Otero County: Conservation easement battle on the horizon

A picture named purgatoireriver.jpg

Here’s a detailed article on efforts to provide relief to landowners whose conservation easements have been devalued by the state during their investigation into the shenanigans around valuations, from Lola Shrimplin writing for the La Junta Tribune Democrat. From the article:

Otero County Commissioners agreed to set up a meeting with Landowners United and Fred Grant, a retired attorney from Texas, to discuss the possibility of the commission passing a resolution of coordination between government entities. J.D. Wright, a landowner north of Boone and Vernon Dillon, members of Landowners United, asked the commission to meet with Grant, who is retired, but is working as a property rights attorney and wants to help landowners in Colorado in their fight over conservation easements. Grant wants to meet with the commissioners while he is in Colorado to discuss the possibility of a lawsuit against the State of Colorado over the valuation of conservation easements placed on lands in Southeast Colorado.

The conservation easements tied up the lands in perpetuity and placed deed restrictions on them that can’t be removed. Many landowners applied for conservation easements because they needed the money, then the appraisers’ valuations were declared at no value. The landowners have had trouble selling tax credits from the easements or the easements were condemned at no value. The program is to permanently protect land from future development by allowing landowners to claim state income tax credits that can be sold for cash. Over 90 percent of the landowners have not sold those tax credits, Wright said.

Leave a Reply