Real estate developers can reduce costs, decrease construction time, improve marketability, and increase profitability with conservation development, an alternative to conventional development that places more value on natural land and open space as an amenity. Developments with expanded greenbelts, trailways, natural areas and parks are given expedited approvals in some jurisdictions and they can demand a premium sales price. Designing a successful conservation development requires not only a customized land plan, but also a specialized legal approach to managing shared community space. Users need an enforceable set of rules that minimize conflicts and prevent abuse. Braun & Gresham has the experience and know how to maximize the benefits of conservation development while avoiding common pitfalls.
A landowner who is strongly motivated to conserve their property may choose to sell their property to a conservation organization even if the group lacks the funding to pay full market value. Braun & Gresham can structure the bargain sale so the landowner receives tax benefits for the value that is donated.
When funds are not available from a single source to purchase conservation easements, a landowner can create a private mitigation bank. Operating under special permits, a bank is allowed to sell “credits” in a conservation easement that protects wetlands, endangered species or stream corridors. Credits are sold over many years to many different buyers who are required by law to pay for – mitigate” – environmental impacts. Banks can also be a partnership between a landowner and a “banker” that is in the business of marketing environmental credits. Braun & Gresham has set up successful banks for wetlands, streams and endangered species for both landowners and bankers.
Sale of Development Rights
Environmental features once thought of as liabilities can now be very valuable for landowners who do not want to sell or develop their land. Features like streams, wetlands, caves, sinkholes and endangered species habitat in the right locations can be preserved and managed under conservation easements that are sold for substantial payments. Braun & Gresham has a track record of identifying and selling these valuable features while helping families keep their land for recreation and agriculture.