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Land Trust and Coholders Determined to Uphold Conservation Permanence

The Redding Land Trust (CT) and its co-holders, the Redding Planning Commission and the Redding Conservation Commission, are pursuing enforcement of some 16 year old scenic easement violations. The Planning Commission obtained an opinion of counsel that despite the age of the violations, the violations still exist, must be corrected and have not been waived by the easement holders and are not voided by any statute of limitations.

MaryAnne Guitar, President of the land trust, said that miscommunication among the coholders delayed identifying the violations. She credits accreditation with helping the land trust improve its practices.

The Redding Land Trust is now conducting annual visits for all of its conservation easements including the co-held easements. It has also clarified with its co-holders who is the primary steward responsible for visits, recordkeeping and enforcement for all co held easements.

MaryAnne also notes that the conservation easement required the private landowner to obtain all of the coholders’ approval prior to installing the pillars and stone work, which the landowner did not do. The attorney who researched the issue, who is from a prominent and well respected law firm, said that the passage of time does not diminish this failure by the landowner nor relieve the landowner of the responsibility to correct the problem. The Planning Commission and the land trust have both corresponded with the landowner and are working to remove the structures blocking the scenic views for the public.

The land trust community will be watching developments in this case. Everyone hopes that the landowner will voluntarily remove the prohibited structures.

Read an article, Ball is in trust's court over easement violations, from the Redding Pilot.
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Christian Freitag, attorney-at-law and executive director at Sycamore Land Trust (IN), says "I view Conservation Defense Insurance as another step the land trust community is taking to keep our promises. We claim that we will help people protect their land in perpetuity. With this program, the public can be more confident than ever that we take that commitment seriously."

 

Greg Gamble, executive director at Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (CA), says that "this is one of the most helpful things that the Land Trust Alliance could attempt for its members, and I have greatly appreciated the professional, thoughtful, fair and inclusive process that you have led."

 

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