Supreme Court of Virginia, Record No. 160305, March 2, 2017: Court picks which of 2 easement sections controls owner’s actions.
This decision resulted from a request for summary judgment as to whether a landowner had violated a conservation easement on its land. Each side in the dispute asserted that a different section of the easement controlled certain [...]
Supreme Judicial Court ME, 2017 ME 17, January 26, 2017: Maine landowner doesn’t have standing to seek enforcement of conservation easement on land of another.
This case interprets a Maine statute to decide whether an owner of land subject to a conservation easement has standing to ask the courts to enforce the restriction as to another parcel [...]
U.S. Dist. Court, D. New Jersey, Civ. No. 2:11-5094(KM) (MAH), November 21, 2016: State law claims against conservation easement holder not dismissed.
The relevant cast of characters in this matter are Huff, managing member of Ecotone Farm LLC (Ecotone), the Plaintiffs; the Wards, neighbors to the farm property, Defendants; Fox, the Township Engineer, also a Defendant; and [...]
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 [...]
Supreme Court of Montana, 2015 MT 265, No. DA 14-0798, September 8, 2015: Conservation restrictions created outside Montana conservation easement statute enforceable.
The basic issue in this case was whether in Montana an easement in gross (here, a restriction for the benefit of a person, rather than benefitting a piece of land (a “dominant estate”) that binds [...]
Supreme Court of Virginia, Record No. 141480,June 4, 2015: Accusation of conservation easement violation is not defamation in Virginia.
At issue was whether public accusations that a party violated a conservation easement is defamation in Virginia. The Plaintiffs, 3 Dog Farm, LC, and Happy Tails sought a special use permit to operate a boarding kennel of more [...]
Court of Appeals of Colorado, Div. 1, No. 13CA2204, February 26, 2015: Land Trust keeps conservation easement despite error naming grantor.
The Land Trust accepted and recorded a deed of conservation easement (“Conservation Deed”) from one Craig J. Walker, an individual who, as it turned out, had overlooked that he had previously granted and recorded a deed [...]
Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, No. 1031, September Term, 2013, December 2, 2014: Conservation easement enforceable, civil penalty for violation valid.
The case concerns the validity and enforceability of a forest conservation easement (“FCE”) on a subdivision lot purchased by Appellant McClure and the authority of a County board to issue a corrective order and impose [...]
Appellate Court of Connecticut, Ac 35713, August 12, 2014: Attorney’s fees awarded to historic commission.
Sciame was ordered by the local Historic District Commission (Commission) to remove certain renovations on a property in a historic district. When he failed to comply, the commission sued. After a trial on the issues found for the commission, and trial and [...]
Mich. Court of Appeals, No. 302385, March 25, 2014: Land trust did not tortuously interfere with owners business relationships.
In this litigation, the Glasses, who were subject to an unsuccessful attempt by the IRS to disallow a federal income tax deduction for a conservation easement the Glasses donated to the Little Traverse Conservancy Trust (LTC) (Glass v [...]
Mass. Appeals Court, No. 13-P-145, February 28, 2014: No municipal duty to enforce preservation easement; no standing for mandamus declaratory judgment.
Van Liew brought a mandamus action against the Selectmen of Chelmsford, MA, to require them to enforce a preservation easement. (In Massachusetts, Preservation easements and conservation easements are governed by the same statute, M.G.L. chapter 184, [...]
US Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2013-254, November 12, 2013: Preservation easement deductible despite similar restrictions in local New York City historic preservation law.
The court held that this façade easement for a “certified historic structure” qualifies for a tax deduction despite some overlap with New York City’s Landmarks Law. The decision offers reasons that the circumstances in [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Supreme Court of New Jersey,No. A-116 September Term 2010 065540, April 4, 2013: Inspection under wetlands permit on conservation easement constitutionally permitted.
The Hubers’ residence includes land subject to a wetlands permit under New Jersey’s Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act (FWPA; N.J.S.A. 13:9B-1 to -30) and a deed restriction/conservation easement to their Township. After a neighbor complained about [...]
Cal. Court of Appeal, 3rd Appellate Dist., No. C068816, November 26, 2012: Validates conservation easement hunting ban despite failure to post land.
This decision is marked “Not to Be Published”, meaning it is not generally citable as precedent. See comment below.
Plaintiff/appellant Wooster’s 4,535 acre property is subject to a conservation easement deed and agreement held by the [...]
Colorado Court of Appeals, Division VII, No. 11CA1416, June 7, 2012: Encumbrance of water rights in a conservation easement is valid in Colorado; enjoins severance of water rights from conserved land.
The United States granted a conservation easement in 1990 to Mesa County Land Conservancy, Inc. (Mesa), a land trust. The conservation easement provided that water rights [...]
US Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, Nos. 09-5634/6070, May 21, 2012: Filling a sinkhole violated “unambiguous” conservation easement despite reserved rights; upholds attorneys’ fee award to easement holder. A 2-1 split decision.
The Nature Conservancy (“Conservancy”) and the Sims entered into a conservation easement on land the Conservancy sold Sims. The Conservancy subsequently asserted that the Sims [...]
Ind. Court Of Appeals, No. 22A01-1108-PL-365, March 22, 2012: Owner in historic district not entitled to actual notice of potential designation of district; replacement of original wood siding with vinyl siding is “conspicuous change” requiring Certificate of Appropriateness; designation was not inverse condemnation.
The New Albany Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the City of New Albany (collectively, [...]