An open-space easement is a legal document made between a landowner and a public body, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The easement limits present and future property development rights. It allows the landowner to live on the property and use it for its traditional use, e.g., as a farm, forest, open space, and/or natural area, but protects it as well. The easement is legally recorded and bound to the deed of the property permanently. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation holds easements in perpetuity that protect a wide variety of natural and cultural resources, including watershed areas, the setting for historic homes, scenic views, lands adjacent to public parks and game preserves, community lands, and more.
The guidelines assist the Trustees of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) in evaluating a proposed donation or conveyance of an easement. Specific circumstances may warrant flexibility and departure from these guidelines. Please click on the link to the left to view the Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s guidelines.VOF Easement Template
This sample deed is provided to assist landowners and their attorneys in preparing deeds of easement to be conveyed to Virginia Outdoors Foundation. As each property contains unique conservation values, staff may recommend provisions appropriate to individual properties. Please click on the link to the left for more information and a copy of the VOF template.10 Steps to Conveying a VOF Easement
The process of conveying an open-space easement to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation may take anywhere from a few months to more than a year to complete. Please click on the link to the left for a general 10-step outline of the process, including the Easement Application.