The Department of Planning & Development
Conservation Easement Authority
Announcing the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program
We are proud to announce that the CEA is now accepting applications from landowners interested in donating a conservation easement, or in participating in the County's Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) state grant program. It is free to apply and CEA members or Frederick County Planning Department staff will be happy to help you with any questions you may have about the process.
For the PDR program, the first round of applications were accepted through August 25, 2008. These applications will are being scored by the CEA and one property will be selected as a priority. All properties are scored and prioritized using a point system developed using a state model.
In the second round, additional properties will be selected from the remaining applications as well as any additional applications received by December 31, 2008.
Applications for the donation of an easement will be accepted on a continual basis.
As always, CEA members welcome the opportunity to meet with landowners and members of the public to discuss land preservation and how conservation easements can benefit everyone. So please contact us if you have any questions!
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What is a Conservation Easement? »
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a government agency or non-profit conservation organization that places permanent limits on the future development of the property in order to protect the land.
While often donated by landowners, the County now has the opportunity through state grant funding, to purchase one or more conservation easements from local landowners.
Landowners who establish a conservation easement permanently protect their land while retaining ownership and enjoyment of the property. Landowners do not have to grant public access to conserved properties, and most conserved properties are actively used for farming or as forestland.
The public benefits through the protection of important natural and cultural resources, and local taxpayers never have to pay for public services, such as schools, roads, police, etc. that a new residential development would have demanded.
Why Establish an Easement? »
A conservation easement enables landowners to protect their land permanently, assuring them that their property will remain rural and undeveloped, and restricting it from conversion to large-scale subdivisions or industrial / commercial uses.
Landowners can still farm, and conduct forestry operations. They can even use their properties for uses such as vineyards and bed-and-breakfasts. Of course, landowners maintain ownership and enjoy their land as long as they desire.
Whenever the land is sold or passed to heirs, it remains protected by the permanent legal agreement.
What are the Tax Benefits? »
While conservation easements protect land for future generations, they also offer immediate tax benefits to the landowner. Through lower estate taxes for instance, a family that might otherwise be forced to sell their land would be able to pass their land down to the next generation.
In many cases, the donation of a qualified conservation easement in perpetuity qualifies as a non-cash charitable gift which may yield a substantial federal income tax deduction and a state tax credit.
In addition, any unused portion of the state tax credit may be sold to another Virginia taxpayer.
The value of the gift, determined by independent appraisal, is the difference in the market value of the land before and after donation of the easement.
Committee Members »
(EM) Email Diane
Term: 08/24/2011 - 08/24/2014
Elaine M. Cain,
Term 08/23/2012 - 08/24/2015
Gene E. Fisher
(EM) Email Gene
Term: 08/24/2011 - 08/24/2014
C. Robert Solenberger
Charles E. Triplett
Term: 08/24/2012 - 08/24/2015
Todd B. Lodge
Term: 08/24/2010 - 08/24/2013
Term: 9/26/2010 - 9/26/2013
Term: 03/23/2011 - 03/23/2014
Bryan J. Green
Term: 03/14/2012 - 03/14/2015
The Frederick County Conservation Easement Authority was established in 2005 to provide a means to assist County landowners in protecting and preserving farm and forest land, open space, scenic vistas, historic sites, water resources and environmentally sensitive lands. The primary method for accomplishing this mission is for the CEA to hold conservation easements.
Disclaimer: Not all easements may be represented on map below.
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