A conservation restriction (CR) is a voluntary, legally binding agreement that permanently protects a specific parcel(s) of land. A CR protects the conservation values of the land while allowing the landowner to retain ownership of the land. LLCT holds the CR, which means that we are responsible for making sure that the terms of the CR are upheld, even if the land is sold to a new owner. LLCT currently holds 88 CRs covering more than 560 acres.
Ownership and maintenance
CRs maintain private ownership. The landowner continues to live on and use the property, and the CR is unaffected, even if the property changes hands. The landowner is often better equipped to maintain and care for the land than a public or non-profit entity and can continue to do so as directed by the CR.
CRs are flexible and written to meet the landowner’s conservation goals. CRs can permit agriculture and other limited uses, as long as the conservation values of the land are preserved. Depending on the level of public access that the landowner agrees upon, some CRs allow hiking on designated trails. Although public access is not required of a CR, it is encouraged.
You select the location
The CR may cover part or all of a parcel, depending upon the conservation values being protected. Generally, existing buildings on the land are excluded from the restriction. If a CR does encompass a building, the CR often allows for reconstruction within the same building footprint.
CRs must preserve the land for one or more of the following purposes:
- recreation by and/or education for the general public;
- natural habitat for wildlife, fish and plants, or similar ecosystems;
- water quality and/or watershed protection;
- open space, including farmland and forest land for scenic enjoyment by the general public; and
- historically important land or structures.
LLCT is here to help
LLCT assists landowners with the CR application process, which requires approval from the Conservation Commission, Selectmen, and the State. This process helps ensure that the CR benefits the Town and the general public. Although there is no application fee, many landowners consult their own legal counsel before finalizing a CR.
A long-lasting relationship
LLCT is legally required to uphold the terms of the CRs. As part of its responsibilities, LLCT monitors each CR annually to ensure that the terms of the CR are being met and to address any questions that a landowner may have concerning the CR. LLCT is eager to maintain strong relationships with landowners and is always available as a resource.