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Assessing Land Encumbered by Conservation Restrictions

James J. Czupryna, ASA

May 2003, English

The assessment of land in Massachusetts encumbered by conservation restrictions was not a particular problem in the past since most towns tended to assess large tracts of land at comparatively low prices per acre. In recent years, however, the growing popularity of conservation restrictions as an estate planning tool combined with the recent unprecedented escalation in land values in eastern Massachusetts has resulted in a dilemma for assessors in higher-valued communities. Namely, how to establish an equitable, uniform method of assessing conservation-restricted land when the restriction no longer seemed to substantially diminish a property’s market value. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how various communities throughout Massachusetts are currently assessing land affected by conservation restrictions and to suggest a methodology for assessing conservation restrictions that would be uniform statewide.


Assessment, Conservation, Land Use, Local Government, New England