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How To Protect Land

Conserving and protecting land is vitally important to Sharon residents who want to retain the unique character of our rural town. Three options exist for protection: a conservation easement, land donation and sale of land to the town or conservation organization. For more information on these options, please contact the Chair of the Conservation Commission.

Bargain Sale:

Not all landowners are willing or able to part with their land or donate an easement on it, but may be able to sell the land or an easement on it for less than fair market value. Federal income tax deductions may make this an attractive option.

Donation of Land:

A conservation-minded landowner may donate property to the town or to a nonprofit land conservation group. The land is removed from the donor’s taxable estate, and the gift may provide federal income tax deductions. Another option is to bequest the land; the gift is in the landowner’s will and takes effect after his or her death. The Wales Preserve is an example of land donated to The Nature Conservancy.

Conservation Easement:

A legally binding agreement by which a landowner restricts the future use of his or her property. The agreement is made between the owner(s) and a qualified conservation organization, which then assumes the responsibility for ensuring that the provisions of the agreement are honored. A conservation easement assures that property will be protected from undesired development, regardless of future ownership.

You can put an easement on just a portion of your land.

Any property valued for its agriculture, forestry, recreation, water resources, wildlife habitat, or scenic or historic qualities may be protected with a conservation easement.

The easement is recorded at the county Registry of Deeds so that all future purchasers or lenders will have notice of the restrictions when they obtain title reports.

The owner of property protected by a conservation easement may sell, give or transfer the property to a new owner at any time. Owners retain the right to use and manage the property for all purposes except those restricted by the easement.