CEOC Gives San Isabel the Green Light

Earlier this year, San Isabel received ownership of The Bluff Park through a generous donation by Dick and Audrey Stermer.  The Bluff is a scenic and popular park located a block from Westcliffe's downtown commercial district, providing an unobstructed window onto the Wet Mountain Valley from town. 

Now, San Isabel seeks to forever protect the scenic views down Main Street, and to maintain public use of the park, by donating a conservation easement on the parcels to Colorado Open Lands. Historically, non-profits and Land Trusts were not eligible to receive the Colorado State Tax Credit for donations of conservation easements. However, in September, the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission (CEOC) reviewed a Preliminary Advisory Opinion (PAO) Application submitted by San Isabel asking them to reconsider the exception to land trusts and grant San Isabel a Tax Credit. 


The CEOC approved the application but reserved determination of the land trust's eligibility to the Colorado Department of Revenue, which has drafted a revision to its rules allowing San Isabel to claim a tax credit.  This change of rules will allow land trusts across Colorado to utilize an additional tool in structuring conservation easement transactions, allowing us to receive tax credit proceeds to further our land conservation missions, and hopefully increasing the pace of conservation across the state.  We are grateful for the assistance Mike Strugar and Tina Burghardt of Conservation Resource Center on this initiative -- they made our work easy!

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