What is a Conservation Easement?
As Richland County continues to grow and become more developed, we are faced with a choice of how best to protect our treasured open spaces and still meet our timber, agricultural, recreational, and economic needs. Conservation easements preserve and protect our quality of life while maintaining the tradition of local control and private land ownership.
A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement between a landowner and a qualified land trust or public agency such as Richland County. It permanently restricts the type and amount of development on a property to protect conservation values significant to the public, i.e. farm and forest land, wildlife habitat, stream buffers, and scenic open space.
What is the process to pursue a Conservation Easement?
Property owners must complete a Statement of Interest form to notify the Commission of the owner’s interest in the Easement Program. Commission staff may conduct a site visit to evaluate the land’s conservation values. If both the landowner and the Commission agree to proceed, an appraisal to determine the value of the conservation easement is ordered and the conservation easement, a legal document, is drafted. When the landowner and the Commission are satisfied with the negotiations, the easement request is forwarded to County Council for approval. All negotiations are confidential and landowners may withdraw their property from the process at any time without penalty.
For more information, contact the Richland County Conservation Commission
2020 Hampton Street, Room 3063A, Columbia, SC 29204 ▪ 803.576.2083 ▪ firstname.lastname@example.org
Property Owner Statement of Interest Form
Conservation Easement Facts
Preserving Richland's Legacy Brochure