Eligibility Requirements

Property must meet the following minimum criteria in order to be considered for either a purchased or donated conservation easement:

  1. The property shall be located in Jefferson County, and the existing use and development of the land shall be in conformance with the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan and all applicable land use and development ordinances. This provision shall not be construed to prevent continued use of structures that are non-conforming to setback requirements, provided that the continued use complies with applicable requirements of the zoning ordinance.
  2. A property in the non-rural zone is eligible. This factor is reflected in the ranking criteria.
  3. The property shall be land which meets one or more of the following criteria (WV CODE §8A-12-1 et seq)
    • used or usable for agriculture, horticulture or grazing (qualifying property)
    • wetlands that are part of the qualifying property
    • woodlands that are
      1. part of or appurtenant to a qualifying property tract; or
      2. held by common ownership of a person or entity owning qualifying property
  4. No commercial or industrial structure shall be located on the parcel. (WV CODE §8A-12-1 et seq)
  5. Clear title to the property must be established and the application must be signed by the property owner(s).
  6. The property shall not have any current or past uses that would render the establishment of a conservation easement inconsistent with the intent of the Act or this Program. Such determination shall be made by the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board after consideration of all facts and circumstances.
  7. An easement may be acquired on a designated portion of a parcel, allowing the remainder to be unencumbered for residential development or other use. In such cases, the easement shall be so worded that residential density that may have been permitted as a permitted or conditional use on the portion of the property that is encumbered by the easement is extinguished and cannot be applied toward development of the portion of the parcel that is unencumbered.
  8. Properties which have current deeds of conservation easements are not eligible for Farmland Protection Board conservation easements.
  9. Any application for inclusion into the easement program must include an application and other information found on page 5 of the Appendix. This includes a sketch plat defined on p. 8 of this plan.

Additional program criteria must be met for acceptance of a donated easement. Purchased easements and expenses on donated easements shall be ranked in accordance with the program criteria.