Loudoun County is now accepting applications for the Conservation Easement Assistance Program on a year-round basis.
The grant program is designed to help protect historic, cultural and environmental resources by providing financial assistance to qualified land trusts representing Loudoun County landowners who want to place their land under conservation easement. A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values.
The program provides up to $15,000, or half of the upfront costs of placing land under conservation easement. These costs may include; stewardship, attorney’s services, land appraisal and survey fees, and processing and document fees. Funding will be provided to land trusts working with landowners who qualify.
Landowners interested in learning more about placing their land under a conservation easement should contact a land trust to begin the process. If the land trust agrees, the land trust will apply on behalf of the landowner.
Landowners must have a household income of 115% of the Area Median Income (currently $139,495) or lower. The land to be placed under conservation easement must be at least 50% located in Loudoun County and meet the following requirements:
- The property must be capable of being subdivided (with the exception of parcels in the Agricultural and Forestal District Program);
- The proposed use of the property as permanent open space should conform with the policies in Loudoun County’s Comprehensive Plan; and
- The property must not currently be under conservation easement or otherwise restricted from development, except parcels under the Land Use Assessment program or enrolled in the Agricultural and Forestal District program.
A total of $150,000 in funding will be available annually and distributed to qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.
If application requests exceed the available funding for the year, applicants will be encouraged to apply early in the following calendar year.
Landowners should consult a land trust to see if their land is eligible for a conservation easement. Since easements are generally granted in perpetuity, an outside party must be responsible for the monitoring and maintenance of the easement. If the land is eligible and the land trust agrees, the land trust will apply on the landowners’ behalf and will hold the easement for current and future property owners.
For more information about conservation easements in Loudoun County, visit loudoun.gov/conservationeasements or send an email.
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