EC's (Equitable Consumption tax) would take away a big tool Eco-activists/feds use (Those damnable conservation easements/land trusts.)  to get our land and water.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jack Venrick
To: Roni Sylvester
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2009 3:22 PM
Subject: Re: Re: [LT] Challenges to Tax Assessments on Eased Land

Roni -
Yes it is.  I believe Clark County is in the middle of the state.  I added Land Trust to my email and Excel list.  Thanks.
And I will post story to my site.
----- Original Message -----
From: Roni Sylvester
To: Jack Venrick ; RonEwart
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 10:39 AM
Subject: Fw: Re: [LT] Challenges to Tax Assessments on Eased Land

Jack and Ron - isn't this your neck of the woods?

--- On Wed, 8/19/09, Audrey Martin <Landfund@AOL.COM> wrote:

From: Audrey Martin <Landfund@AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: [LT] Challenges to Tax Assessments on Eased Land
Date: Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 10:27 AM

In a protest to our appraisal district earlier this year, what worked was exactly what you said.  I pointed out  how "fair market value" was defined and then showed all the severe deed restrictions imposed by the Conservation Easement.  How can a property so encumbered be valued so high?   With a copy of the easement's prohibited uses:  no subdivision, no construction, no development, etc. , and the "before" and "after" appraisal" it was easy for the appraiser to see the point and reduce the value.  I could find no authority for conservation easements per se having a reduced value. 
Audrey Martin
McAllen, Texas
In a message dated 8/18/2009 5:05:25 PM Central Daylight Time, olmsted@LANDPROTECT.COM writes:

Dear Land Trusters, Landowners and Legal Counsel,

I have recently been retained by a Washington state landowner to appeal a property tax valuation and assessment on land under a conservation easement in Clark County, Washington.  In a nutshell, our legal argument will be that the assessed valuation is too high in that it is based on the fair market value of the property without a conservation easement.  In support of this argument, we will submit as evidence the “before and after” appraisals on the property.  These “before and after” appraisals were sufficient to support federal income tax deductions for a donated conservation easement on the property.

Our burning question, and presumably one in which many of you will have an interest, is whether anyone on the listserve is aware of any similar challenges, nationwide, to a county or city tax assessment based on the argument that the assessment is unfair or invalid because it is based on an overly high valuation which fails to take into account a conservation easement on the property?

As a corollary question, is anyone on the listserve aware of any court decisions, law review articles or other documents relating to this issue?

Many thanks in advance for your help!  If anyone else is interested in this issue, please let me know, and I will be happy to keep the listserve apprised of our progress in this legal challenge.




Jim Olmsted



James L. Olmsted, Esq.*
Conservation & Preservation Counsel, L.L.C. 
214 Trailside Loop
Eugene, OR 97405
Tel.: 541.554.3665
Fax: 541.345.8298

Cell: 541.870.0601

*Admitted to practice law in:

California (active), Nevada (active),

Oregon (active) and Washington (active).


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