“There has been some suggestion that there might be interest at the State legislative level in establishing a compensation fund to offset costs incurred related to placing Conservation Easements on property from 2007 through 2014 and/or costs related to defending disallowed tax credits.
The State is aware that if individuals harmed by the conservation easement/tax credit do eventually get into court the exposure could be significant. The members of the state legislature are becoming aware of the seriousness of the situation due to the bills being submitted for consideration. Legislators are aware that the harm we have experienced is real and sizable and needs attention.
It may be beneficial for the State to resolve losses/harm settle with individuals who voluntarily avail themselves to such a program. This would allow the State to work within knowable financial parameters and allow individuals to resolve and move beyond their conservation easement nightmares, foregoing future suits and claims.
The concept of the compensation fund starts with it being 100% voluntary. It would give folks the option of regaining some of your costs and moving on with your life or staying in for the long fight in the courts. The fund is not intended to allow a person to seek 100% of what they believe the property is worth based on the easement, but rather, to seek compensation for easement costs (appraisals, etc.) and legal fees associated with defending your anticipated tax credits if you received 25% or less of the tax credit value. We must move on these immediately and urgently as the legislative session closes very soon. We risk losing momentum on this opportunity if we do not act within just a few days.
The LUAF believes it would be helpful to have general itemizations of appraisal costs and legal fees for donated easements, as the expenses incurred when your tax credits were rejected and the percentage of returned tax credits. In the event this idea develops we need an accurate figure to use for funding discussions. If you could list all of your expenses as accurately as you can on a simple expense sheet (see attachedment) it will give us facts and figures rather than just stories. Please return this information to LUAF as soon as possible.
Landowners United Advocacy Foundation, Inc.
15465 County Lane 1
Olney Springs, CO 81062