Frequently Asked Questions

What is a conservation easement?
How does the Pennsbury Land Trust decide whether to accept an easement donation?
Why would I want to get a conservation easement?
What is the role of the Land Trust once the easement is donated?
Can an easement be flexible to my needs?
Must I allow public access to my property if I get an easement?
Are easements just for land?
Is the Pennsbury Land Trust a government agency?
I don't have any resources to protect. Why should I care about the Land Trust?

What is a conservation easement?

A conservation easement is a legal document in which a landowner agrees to permanently refrain from certain uses of the property in order to preserve the environmental integrity of the land. The easement can then be donated to a qualified organization, such as the Pennsbury Land Trust, in order to receive tax benefits. In exchange for giving up some rights to develop or alter the property, landowners may receive favorable income, gift, or estate tax benefits. Top

Learn More about Conservation Easements

How does the Pennsbury Land Trust decide whether to accept an easement donation?

The Trust uses ten criteria to evaluate prospective conservation easement donations. Each donation is evaluated on its own merits and donations need not fulfill all ten criteria. Top

Learn More about Conservation Criteria

Why would I want to get a conservation easement?

Easements help landowners preserve family lands and agricultural areas while assuring that the natural, historical, and scenic resources are preserved. Top

Learn More about Conservation Easements

What is the role of the Land Trust once the easement is donated?

The Trust monitors and enforces the restrictions outlined in the easement. The Trust can also advise landowners how to create or preserve natural woodlands and meadows, discourage invasive plants and animals, manage streams and ponds, prevent soil erosion, and protect the natural beauty of the property. Top

Can an easement be flexible to my needs?

The Trust helps landowners create plans for their properties that embody the value they place on the land and their goals for the future. A conservation easement may apply to the entire property or just a portion of the property. It may include low-impact, limited development, if appropriate. A building envelope for a home site (or future home site for future generations) can be built into the easement agreement as long as it does not disrupt the conservation values of the property. Hunting and sustainable forestry are often allowed within the terms of an easement agreement if this is what the landowner desires. Top

Must I allow public access to my property if I get an easement?

No. Public access is not required on land protected with a conservation easement. Top

Are easements just for land?

No. You can get an easement for a structure, if it has historical value. Top

Is the Pennsbury Land Trust a government agency?

No. It is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors that works with landowners who are interested in protecting their property for the future. The Trust often helps township officials in decisions regarding open space planning and acquisition, and assists the Township by ensuring preservation, conservation, and stewardship of natural areas and farmland. Top

I don't have any resources to protect. Why should I care about the Land Trust?

If you are concerned about suburban sprawl, declining water quality, flooding and land erosion, diminishing water supplies, vanishing farmland, loss of historic charm, declining wildlife habitat, and overdevelopment, you will care about the Land Trust. The Trust helps preserve the integrity of Pennsbury Township by giving landowners a way to protect and preserve their property in an environmentally and fiscally sound way. Top