Mount Aldie, LLC, v. Land Trust of Virginia, Inc.

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 [...]

Estate of Robbins v. Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust

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 [...]

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 [...]

Minnick v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (Minnick II)

US Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit, No. 13-73234, August 12, 2015: Mortgage subordination at the time of easement gift, not later, required for deduction.

The US Tax Court held in Minnick v. Commissioner (Minnick I), 2012 T.C. Memo 345, December 17, 2012,  that Treasury Regulations §1.170A-14(g)(2) requires that, for a taxpayer to take a deduction for the [...]

Historic District Commission v. Sciame

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 [...]

Avery v. Medina

Conn. Appellate Court, AC 36326, July 8, 2014: Stone wall is “permanent structure”

At issue was whether a stone wall erected by Medina, the defendant, at a location where a restrictive covenant between private parties prohibited construction of any “permanent structure,” was a permanent structure in violation of the covenant. A lower court agreed with Medina that [...]

500, LLC v. Minneapolis

Supreme Court of Minnesota, No. A11-1705, September 25, 2013: Action on certificate of appropriateness to alter historic landmark is “relating to zoning” under Minnesota law.

Under Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. § 15.99, subd. 2(a) (2012)) a city has only 60 days to “approve or deny” an application for a “written request relating to zoning” or the request [...]

Stockport Mountain Corporation LLC v. Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Inc.

US District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania, No. 3:11cv514, August 27, 2013: Conservation easement’s prohibition of industrial or commercial activity unambiguously bans fracking.

At issue was whether the wording of a conservation easement was ambiguous regarding prohibition of surface activity by plaintiff Stockport Mountain (Stockport) for natural gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Defendant Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Inc. (Norcross) brought a [...]

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 [...]

The Nature Conservancy, Inc. v. Sims

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 [...]

Miller v. City of Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, No. 219, September 6, 2011: Upholds a Maryland historic district commission’s decision that reconstruction to match an original porch, removed many years before from a home in a historic district, was rehabilitation, not new construction, and therefore commission could require use of wood rather than fiberglass columns.

The Millers sought approval [...]

Westchester Land Trust v Town of Lewisboro and Wolf Conservation Center

NY Supreme Court, Westchester County, Index no. 23534/10, July 13, 2011: Summary judgment order by trial court that conservation easement from Town to land trust prohibits the creation of fenced enclosures or “habitat” for the keeping of wolves.

The conservation easement was granted by the Town as a condition to receiving a grant from Westchester Land Trust [...]

Northampton Township v Parsons

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 2057 C.D. 2010 July 12, 2011: Restriction to “recreational use” in Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (Declaration) does not allow structure or use for basketball court.  Unreported opinion.

Land acquired by a Township in part with county funds was subject to the Declaration stating the land would be used only “for wildlife [...]

The Application of B.Y. Development

Supreme Court of South Dakota, # 25407, July 7, 2010: Holds the phrase “any historic property” under a state historic preservation enabling act, SDCL 1-19B-62, does not include historic districts, but that City of Deadwood’s determination whether a project would “encroach upon, damage, or destroy” historic properties may be based on the local ordinances in addition [...]

Humble Ventures v The City of Steamboat Springs

Colorado Court Of Appeals
09CA0386 03-11-2010

The court affirmed a summary judgment finding that a trail easement to the City that forbids public trail access “until such time as” a community cabin is built on land of the grantor outside the easement area neither gives the City the right to build the cabin nor implies an obligation [...]

Gray v. The Key Ranch At The Polo Club Home Owners Association

J. Kelly Gray; Rooster Springs, LP; and Rooster Springs Stable, LP, Appellants, v. The Key Ranch At The Polo Club Home Owners Association, Inc., Appellee.
No. 03-09-00145-CV.
Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin.
Filed: January 12, 2010.

The Key Ranch subdivision is a gated residential community. The appeals court upheld the trial court decision finding for the appellee [...]

Mark Bloome v. Jackson L. Haverly

Court Of Appeals Of Washington, Division 1, Docket Number: 62974-3, January 11, 2010

Regarding a private restrictive covenant, evidence of a party’s unilateral or subjective intent as to the meaning of a covenant word or term is inadmissible. One of the parties submitted a declaration concerning the parties’ personal beliefs as to the scope and meaning of [...]