Bushkill Township has an Open Space Program for the preservation of farmland and natural areas throughout the Township. Basic options for land preservation are presented below in "A Property Owner's Guide to Land Conservation."
Specific information regarding the Bushkill Township Open Space Program may be downloaded from the following links:
A Property Owner's Guide to Land Conservation
While Pennsylvania is blessed with truly remarkable scenic, cultural and natural resources, the pressure of development is increasingly changing the face of our landscape. Rather than selling for development, a landowner has many other options available that allow them to get value out of their property while assuring that the land will remain as farmland or natural area.
Below are many conservation-related techniques that can be tailored to meet a landowner's unique needs. By making use of any of these techniques, a landowner can have pride in honoring our region's heritage, as well as establish a legacy of conservation for their family and community.
Conservation Easement Purchase or Donation
The Conservation Easement is great way for you to permanently preserve your land and still retain ownership. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Public access to your property is not a requirement, although may be offered to varying degrees. Conservation easements may be established for a property through purchase (by land trust or government agency) or donation, both of which have certain advantages for the landowner.
Details on both methods are described below:
Purchase of Conservation Easement
Donation of Conservation Easement
Additional conservation-related techniques that can be tailored to meet a landowner's unique needs include:
Fee Simple Sale
Funding is also available to purchase parcels in their entirety that meet open space criteria. You receive cash for the sale of the land, and know that there will be public enjoyment of the land.
If you agree to sell your land or just its development rights at less than the appraised value, you could qualify for a charitable tax deduction. This helps the public or nonprofit conservation buyer to spread its limited resources further while at the same time helping you to offset any capital gains on the sale of your property or its rights. You still receive cash for the sale, but you also can benefit from a tax-reducing charitable donation.
As a step further, you may want to consider preserving your land through an outright donation to a municipality or conservation organization. A donation is a simple transaction that provides a substantial charitable tax deduction. In addition, it is another helpful estate planning tool, by removing the land from your portfolio.
A like-kind exchange is a tax-free transaction that allows you to exchange funds from the sale of your property for another qualified property. To benefit from the tax deferral, you need to adhere to the provisions of Internal Revenue Code 1031. The exchange is fulfilled through investing the proceeds from a sale of your land or its development rights into a qualified business or investment property. This tool allows you to benefit by deferring capital gains from the original sale.
Conservation-based development is the thoughtful, reduced density subdivision that respects your property's natural and cultural features. A successful conservation-based development uses good conservation design while meeting your financial goals. By voluntarily reducing your property’s development potential, you could qualify for a charitable tax deduction, expedite a municipality’s subdivision approval process and reduce subdivision infrastructure costs.
Blending the Tools
The above-referenced tools can also be blended together to help you achieve the greatest benefits possible!
Considering these conservation tools can create a win-win situation on all levels. You can meet your financial goals, while helping to conserve our region's heritage today and for future generations to come.
If you are interested in learning more about these options please notify the Bushkill Township municipal office at (610)759-1250 or attend a regularly scheduled meeting of the Bushkill Township Environmental Advisory Council held on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Township Building.