Woolford v. Virginia Department of Taxation

Supreme Court of Virginia, Record No. 161095, November 22, 2017: Appraiser qualified due to experience with similar properties, even if experience is weak.

At issue was whether the appraiser of a Virginia conservation easement donation was a “qualified appraiser” under relevant Virginia and federal law.

The Woolfords donated a conservation easement to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The easement [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Schaecher v. Bouffault

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 [...]

SWF Real Estate LLC v. Commissioner

Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2015-63, April 2, 2015: Tax due on partnership’s easement tax credit allocation as disguised sale.

The prime issue in this case was how the IRS should treat a limited partnership transaction involving Virginia tax credits for the donation of a conservation easement, and the valuation for federal tax purposes of that donation. Also [...]

Flaum v. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

District Court, E.D. Virginia, No. 4:12cv111, November 21, 2012: Complaint of plaintiff in ADA historic property claim need not show remedy is readily achievable.

The historic preservation issue in this case is whether, at time of filing a claim in court under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) for removal of architectural barriers at a historically significant [...]

Historic Green Springs, Inc. v Louisa County Water Authority

U.S. District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division, No. 3:09-CV-00079, June 30, 2011: Memorandum opinion finds the land trust holder of a conservation easement has standing to sue under the federal Clean Water Act because the alleged injury to the property rights of the land trust “provide an irrefutable basis for standing,” and at the pleading stage [...]

Virginia Historic Tax Credit Fund 2001 LP v Commissioner of Internal Revenue

US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, Nos. 10-1333, 10-1334, 10-1336, March 29, 2011: Reverses the US Tax Court and holds that certain transactions between a partnership to market Virginia historic rehabilitation tax credits and its partners amounted to taxable sales for purposes of federal tax law.

The following are excerpts from the Miller & Chevalier Tax Appellate [...]

Historic Green Springs, Inc. v US Environmental Protection Agency

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, No. 3:09-cv-00075, September 29, 2010: This attempt by a conservation easement holder to defend the easement area from treated sewage discharge under a state-issued NPDES permit failed as the Court held that US EPA’s decision not to object to the permit did not require prior review under the National Historic [...]

Covel v Vienna

Supreme Court of Virginia, No. 091343, June 10, 2010: (1) Town historic district ordinances in Virginia adopted under the state enabling statute prior to 1997 may create historic districts without landmarks, buildings, or structures. (2) Because Virginia Code Ann. § 15.2-1427(C) bars all non-constitutional challenges to the adoption of municipal ordinances existing in 2000, the appellants [...]

Virginia Legislative Update

A web page titled, Conservation Easements Legislative Update 2010, By R. Lee Stephens, Jr. and Robert J. Allen, posted May 24, 2010, by the Virginia law firm Spotts Fain summarizes bills signed into law following the most recent Virginia General Assembly session. Obviously, I can’t comment on [...]

Federal Chesapeake Bay Strategies Issued

Six federal agencies led by the EPA issued the final strategy document, Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed [EPA‐903‐R‐10‐003] on May 12, 2010, following up an executive order mandating a federal strategy to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Among the outcomes sought by the strategy is “Protect an additional 2 million acres of [...]