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 [...]

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 [...]

GLW Ventures LLC v. US Dept. of Agriculture

U.S. District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma, Case No. C12-5140 RBL, September 25, 2013: Holds USDA conservation easement either created two lots or owner is entitled to a rescission of easement.

Plaintiff GLW owns 110 acres of undeveloped land located along the Columbia River Gorge, on which its predecessor sold a conservation easement to the United States Forest [...]

Kelley v. Cambridge Historical Commission

Massachusetts Appeals Court, No. 12-P-1309, Aug. 21, 2013: No standing to enforce perpetual restriction or challenge historical certificate of appropriateness.

Four individuals living in the vicinity of St. James Episcopal parish church (but not abutters), challenged actions by the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) and the Cambridge Historical Commission (CHC) in connection with a commercial development on church [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

NJ Right to Farm Act Amended for Renewable Energy Facilities

Jan. 18, 2010
New Jersey amended its Right to Farm Act to allow for renewable energy facilities on preserved farmland. Chapter 213 of the Laws of 2009 encourages solar, wind and biomass facilities. According to an article on the website of Lowenstein Sandler PC, “The new law allows the owner of preserved farmland to construct and operate [...]

NM governor signs bill for conservation easements

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed The Natural Heritage Conservation Act, SB 186. The Associated Press reported March 9, 2010, “[the] new law will allow the state to acquire conservation easements from farmers, ranchers and other landowners to ensure that the property is not developed.” The Act also establishes a fund that can attract federal [...]

Maryland County Policy Allows Wetland Mitigation on Agricultural Preservation Easements

Howard County, Maryland, Agricultural Land Preservation Board approved a policy February 16, 2010, to allow, under certain conditions, properties encumbered by an agricultural land preservation easement to establish wetland mitigation for nontidal wetlands that were, or will be, lost due to regulated urban or agricultural activities. “To avoid incursions onto productive land, wetland restoration and/or [...]