Friday, January 21, 2011

State Sen. Roberts aims for fair market value for conservation easement

The value of condemned land should be based on its fair market value even if the land is being preserved for conservation, says a bill introduced today in the Senate.

Offered by Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, Senate Bill 50 seeks to clarify in law that when property is condemned for public use, and a conservation easement exists on the property, the property owner receives market value on the whole property as if no easement existed. Roberts says she believes the clarification is necessary to avoid litigation over how property with an easement is valued.

“I believe in the conservation easement process. It’s been a strong public-private partnership to protect open spaces, but when property is condemned, the entity acquiring the property is not sure how to value it,” said Roberts. “It also is a good way for families to preserve their property for agricultural use.”

The conservation easement program provides tax breaks to farmers, ranchers and other rural property owners to prevent future development of their land while letting them retain ownership and use of the property. When a property is condemned for public use, such as running power lines through it, the owner must by law be compensated with the fair market value.

However the law is not clear how condemned parcels should be appraised when the property is subject to a conservation easement. In general, the easements can reduce market value because of the limitations on future land use. More

Via - Colorado News Agency

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