© Bruce McNitt/Panoramic Images (Virginia)

Virginia Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund

Administering Agency

Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF)


To provide monetary assistance to landowners related to the costs associated with the conveyance of an open-space or conservation easement.

Who Can Participate

Private Landowners.

How it Works

Conservation easements preserve farmland, forestland, and natural and recreational areas by restricting intensive uses, such as development and mining, which would alter the conservation values of the land. Each easement is tailored to reflect the conservation values of the property and is recorded in the local courthouse as a permanent part of the property records. Easements do not grant public access to a landowner's property. Costs that the fund may reimburse include legal costs, appraisal and other costs, and all or part of the easement's value. Priority may be given to applicants who seek cost re-reimbursement only, demonstrate financial need, or cover a family-owned or -operated farm. The VOF's staff and Board of Trustees evaluate each potential easement for its scenic, scientific, natural, historic, recreational or open-space value using the VOF's Guidelines. VOF Guidelines recommend an overall density of principal residences of one house per 100 acres or less, and that parcels of less than 100 acres permit no subdivision.

VOF treats an easement donation that includes cash assistance to the landowner from the Fund as a “bargain sale” transaction. Accordingly, VOF will report PTF payments made to landowners. In addition, the receipt of a payment in partial exchange for an easement will reduce the value of the related gift by the amount of the payment and concomitantly the tax credit available to the landowner. Both the income from the sale of tax credits and PTF assistance funds may be subject to taxation.

VOF will report the transaction in the year that the easement donation is recorded, regardless of when the payment is made. Payment to the landowner can only be made after recording an easement and submission of eligible expenses to VOF. It may be advantageous for the landowner to coordinate the recordation of the easement with receipt of the PTF payment and payment of eligible expenses.

How to Get More Information

Contact Brett Glymph

(540) 347-7727

Visit the Virginia Outdoors Foundation webpage on the Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund

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