Linder Farm Easement
Formerly owned by hockey great, Mario Lemieux, ALT holds a conservation easement that effectively protects it as a farm, maintaining the rural character of the community. The land is privately owned and not open to the public.
What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement is a tool that a land trust uses to conserve land owned by someone else. An easement is a legal document that transfers certain rights to the easement holder, such as to a utility company to permit them to cross a property with a gas or power line.
In the case of a conservation easement, the landowner transfers rights to develop the land to a qualified easement holder, such as Allegheny Land Trust, which holds them in perpetuity.
Easements are growing in popularity as an effective and less expensive way to protect land. The benefits for the landowner include potentially reduced property taxes because they have reduced the value of the land they own by severing the development rights. If donated, the value of the development rights, which are embodied in the easement, is a deductible contribution. Most importantly, the owner knows the land will remain forever natural.
Allegheny Land Trust has conservation easements on three parcels totaling about 150 acres. In the case of Linder Farm, the land is occupied by a home, barn, stables, and fences and operates as a horse boarding business. The business can continue to operate and expand as necessary, but the farm cannot be converted into a housing plan.
Monitoring the land by visiting it at least annually is critical to ensure that the easement is being honored by the landowner. Since the easement runs with the land, future owners are more likely to need reminding about the fact that they cannot develop the land.