Eden proposes amendment to conservation easements - The Buffalo News

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Eden proposes amendment to conservation easements

A two-part proposed amendment to the Town of Eden’s 2001 Conservation Easement Law could lead to a reduction in assessed value for properties that have a conservation easement agreement with the town.

“The value of that land, which would be reduced, should be reflected in assessments,” said Eden Town Attorney William Trask during the Eden Town Board meeting Wednesday.

According to Trask, the amendments, which would be reflected in Chapter 95 of the Conservation Easement agreement, would be similar to what is currently followed under state law. The first part of the proposed amendment would include a reduction in valuation depending on the length of the agreement between the town and the property owner.

Trask said this would include a 50 percent reduction in valuation if the agreement is between 15 and 29 years; a 75 percent reduction if the agreement is 30 to 49 years; and an 85 percent reduction if the agreement is 50 years or more.

The attorney noted that the town has always tried to give some type of reduction to property owners under the law since it was adopted in 2001. This would tighten up the law and give specific figures as part of the guidelines, which are currently not in place.

The second part of the proposed amendment deals with penalties for those who break the agreement with the town, said Town Supervisor Glenn R. Nellis.

Because the idea of a conservation easement is for the property to remain as green space, if for example, a property owner were to build on space that falls under the agreement, the town would then have the right to recoup a portion of the tax benefits which the town granted.

As long as property owners do not violate the agreement, the real financial benefit would be found in tax savings, Nellis said.

Town Councilman Edward Krycia Jr. told the board these amendments are long overdue and have been a topic of conversation with the Conservation Advisory Board for several years.

“I’m really glad to see this is really moving forward,” Krycia said.

Before the board can formally vote on making the changes, a public hearing must be held. It was scheduled for 8 p.m. during the meeting Oct. 9.

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