Conservation Easement Assistance Program
- A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a land owner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows land owners to continue to own and use their land, and they can also sell it or pass it on to heirs. The limits of the conservation easement ‘run with the land,’ meaning that even if the land is inherited or sold, the restrictions stay in place.
- The county launched a new Conservation Easement Assistance Program in 2019 that will help land owners with the upfront costs of placing land under conservation easement.
- Funding for half of these costs (maximum $15,000) will be provided to land trusts working with qualifying land owners in Loudoun County.
- Land owners interested in the possibility of placing their land under a conservation easement should contact a land trust Opens a New Window. to begin the process.If the land trust agrees, the land trust will apply on behalf of the land owner.
- Contact one of these land trusts for more information:
Program funding can cover:
- Attorney's fees
- Land appraisal and survey fees
- Processing and document fees
- Stewardship costs
- The online application process will be open twice each year, during the month of March and the month of September.
- A total of $150,000 in funding will be available annually and split between the two application periods.
- The application form Opens a New Window. and accompanying documentation will be accepted from land trusts March 1 - March 31, 2019, and September 1 - September 30, 2019.
Email for more information Opens a New Window. or call 703-771-5778.
Download the Conservation Easement Assistance Program flyer (PDF). Opens a New Window.
Land Owner Requirements
Land owners must:
- have a gross household income that does not exceed 100% Area Median Income (as of August 2019, $121,300).
- have property that meets the Land Requirements below.
- be working with an organization that meets the Land Trust Requirements (see below) and will submit the application on behalf of the land owner.
The property must:
- be located in Loudoun County ((if parcel is in multiple counties, more than 50 percent of the parcel must be in Loudoun County).
- be capable of being subdivided (except parcels in the Agricultural and Forestal District Program Opens a New Window. ).
- be proposed for use as permanent open space in compliance with the policies set forth in the Loudoun County Comprehensive Plan. Opens a New Window.
- have well-defined future land use and maintenance expectations, which are clearly understood by all involved parties.
The property must not:
- be under current conservation easement.
- be otherwise restricted from development (except parcels in the Agricultural and Forestal District Program Opens a New Window. or under the Land Use Assessment Program Opens a New Window. ).
Land Trust Requirements
Land owners must be working with a qualifying land trust to be eligible.
The land trust:
- must be the conservation easement “Holder” as defined by Virginia Code § 10.1-1009 et seq. Opens a New Window.
- may apply to the Conservation Easement Assistance Program on behalf of the land owners (individual land owners cannot submit applications).
- may be located anywhere (the land must be located in Loudoun County).
The application form for the second half of 2019 is available. Applications must be submitted between September 1 - September 30, 2019, by the land trust, not individual land owners.
- Completed application form. Opens a New Window. Opens a New Window.
- Opens a New Wi Opens a New Window. Agreement of conservation easement terms between land owner and land trust*
- Quotes for qualifying services: appraisal, attorney, processing and document fees, and stewardship*
- Proof of gross household income (PDF)* Opens a New Window.
*Submit copies through the application or by email. Opens a New Window.
The online application process will be open twice each year, during the month of March and the month of September.
A total of $150,000 in funding will be available annually and split between the two application periods.
If funds remain from the $75,000 allocated for March applications, it will be added to the available funds for September applications.
If application requests exceed the available funding during either application period, applications will be scored by the number of development rights being relinquished and the historic and cultural resources being preserved. Those with the highest scores will be awarded from available funds.
If selected, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be issued between the land trust and the county. Per the MOU, when the easement is finalized, the land trust will provide:
- Deed with proof of recordation
- Final invoices for services rendered
Upon receipt of this documentation, the county will award the funding to the land trust within 10 business days.