Loudoun County will begin accepting a second round of applications for the Conservation Easement Assistance Program on Sept. 1.
A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. The grant program is designed to help protect historic, cultural and environmental resources by providing financial assistance to qualified Loudoun County landowners to place their land under conservation easement.
The program helps with the upfront costs of placing land under conservation easement, including the costs of stewardship, attorney’s services, land appraisal and survey fees, and processing and document fees. Funding for half of these costs or $15,000, whichever is less, is available to land trusts working with landowners who qualify.
Landowners interested in the possibility of 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.
To qualify, landowners must have a household income at or below the region’s Area Median Income, currently $121,300. The land in question must be located in Loudoun County and meet the following requirements; must be capable of being subdivided, with the exception of parcels in the Agricultural and Forestal District Program; and 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. Using the property as open space should meet the county comprehensive plan’s policies for the area.
Loudoun’s Conservation Easement Assistance Program, was launched earlier this year, established a fund of $150,000 for calendar year 2019 with two month-long application periods. The first was in March.