Valley II)

Court of Appeals of Maryland,No. 65, September Term, 2012, June 24, 2013: Maryland agricultural preservation easement not a charitable trust.

This case is the appeal of the decision in Long Green Valley Ass’n v. Bellevale Farms, Inc., 205 Md. App. 636, 683, 46 A.3d 473, 501 (2012) (Long Green Valley I). It holds that in Maryland, the [...]

Covered Bridge Farms II, LLC v. Maryland

Md Court of Special Appeals, No. 1920, September Term, 2011, March 22, 2013: Agricultural Preservation Easement granted on separate adjoining lots in one ownership can’t be subdivided.

A predecessor in ownership of appellant Covered Bridge Farm II, LLC (CBF II) sold an agricultural preservation easement to the State of Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) on three [...]

Tresch v. County Of Sonoma

California Court of Appeals, 1st District, Division 4, No. A133472, January 4, 2013: California county’s resolution clarifying conservation easement not subject to environmental impact review. (Unpublished)

In connection with a proposed quarry operation on adjacent land, a conservation district adopted a resolution interpreting an existing conservation easement to permit the establishment of a wildlife preserve on agricultural [...]

Long Green Valley Ass’n v Bellevale Farms, Inc. Revised

Maryland Court of Special Appeals, No. 0228, February 14, 2012: Revised decision holds the purchased non-perpetual agricultural preservation easement at issue does not create charitable trust in Maryland, but abutter has rebuttable presumption that it has standing to bring mandamus action regarding enforcement of the easement by a state entity.

The decision issued February 14, 2012, revises [...]

Long Green Valley Ass’n v Bellevale Farms, Inc.

The Court’s opinion in this case was revised on February 14, 2012. A revised Digest post discussing the decision is [...]

In re Jurgielewicz Duck Farm

United States Bankruptcy Court, E. D. NY, No: 8-10-70231-478, May 20, 2010: Held a Debtor in a c. 11 bankruptcy proceeding may not sell its real property free and clear of a Development Rights restriction for agricultural preservation held by a county and town. The Debtor’s debtor-in-possession lender sought to have the property sold free and [...]

Rocky Mountain Christian Church v Boulder County Cert Denied

The US Supreme Court denied certiorari January 10 in the case of Rocky Mountain Christian Church v Boulder County (reported here on May 25, 2010), a case decided by the United States Court Of Appeals  Tenth Circuit, No. 09-1188, May 17, 2010, involving claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA). [...]

Building Industry Association v County of Stanislaus

Court of Appeals of California, Fifth District, No. F058826, Filed November 29, 2010: Upholds the facial validity of the County’s Farmland Mitigation Program provision that conversion of farmland to residential development requires the grant of an agricultural conservation easement over an equivalent area of comparable farmland, with some exceptions.

Stanislaus County adopted the Farmland Mitigation Program (FMP) [...]

California Farmland Conservancy Program Act Signed

California, Sept. 30, 2010: “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed … SB1142, by Sen. Pat Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, which aims to expand the sources of grant money that the state can use to preserve farmland through easements. The bill allows the state to buy farmland-conservation easements that also require some environmental aim, like preservation of wildlife habitat. [...]

Stitzel v State of Maryland

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, No. 1017, October 5, 2010: Sets aside the conveyance of a portion of land encumbered an agricultural preservation easement that was deeded without the prior approval of the easement holder; affirms that conveyance requires such prior approval.

In 1999, owner Stitzel entered into an Agricultural Land Preservation District Agreement with the [...]

Kreutzer v Illinois Commerce Commission

Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District No. 2-09-0007 September 16, 2010: In this transmission line case, the Court held that the owners of a “centennial farm” on the proposed line’s location could not appeal the state’s refusal to take note of the historic landmark designation of their house because petitioners, in their application to the state [...]

Curzi v. Raub

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, No. A-5380-06T1, July 30, 2010: Held that an allegation of intentional nuisance is not sufficient to remove a private nuisance claim from the purview of the NJ Right to Farm Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 4:1C-1 to -10.4. Farmer Raub’s residential neighbors brought a nuisance action in Superior Court against Raub [...]

Sterling v California Coastal Commission

Superior Court of California, No. Civ 482448, June 18, 2010: Trial court finds an unconstitutional taking in Commission’s requirement that plaintiff grant a perpetual agricultural easement for “active agricultural use” of 140 acres as a condition for a permit to build a house. The requirement failed the “essential nexus” test of Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, [...]

Stenehjem v Crosslands

SUPREME COURT OF NORTH DAKOTA, No. 20090199, May 13, 2010

Held that a corporation’s purchase of land violates the ban on corporate ownership of farmland if the predominant use and nature of the entire tract purchased is as farmland or ranchland, rejecting a determination of land use “acre-by-acre”. The purchaser, Crosslands, is a nonprofit corporation [...]

Oregon Transfer of Development Rights Pilot Program Rules

Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) adopted rules in January 2010 to implement the Oregon Transfer of Development Rights Pilot Program. A description of this initiative is available online from DLCD at http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/tdr_pilot_program.shtml. According to DCLD, “Transfer of development rights (TDR) programs are a voluntary, incentive-based and market-driven approach to preserve land and direct [...]