234 Acres Saved!
MARYLAND - In late December, the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) recorded the donation of a 234-acre conservation easement in Charles County from Mr. Michael J. Sullivan and his wife, Laura. This is the third conservation easement donated by the Sullivans to MET; in December 2000, the couple donated their first easement on 119 acres and in December 2002, they donated their second easement on 91 acres.
With this gift the Sullivans and MET have permanently protected 444 contiguous acres of the historic Mt. Victoria Farm located southeast of Newburg in southern Charles County. The farm is adjacent to 230 acres protected by an easement through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program, creating an expanse of permanently protected land.
“We consider the protection of the farm essential to the overall care of the property, which is why we plan to put the entire 1,700 acres under easement over time,” said Mr. Sullivan, the C.E.O. of Cherrywood Development, Inc. “We also get great satisfaction by making improvements such as restoring outbuildings, the manor house and creating wildlife habitat. It is also important to us to make the property available for community functions so that it can be enjoyed by many.”
This latest donation by the Sullivans makes up the front agricultural fields of the Mt. Victoria Farm which, together with the adjoining Mt. Tirzah property, total nearly 1,700 acres. The Sullivans have owned the farm since 1995 and has worked tirelessly to care for the large property, its outbuildings and the large historic house.
The circa 1905 house, called Mt. Victoria, qualifies for the National Register of Historic Places and replaces a house of much earlier origin which was burned down. The home’s size, slate roof, wraparound porch and arched windows distinguish its most significant architectural characteristics (see photo), and was once part of a 15,000-acre estate. Today the house still sits in a rural landscape, with magnificent views of the countryside and Potomac and Wicomico Rivers, views that may be unrivaled in Southern Maryland.
“We have enjoyed assisting the Sullivans with their conservation efforts and are honored that they plan to preserve the entire property through our program,” said MET Director Nick Williams. “They are very conscientious landowners and we are grateful for their contribution to land conservation in Charles County.”
Charles County landowners have now protected over 5,000 acres of land through the donation of conservation easements. Donated conservation easements allow landowners to protect their properties in perpetuity without giving up ownership of the land. Gifts of conservation easements are charitable donations and their appraised value is tax deductible. In addition, a new Maryland state income tax credit is available to landowners who donate conservation easements to MET. The credit is a maximum of $5,000 a year per individual for up to 16 years.