Conservation easement preserves 88 acres in Marion, Johnson counties

March 7, 2016

Conservation easement preserves 88 acres in Marion, Johnson counties

Greenspace, wooded bluffs to retain character in perpetuity

Eighty-eight acres of green and wooded land in Marion and Johnson counties have been protected from development forever thanks to a conservation easement signed by the property’s owner and the Central Indiana Land Trust this week.

The property, which is located near the corner of Baker and Maze roads, is a working horse farm called Hide A Way. It has rolling fields, a high-quality stream and wooded bluffs featuring ancient oak trees. The terms of the conservation easement allow the property to stay in private ownership but retain its current character, even if sold. The Central Indiana Land Trust will monitor the property to ensure that the terms of the agreement are honored.

Because the property will remain in private ownership, it will not be open to the public. However, the public will benefit in other ways, said Central Indiana Land Trust Executive Director Cliff Chapman.

“By setting aside this property forever, we not only retain a slice of what defines Central Indiana’s landscape, but we also protect wildlife habitat, help to preserve water quality and keep the land in its traditional use,” Chapman said. “Everyone benefits from this as it will remain an open, beautiful area.”

Conservation easements are legal agreements between landowners and land trusts that place specific land-use restrictions on a property according to the landowner’s desires. Those restrictions are attached to the title of the property, so they remain in place even if the property is sold to new owners. This means landowners can derive financial benefits from the property – enjoying it themselves, continuing to use it as a working property or even selling it – so long as they use the property in ways consistent with the conditions of the conservation easement.

Conservation easements also deliver certain tax benefits to landowners, which Congress recently acted on.  In a bill passed in December, 2015, increased tax incentives for donating conservation easements were made permanent.

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Media contact: Jen Thomas, JTPR, jen@jtprinc.com, 317-441-2487