What is a conservation easement?

The purpose of conservation easements include protecting natural, scenic, and open-space property; assuring availability of land for agricultural, forest, recreational, and open-space use; maintaining or enhancing air/water quality; and preserving historical, architectural, archeological, or cultural aspects of the property.

A conservation easement is characterized as a flexible means of permanently protecting land. It is a voluntary, binding legal agreement between a property owner and an easement holder. Lands can be bought and sold while in conservation easement, and the restrictions agreed upon are transferred along with ownership as well. The restrictions specified in a conservation easement are variable and can be negotiated between a property owner and the easement holder. Generally speaking, restrictions include, but are not limited to, future development of any kind, subdivision, mining, utilities, significant landscape changes, etc. The easement holder is considered responsible for ensuring the property owner is complying to all agreed upon restrictions. The Georgia Land Conservation Center serves to assist land owners in selecting the right organization to partner with for a conservation easement.

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1. Who decides on what should be acquired as greenspace or greenways?
2. Is Columbia County considering interconnectivity of bike and pedestrian facilities while planning greenways and trails?
3. If my land is reclassified as permanently protected greenspace through a conservation easement, does this mean that I have to permit public access?
4. What are the benefits and downside of a conservation easement to the landowner?
5. What is a conservation easement?
6. What are greenways?
7. What is greenspace?