Hinchey/Fahy Bill to Preserve Open Space in Town of Guilderland Signed into Law

GUILDERLAND, NY – New York State will now allow the Town of Guilderland (Albany County) a new method to protect open land through conservation easements with private landowners thanks to a bill (S.6469/A.7096) sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46), and Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (AD-109) which was signed into law last week.

Originally authorized for certain towns in 2009 with the establishment of section 491 of the Real Property Tax Law, this legislation permits the Town of Guilderland to enter into voluntary conservation easement agreements with landowners who wish to keep their property in its natural and undeveloped state while still maintaining private ownership. Under the bill, Guilderland is authorized to allow for tax benefits to landowners who conserve their land through an easement agreement. This new conservation easement tax exemption will help incentivize property owners in Guilderland to protect their land from development and further facilitate the Town’s ongoing effort to do so, as well.

Underscoring the importance of conservation efforts nationwide, a football field of natural land is lost to development every day, according to the Center for American Progress. In New York, more than 90 land trusts and the Department of Environmental Conservation have protected over 2.7 million acres, including over 86,000 acres of farmland.

“As residents of New York State, one of the most scenically beautiful regions in the world, it’s important that we protect the natural areas we love, and conservation easements are a valuable tool we can use to safeguard our lands for generations to come,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “Guilderland has a unique character and charm, which is incredibly important to preserve, and this legislation empowers local residents to do just that. I’m very happy to see this bill signed into law and was proud to work with Assemblymember Pat Fahy and Guilderland Town Supervisor Peter Barber to extend this key conservation method that will help protect the irreplaceable natural resources within the Town’s borders.”

“Conservation easements are an important tool for municipalities and local residents to employ in the effort to preserve more open land and rural character,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “This legislation will allow local residents in the Town of Guilderland to opt-into conservation easement agreements exempting local real property taxation depending on the property and aligns with the Town’s desire to comprehensively conserve more open space and rural character. I’m pleased this legislation was signed into law by the Governor, and I thank Senator Michelle Hinchey and Supervisor Peter Barber for their work and partnership on this legislation.”

“I thank Senator Michelle Hinchey and Assembly Member Pat Fahy for their unwavering support for the Town’s continuing efforts to protect open space and environmentally sensitive lands,” said Town of Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber. “This legislation will play a key role in promoting smart growth and incentivizing land preservation.”

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