Options for Conserving Land

Below is brief information about how you can protect your land. Below the list are contacts for more information.

Chapter 61, Chapter 61A and Chapter 61B
These programs give tax reductions to landowners who agree to maintain their land in forestry, agricultural/horticultural or recreational uses, respectively. A management plan is required for the land.

Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR)
An APR offers long-term protection for farming parcels over five acres in size. With a state grant, the town can purchase development rights from a landowner to ensure that the land will stay tin agriculture. Development is limited to agricultural purposes; farm residences are usually exempt.

Conservation Restriction (CR)
A CR is a legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization or government agency. You retain legal ownership of your land but yield certain development rights. You negotiate the terms of the restriction. The CR is conveyed with the land to heirs and future buyers; thus, it ensures permanent protection. You often realize a reduction in property taxes and may also claim a charitable tax deduction.

Donation
Donating land for conservation or recreation leaves a lasting legacy of your generosity. You often gain an immediate charitable tax deduction and no longer have to manage your land. You can donate land during your lifetime and continue to live on it (a remainder interest) or donate it in your will (a bequest). Through a charitable gift annuity, you transfer property to a charity which makes regular payments to you for life. This is a good option of reducing capital gains tax on land that is assessed at a high value.

Sale
Through a sale to land trust at or below fair market value, you can gain immediate income from your land. A bargain sale allows you to claim a charitable tax deduction.

More Information
Royalston Open Space Committee, openspace@royalston-ma.gov
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, 978-248-2043
North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership, 978-248-2118
New England Forestry Foundation, 978-952-6856
Massachusetts Audubon Society, 781-259-9500
The Trustees of Reservations, 978-921-1944