Conservancy Board FAQ

1. What is the Annapolis Conservancy Board?

The Annapolis Conservancy Board is an organization established in June, 1988, by the Annapolis city council to seek donation of property to the City to further the goals of preserving open space, providing recreational opportunities, and improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

2. What is a conservation easement?

A conservation easement is a legal agreement to preserve land in its natural state or to enhance its environmental potential without transferring the land's ownership. The landowner still owns the land, but agrees not to develop it inconsistently with environmental preservation requirements. The specific terms of the easement can be tailored to fit the needs of both the landowner and the community. The Conservancy Board would manage the easement on behalf of the City in accordance with the terms agreed upon.

3. Why donate an easement?

Donating easements is a way to protect and preserve land, as much as possible, in its natural state. For people who have strong feelings in favor of preserving their land, an easement can assure them that their land never will face unwanted development, now or in the future.

4. Are their any tax benefits if you place their property into a conservation easement?

Yes! Easements donated for conservation purposes may be considered "charitable deductions." Tax benefits that may be derived from a conservation easement are: A 15-year real property tax credit on the unimproved land A reduction of federal estate taxes A reduction of federal income taxes for a period of up to 6 years

5. What kinds of land can be protected by a conservation easement?

Any land with definite conservation or recreation value may be protected by an Annapolis Conservancy easement.

6. What is the duration of an easement?

The landowner's donation of an easement may be given in perpetuity or may be limited in time.

7. Will an easement grant the public full access to my land?

Not necessarily. The easement may or may not include public access. It depends on whether the landowner agrees to allow public access when granting the easement.

8. If I donate an easement, do I still own the land?

Yes! You still own the land.

9. May I still live on the land if I donate the easement? May I make further improvements to the property?

Yes! You can still live on the land for which an easement has been donated. The easement can also allow for additions or modifications of existing structures, or for new accessory structures and others agreed upon improvements.

10. May land under a conservation easement be sold? Can it be inherited?

Yes! The land may be bought, sold, or inherited the same as all other land. However, the easement binds all present and future owners to its terms.

11. What activities would an easement encourage or prohibit?

Conservation easements in the City of Annapolis, generally, will encourage natural, scenic, and recreational uses of the land. Any prohibited activities would be specified in the easement agreement.

12. Would I be still be responsible for maintenance of my property if I donate an easement?

An easement may provide that the city would maintain the property. Or, it may provide that the owner will keep the responsibility for maintaining the property.

13. How much is an easement worth?

The monetary value of an easement varies. To determine easement value, your land will be appraised at fair market value with and without the easement. The difference is the value. This value may be used for tax deduction purposes.

14. Do other organizations besides the Annapolis Conservancy Board accept easements?

Yes. Various public and private organizations purchase or accept donations of easements. In Maryland, examples of such organizations include: the Severn River Land Trust and the Maryland Environmental Trust.

15. How will future owners of a property know that an easement exists?

The easement is executed in the form of a deed. The deed of easement is recorded in the land records of the county. A title search will reveal the existence of the easement. Also, the Annapolis Conservancy Board will monitor the easements each year to ensure that their terms are being observed.

16. How may I make arrangements to donate an easement?

Telephone (410)-263-7961 the Annapolis Department of planning & Zoning and leave a message for the Conservancy Board. A staff member will contact you so the Conservancy Board can evaluate your land for a possible easement donation. There are no formal applications to complete and the Board will help you at every step of the way during the process.