Landowner Options

There are many different ways in which you and the Black Creek Land Trust can work together to protect your land. Whether you want to maintain ownership, sell or donate your land for protection, explore all of your options for permanently protecting the scenic and conservation values of your property.

If you would like more information about your options as a landowner, or if you would like to arrange for the Black Creek Land Trust to do a site visit and discuss land protection options, please contact us.

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

What is a conservation easement?

A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement that allows a landowner to limit the type or amount of development on their property while still retaining private ownership of the land.

After the terms of the easement are agreed upon, the easement is signed by the landowner, who is the easement Grantor, and the Land Trust, who is the party receiving the easement, is the Grantee. The Land Trust accepts the easement with the understanding that it must enforce the terms of the easement in perpetuity. After the easement is signed, it is recorded with the County Clerk of Court and applies to all future owners of the land.

Why would a landowner want to grant a conservation easement?

People grant conservation easements because they want to protect their property from unwanted development, but they also wish to retain ownership of their land. By granting a conservation easement a landowner can be assured that the property will be protected forever, regardless of who owns the land in the future.

An additional benefit of granting a conservation easement is that the donation of an easement may provide the donor with a significant financial advantage. Many donors receive a federal income tax deduction for the gift of a conservation easement. The Internal Revenue Service allows a deduction if the easement is perpetual and donated “exclusively for conservation purposes.” The amount of the tax deduction is determined by the value of the conservation easement.

What activities are allowed on land protected by and easement?

The activities allowed by a conservation easement depend on the landowner’s wishes and the characteristics of the property. In some instances, no further development is allowed on the land. In other circumstances, some additional development is allowed, but the amount and type of development may be designed to cover all or only a portion of the property. Every easement is unique to a particular landowner’s goals and their land.

Can a landowner still sell or give the property away?

The landowner continues to own the property after executing an easement. Therefore, the owner can sell, give, or lease the property, as before. However, all future owners assume ownership of the property subject to the conditions of the easement.

Does the public have a right of access to easement protected property?

The public does not have access to the property protected by an easement, unless the original landowner who granted the easement specifically allowed it. Most easement donors do not want, and therefore do not allow, public access to their property.

LAND DONATIONS

Can I give my land to the Land Trust?

Absolutely. The Land Trust accepts gifts of land which are in the Black Creek watershed, have special ecological significance, recreational, and scenic value.

Leaving land to the Land Trust in your will allows you to retain full use and control of the land during your lifetime, yet ensures its care after you are gone. Because the gift must be formally accepted after your death, we urge you to share your plans with us in advance so that we may assure you that the gift meets our criteria for acceptance.

What will the Land Trust do with my land?

Land gifted to the Black Creek Land Trust will be used for one of two things:

If the land is within the Black Creek watershed, has special ecological significance, recreational and scenic value then the Land Trust will retain the land as a nature preserve for responsible public use and enjoyment. The Land Trust is happy to name the resulting nature preserve in your honor or in the memory of a loved one.

Land which does not meet the above criteria may be donated with the understanding that the Land Trust will sell the land and use the proceeds to purchase or protect other significant natural land.

What are the benefit of donating my property to the Black Creek Land Trust?

Regardless of whether your property was gifted and retained by the Land Trust as a preserve property or sold to protect other properties, you may claim an income tax deduction based on the fair market value of the land at the time of the gift.

In addition to the financial benefits of property donation, the is the invaluable benefit of preserving South Carolina’s natural heritage for generations to come.

Does the Land Trust currently own any gifted properties?

The Land Trust currently has two nature preserves; the Dargan Nature Preserve and the Mozingo Nature Preserve. Each of these preserve was gifted to the Black Creek Land Trust and each is currently open to the public for respectful enjoyment.

For more information about visiting these preserves please go to the Conservation Projects link on this site.


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