What is the difference between a Conservation Easement, Conservation Open Space, and Current Use?

A Conservation Easement creates a legally enforceable land preservation agreement between a landowner and the other party (in this case, the City of Laconia). It restricts real estate development, commercial and industrial uses, and other activities on the property to a mutually agreed upon level. The landowner continues to privately own and manage the land and the easement owner monitors future uses of the land for easement compliance. The easement continues to run with the land despite any changes in ownership.

Conservation Open Space refers to an allowable amenity under 235-40 B “Cluster Development”. 235-40 B(6)(f)(2)(c) states “designation of conservation open space is required for significant or unique environmentally sensitive areas, including but not limited to wetlands, wildlife habitat, endangered flora/fauna, stream beds and water bodies, significant stands of trees, scenic vistas, archeological sites and graveyards. Land area within conservation open space shall permanently remain in its natural state except for maintenance and access to archeological sites and graveyards.”

The following are permitted uses, per 235-40 B(4)(b)[3]:

[a] Recreational vehicle access crossings.

[b] Pedestrian trail systems.

[c] Buffer area: perimeter, wetlands waterbody, shoreline.

 The Current Use program was enacted in 1973 and designed to preserve open space by assessing land at its actual current use and not at its highest and best use. Land is valued as farm, forested, or unproductive land rather than as building lots. It incentivizes property owners to conserve their undeveloped land (typically at least 10 acres in size) by receiving a tax break. For more information, please contact the Assessing office. 

Show All Answers

1. Does my project proposal need to go before the Conservation Commission?
2. Do I need a local permit to cut trees?
3. What is the difference between pervious and impervious surfaces?
4. What is green space and how do I calculate the square footage of green space on my property?
5. What is the difference between a Conservation Easement, Conservation Open Space, and Current Use?