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Preserving open space in Killingly

The role of land-use commissions in Killingly
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Conservation in Killingly

Preserving open space in Killingly

Open space is a rapidly disappearing commodity in Killingly. Houses and subdivisions are being built at a rate that hasn't been seen since the late 1980s, and the rural character of the town is changing. The growth rate is part of a cycle that is tied to the economy, and the increase in pressure for development is expected to continue for some time. Today people are willing to commute from Killingly to large centers of employment like Providence, Worcester, Hartford, and even Boston. They enjoy the slower pace of life in Killingly, and their time at home is a chance to escape the rat race of the workplace.

One of the roles of the Conservation Commission is to retain as much open space as possible before it is lost. If you are a property owner in town, this page will give you information about steps you can take to protect your property for future generations. Almost 80% of Northeast Connecticut's forestland, and virtually all of its actively farmed land, belongs to private individuals and families. More than any other group, they will decide what the region's landscape and environment will become in the years ahead.

It is strongly recommended that property owners consult with an attorney and/or tax consultant to determine the most appropriate tool for each situation.

 

Open space and farmland preservation strategies

Outright Conveyance

Land may be transferred to the town, a local land trust, or nature conservancy through a donation, “Bargain Sale”, or sale at fair market value. Restrictions may be imposed on the future use of the property, according to the donor’s wishes.

Transfer in Trust

Property, or a lesser interest therein, may be donated to a nonprofit organization such as a local, state, or national land conservation or historic trust, for the purpose of carrying out personal wishes with respect to the property’s preservation and use. This is an effective method of assuring the perpetuation of the donor’s intentions where restricted use is a primary concern.

Reservation of Life Estate (Remainder Interest)

In making a gift of land, and a personal residence if located on the property, a life estate may be reserved which permits use of the property (farm and/or residence) for the remainder of the donor’s life or, if so stipulated, for the lives of the spouse and children.

Conservation Easement (Conservation Restriction)

A conservation easement is a legal agreement that a property owner makes to restrict the type and amount of development that may take place on a property to preserve natural/historic resources. Each easement’s restrictions are tailored to the particular property and the interests of the individual owner. An easement “runs with the land”, which means that the original owner and all subsequent owners are bound by the restrictions of the easement.

Testamentary Gift (Devise)

A gift of land by means of a will, may include one or more of the alternatives previously discussed, including a conservation easement and reservation of life estates.

Endowment

The gift of land may be accompanied by an endowment fund for the purpose of supporting the conservation effort in perpetuity.

There are many other ways to support land conservation efforts including the following:

  • Granting a “right of first refusal” to a land trust.

  • Lease of land to a land trust or to an agricultural interest so that it may be maintained in productivity.

  • Exchanging mutual covenants with neighboring land owners to preserve significant features or views.

  • Entering into a management agreement with a land trust or government agency to manage wildlife habitat.

  • Creation of charitable annuities and charitable remainder trusts allowing an owner to transfer land to a conservation organization while realizing income and/or tax benefits.

  • Purchase of development rights by the State to create a conservation easement on agricultural land.

Land Trusts

Land trusts work hard to save open space for future generations by accepting and purchasing land and entering into conservation easements with landowners. The two land trusts with properties in Killingly are:

  • The Wolf Den Land Trust
    P.O Box 404
    Brooklyn, CT 06234-0404.
    (860) 974-1991

  • Wyndham Land Trust
    189 Pomfret Street
    Pomfret, CT 06258
    (860) 928-4948

More information

  • The Green Valley Institute has a very informative web site with extensive information about estate planning for landowners:

    Protecting Land for Future Generations

  • The mission of the Connecticut Farmland Trust is to permanently protect Connecticut's working farmland:

    Connecticut Farmland Trust

  • The Connecticut Farmlink program connects farmers who want to keep their land in production with people who want to start farming:

    Farmlink Program