The Colorado Historical Foundation accepts easements written to protect the historical integrity of buildings, structures, landscapes, cultural and archaeological sites from demolition, deterioration, and severe alteration. Generally, easements do not preclude an owner from changing their property's use. Economic viability often makes historic preservation possible. The majority of our easements are specific to building façades to ensure the exterior historical characteristics are kept in the same or better condition than when the easement was recorded.
A conservation easement is a contractual agreement between a property owner and a holding organization. It is a legally binding, publicly recorded covenant that survives property transfers, and it is attached to the property deed in perpetuity.
Explore our 100+ Conservation Easement Sites and learn about the social and cultural significance of some of our more diverse properties.
Why donate an easement?
Property owners choose to convey easements for a variety of reasons including:
- Legacy protection
- Appreciation of a specific place and its history
- Preventing demolition or development
- Stewardship by an organization with preservation knowledge and expertise
- Condition for receiving public funding
- Potential tax benefits.*
Easements allow the owner to sell, lease, rent or bequeath a property, knowing its historical integrity will remain intact.
How shared stewardship works
Typically, owners of a property with an easement agree to relinquish partial development rights, maintain the property, obtain prior approval from the easement holder for exterior alterations or additions, and permit the easement holder to make periodic inspections.
The easement holder documents and communicates recommendations resulting from inspections, and ensures compliance with the terms of the easement. The Foundation works with property owners not only to preserve a property's historical character, but to find solutions for making the site code-compliant, economically viable, and a desirable places to live, work or visit.
Easement Holder Responsibilities
The Foundation, as a qualified conservation easement holding organization, upholds the following principles:
- Established policies and donation criteria
- Dedicated professional staff and resources
- Model deed of easement and methodology for baseline documentation
- Formal monitoring plan, site visits, and open communication with owners
- Well-maintained easement records
- An endowment fund for stewardship and legal defense
- Ability to enforce easement restrictions, through legal means when necessary
*The Colorado Historical Foundation does not provide tax or legal advice. Property owners are encouraged to consult their own legal and accounting professionals regarding tax and legal considerations when granting an easement.
EASEMENT SITES IN THE NEWS...
New fence at the edge of Cielo Vista Ranch interrupts 150-year-old religious pilgrimage (Kate Perdoni, Rocky Mountain PBS, September 2021)
Mancos businesses awarded grants for building upgrades (The Journal, October 2021)
State grant boosts theater restoration (KOAA, October 2021)
Downtown Loveland Feed and Grain receives $5 million renovation grant (Loveland Herald, December 2021)