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HISTORIC Preservation Easements Michigan Historic Preservation Network May 29,2008.

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Presentation on theme: "HISTORIC Preservation Easements Michigan Historic Preservation Network May 29,2008."— Presentation transcript:


2 HISTORIC Preservation Easements Michigan Historic Preservation Network May 29,2008

3 An easement program enables a tax-exempt, charitable organization or public agency to protect buildings or land against potential adverse development or changes by acquiring partial interests in such properties. From: Establishing an Easement Program To Protect Historic, Scenic, and Natural Resources Preservation Information, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1995. What is an easement program ?

4 An easement: Is a legal instrument or contract between a property owner and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network whereby the owner grants a portion of, or interest in, her property rights to MHPN. Establishes perpetual protection for the property by preventing inappropriate changes from being made to the historical significance of the structure and its setting. Peter Dougherty House Old Mission Peninsula

5 An easement: Provides assurance to the owner of a historic or cultural property that the propertys value will be preserved through subsequent ownership. Becomes part of the propertys chain of title and runs with the land. Preserves the property for future generations Book Cadillac, Detroit

6 TRUE OR FALSE ? 1. Because a structure is historic it is automatically protected from destruction. 2. If a building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places an owner cannot demolish it. FALSE ! 3. An easement is a legal document that insures the preservation of a historic property in perpetuity and is important for saving our historic structures. TRUE !

7 How Can Easements Benefit Property Owners ? Having a preservation easement may entitle a property owner to various financial incentives. When owners donate an easement to the Michigan Historic Preservation Network they may claim the charitable deduction on their Federal Income tax. Benefits may also include reduced estate, gift, and local property taxes.

8 So how does this affect owners rights ? An easement gives MHPN the legal authority and responsibility to enforce the terms of the easement. This includes the right to annually inspect the property to insure that the owner is complying with the terms of the contract. The owner retains all the usual property rights, except for the right to destroy the property. Alterations, improvements, and even additions to the structure are allowed, as long as the historic character is not compromised in any way, shape, or form and they are reviewed and approved by MHPN.

9 What properties qualify for tax deductions ? Properties eligible for easement donation include agricultural, industrial, commercial or residential structures, and historically important acreage. In addition, properties must meet one of the following requirements: Located in a historic district and certified as being historically significant to the district Listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places Washington Street, Ann Arbor

10 What does a Preservation Easement Cover ? The interior of the building is not usually included in the scope of the easement; however, structural elements are indirectly covered. The easement prohibits alterations to the surrounding grounds that would mar the exterior appearance of the building, for example: rubbish, heaps and ash dumps. A building, a bridge, ship, dam or any other structure.

11 PUBLIC ACCESS OF PROPERTY May be as little as a few hours a year for a sensitive archaeological site or a traditional cultural place with religious significance. May include visual access from a public roadway for a historic building and grounds that are subject to a facade easement. May include allowing the public to tour the inside of a historic home subject to an interior easement two days per year.

12 How does it work ? MHPN does not own the property Property stays in the hands of the donor of the easement and on the local tax rolls, still subject to local land use laws Easement program falls between full ownership and governmental land use controls like zoning Property is protected in perpetuity by the easement and is not subject to the vagaries of political power Donors may qualify for federal income, local property, and estate tax savings Easements legally establish the owners wishes about the future treatment of the property and can be individually designed within limits to meet the owners needs.

13 MHPN EASEMENT PROGRAM MHPN is a charitable organization that is qualified to accept easement donations. Hold residential and commercial easements. Fees: application ($100), baseline study ($2000), monitoring/legal fund donation (varies), and recording/legal fees (varies). Application, agreement, baseline, yearly monitoring.

14 Getting an Easement Started The Michigan Historic Preservation Network is a private, non-profit preservation organization who advocates for Michigans historic places because they contribute to our economic vitality, sense of place, and connection to the past. Nancy Finegood, Executive Director 107 E. Grand River Lansing, Michigan 48906 (517) 371-8080 For more information on the Michigan Historic Preservation Easement Program please contact:

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