Photo credit: John Bilderback
Photo credit: John Bilderback
North Shore Community Land Trust strives to protect, steward, and enhance the natural landscapes, cultural heritage, and rural character of ahupua‘a from Kahuku Point to Ka‘ena on the North Shore of Oʻahu. North Shore Community Land Trust was founded by a grassroots group of community members in 1997 as a non-profit organization concerned with protecting and restoring the scenic beauty of the North Shore. With approximately 60,000 acres of agricultural land, roughly 30 miles of shoreline, and numerous Native Hawaiian cultural sites, this area is incredibly important, not only to its abundant plant and wildlife, but also to its residents and visitors. It is known for its world-renowned recreational opportunities, from surfing and sailing to hiking and snorkeling.
Since our founding, we have helped to conserve and steward thousands of acres of coveted open space – forested hillsides and coastal farms, naupaka-shaded beaches and coconut groves, grassy meadows and wind-swept vistas – in one of the world’s most cherished, desirable, and culturally significant locations. North Shore Community Land Trust and our partners have raised over $75 million towards the perpetual protection of over 4,000 acres of North Shore lands, thereby helping secure the rural character of the North Shore for future generations. But our work is far from done. Currently approximately one third (20,000 acres) of the North Shore is for sale. We know our food, economy, and way of life depends on voluntary land conservation. North Shore Community Land Trust will continue to invest our time, money, services and resources to preserving the unique character of the North Shore because…… WE LOVE THE COUNTRY!
Meet Our Team
Board of Directors
- Jacque Leinau (President)
- Sue Cortes (Vice President)
- Doug Cole (Treasurer)
- Kelly Perry (Secretary)
- Moana Bjur
- Chip Hartman
- Kawika Kahiapo
- Tom Lenchanko
- Jenny Fiedler
- Denise Antolini
- Jack and Kim Johnson
- Randy Moore
Information about Land Trusts
A land trust is a nonprofit organization that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in land or conservation easement acquisition, or by its stewardship of such land or easements.
No, they are independent, entrepreneurial organizations that work with landowners who are interested in protecting open space. But land trusts often work cooperatively with government agencies by acquiring or managing land, researching open space needs and priorities, or assisting in the development of open space plans.
Land trusts are very closely tied to the communities in which they operate. Moreover, land trusts’ nonprofit tax status brings them a variety of tax benefits. Donations of land, conservation easements or money may qualify you for income, estate, or gift tax savings. Moreover, because they are private organizations, land trusts can be more flexible and creative than public agencies – and can act more quickly – in saving land.
Local and regional land trusts, organized as charitable organizations under federal tax laws, are directly involved in conserving land for its natural, recreational, scenic, historical and productive values. Land Trusts can purchase land for permanent protection, or they may use one of several other methods: accept donations of land or the funds to purchase land, accept a bequest, or accept donations of a conservation easement, which permanently limits the type and scope of development that can take place on the land. In some instances, land trusts also purchase conservation easements.
There are several strategies available through Land Trusts to landowners who want to preserve their cherished lands. Occasionally, a landowner may donate or sell parcels of land to a Land Trust in order to place the land entirely in the Trust’s permanent care. More often, however, a landowner will donate to a Land Trust a conservation easement, which places protective restrictions on future uses of land. The conservation easement also assigns responsibility to the Land Trust to enforce those protections forever, even when the ownership of the land changes.
A CONSERVATION EASEMENT is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. With a conservation easement in place, a landowner can realize substantial income and property tax savings, while retaining the rights to sell or bequeath the land.
When a landowner transfers to a Land Trust selected development rights through a conservation easement, safeguards are established against uses of the land that could damage its ecological, scenic, recreational, or natural resource values. The Land Trust then holds these rights but is prohibited from ever using them. The Land Trust accepts perpetual responsibility for protecting the land.
Donations of Interests in Land to Conservation Organizations
BEQUEST: The donation of fee title or of a conservation easement to a qualified conservation organization at the time of death, as provided for in a will results in the unrestricted use of land by the owner until death, as well as a reduction of estate taxes. The disadvantages to the owner are the continued full property tax liability and the loss of income tax benefits for the donation.
OUTRIGHT FEE DONATION: All rights to the land are transferred to a qualified conservation organization such as North Shore Community Land Trust, resulting in an income tax deduction for the full appraised value of the land, reduced estate taxes, and elimination of property taxes.
LEASEBACK: Property donated to a qualified conservation organization, but with the condition that the granting owner leases back the use of the land. Such a condition placed on the gift may preclude any tax deduction for the donation.
RESERVED LIFE ESTATE OR REMAINDER INTEREST: Property is donated or sold, in whole or in part, to a qualified conservation organization with a deed provision that reserves the right of the owner (and/or specified persons) to use the land or a portion of it, until death. The owner may claim an income tax deduction for the value of the donation, estate taxes may be reduced, and property taxes are levied only on that portion of the land retained for personal use.
Sales to Conservation Organizations
A sale at MARKET VALUE realizes the full price for the owner. Non-profit conservation organizations and protecting government agencies rarely can purchase property at full value for conservation purposes. The seller remains liable for income/capital gains taxes.
Selling land at a BARGAIN SALE price to a qualified conservation organization yields an income tax deduction equal to the difference between the sale price and the full fair market value of the property, and also lowers capital gains taxes.
LIMITED DEVELOPMENT provides protection for portions of a property either through a conservation easement or through other means while allowing for the development of the remaining property. Limited development arrangements can simultaneously yield tax savings for the donation of the conservation easement and enhance the value of the adjoining land to be developed.
An OPTION is a contract between a potential buyer of a property (for example, a Land Trust) and a seller, which reserves the right of purchase to the buyer for an agreed upon price to be paid in a specified period of time. The buyer secures an option in order to gain time to raise funds for the purchase. The option cost is forfeited if no purchase ensues.
For protection purposes, a RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL is a legal agreement granting a potential buyer the right (for a limited time) to match any bona fide offer once a property is placed on the real estate market. Unless protective restrictions exist prior to sale, the purchasing organization assumes the responsibility of defining appropriate uses for the site.
Protecting Conditions: Additional Options
DEED RESTRICTIONS can be applied to protect land if no qualified organization is available to hold a conservation easement. Enforcement must be carried out by the owner or the heirs of the owner, leaving little assurance of compliance once the title changes hands. Because no donation is made, no charitable tax deduction results.
By including a REVERSIONARY INTEREST CLAUSE in a deed stating that a title will transfer to a certain named party if deed restrictions are violated, an owner can provide stronger support for deed restrictions.
A group of landowners can limit the future use of their land through the imposition of a RESTRICTIVE COVENANT if no qualified organization is available to hold a conservation easement. Neighboring landowners with common conservation goals sign and record this agreement containing protective restrictions. The agreement can be enforced by any of the participating landowners and is binding on future titleholders.