Conservation Land Easements at Risk

One of the reasons we landowners, the majority being farmers, put our acreage into land trusts is because of the “perpetuity” clause.  Perpetuity  guarantees the land will be preserved, protected and maintained without subdivision, through the decades.  It will remain “whole,” in its entirety, as it passes through future owners’ hands.

My Mother, brother and I put our little, 77 acres farm into Three Valley Conservation Trust ( in 2003.  In my civil case (CV 2915 07 1709, Butler Cty, OH), the Judge ruled the “perpetual restriction on partition” to be void and unenforceable. In other words, he ruled the land could be subdivided, it could be “cut up”. This ruling goes against all conservation case law for land easements. The ripple effect of this ruling is staggering.  I am appealing this ruling and I anticipate substantial legal costs.  This court case is not about ownership rights, it is not about family disagreements, this case is about stewardship values established and promised by land trusts.

I am not sure when the Taylors took the leap of faith from “landowner” to “steward.”  It might well have started with that first photograph of us kids standing with Dad in the cornfield, overshadowed by a bumper crop of corn that stood two-feet higher than any adult.  In my five-year old kid’s eyes, it was magical. Or maybe it was when we wept, as grown adults, while reverently tearing down the 1800s, wooden barn.

Protecting, preserving and keeping a land tract “whole” (not divided), remain the promises of a land easement.  These are the basic building blocks of a land conservancy. I stand by the irrevocable land trust document, for perpetuity, that I signed.  Join me in my effort to appeal this ruling. Funds exceeding my goal will be donated to the Three Valley Conservation Trust.
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Jan Taylor
College Corner, OH

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