How Conservation Easements Work

A Conservations Easement (CE) means the landowner has agreed to have certain restrictions placed on the land, such as that it not be developed. The restrictions remain in place even if the land is sold to a new owner because the CE “runs with the land.” To enforce the restrictions, the landowner, or Grantor, grants a watchdog agency such as a land trust or government agency (the Grantee), the legal right to oversee the land. The Grantee’s role is to ensure that the uses and restrictions described in the CE are respected. To do this, the Grantee monitors the property on a regular basis (typically once per year). If necessary, the Grantee is responsible for taking whatever action is necessary to enforce the CE.

CEs are voluntary legal agreements. As with other real property interests, the grant of a CE is recorded with the County Recorder and becomes a part of the chain of title for the property.

The City of Sausalito purchased Cypress Ridge in 1976 and promised to its citizens that it would be preserved as open space. We propose now to put a CE on Cypress Ridge to buttress and protect that original promise.

Writing a Conservation Easement

If you belong to a community group, non-profit, or municipal government and are interested in writing a conservation easement, first read our History of Conservation Easements page for some necessary background, then see our How to Write a Conservation Easement page to learn what preliminary reports you will need to prepare, the content requirements of a CE, and the ongoing monitoring reports required.

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Cypress Ridge in the 1800s. Sausalito Historical Society

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