Sometimes you can get everything you want. A patch of woods in Medway has been a joy for Dave and Grace Hoag to own and walk on a regular basis, and they wanted to make sure it stayed undeveloped and available for quiet hikes in the future.
The Hoags utilized the Forest Stewardship Program to create a long-term management plan for the woods and enrolled in Ch. 61 to reduce their property tax burden. Dave decided to protect his land with the help of a local land trust. The Hoags first subdivided their land to carve out their house and surrounding lot, leaving 15.5 acres of fields, woods, and meadows in the midst of the quickly suburbanizing town. They then placed a conservation restriction (CR) on the land, extinguishing their right to develop the property in the future.
An appraisal documented the development value of the land and the reduced, conservation value, which provided the Hoags with a significant income tax reduction. They also worked with the land trust to transfer the land to the organization outright upon their death. Called a reserved life estate, this arrangement will keep the land in their ownership until they pass away, after which time it will be owned by the land trust and opened to the public. The Hoags’ children will inherit their house and were happy with their parents’ choice to donate the land that they loved so much.