This session will explore how best to draft the portions of conservation easements that identify building envelopes and permitted improvements. It will discuss recent caselaw regarding building envelopes and improvements and the significance of those cases to drafting choices we have made in the past and will need to make in the future. The session will also explore how permitted improvements are described and defined in conservation easements, and the importance of these definitions to avoiding ambiguity and to successful stewardship and enforcement of conservation easements. For both building envelopes and permitted improvements, the session will address the need to consider climate change in determining the location and size of building envelopes and allowed improvements. The session will provide and discuss sample language that can be used in future conservation easements.
As land trusts grow in size, mature in sophistication, and protected property changes hands, they will more frequently find themselves in court, and not just on conservation matters. Vendor disputes, contract claims, employment issues, will contests, and even personal injury cases will materialize that spawn litigation. This workshop will provide pointers on how to prepare for those eventual court cases before the appear; correct common misconceptions about relevant privileges; identify critical steps to take when litigation looms; alert people to the challenges they’ll face with lawyers, judges, mediators, and their own staff and board and offer tools to overcome them; and outline ways to be positioned with the best chance of succeeding in the end.