Friday, February 15, 2008

Fayette Land Trust Protects More Greenspace Brent Scarbrough Completes Third Conservation Project

Even though development has slowed recently, the Southside of Metro Atlanta remains one of the fastest growing areas in the state, resulting in the loss of farms and wildlife habitat that many residents value. Thanks to a local land trust, now more than 1300 acres have been protected from development forever.
Southern Conservation Trust completed two conservation projects in December 2007 that permanently preserved over 200 acres in Fayette and Meriwether counties.
Brent Scarbrough, a well known local developer and utility contractor, finalized a Conservation Agreement on a 110 acre property for sale in South Fayette that helps protect water quality and wildlife habitat. The Conservation Agreement reduces the number of potential lots from seventeen to three and prohibits timber cutting, allowing the new landowners to enjoy their own nature preserve. In 2006, Scarbrough donated a 60 acre property that the Trust will manage as a reforestation demonstration site with the help of Scarbrough & Company and local volunteers.
Thomas Bogle and his family purchased their 130 acre farm near Greenville for a family retreat, a haven from busy lives in crowded North Metro Atlanta. They restored the early 1900’s home and planted an apple orchard and food plots for deer. The Bogles could develop their farm into 22 5-acre lots, forever destroying the rolling fields, ponds and pine forest. But protecting the land’s rural character for future generations was more important.
The Bogles protected their farm permanently with a Conservation Agreement that allows agriculture, sustainable timber harvesting and several vacation cabins, as long as natural resources are protected.

“It was a pleasure to work with the Bogles, who are as passionate about preserving an agricultural way of life as we are,” said Executive Director Abby Jordan.

In 2006, both the U.S. Congress and the Georgia legislature approved conservation incentive programs for those who donate land or a Conservation Agreement to a land trust. When a landowner restricts his property from development, the resulting loss of land value may be considered a charitable donation that can result in lower federal and state income and property taxes.

Said Jordan, “We hope the Scarbrough and Bogle donations encourage others to contact the Trust about protecting their land. The tax incentives can be very attractive, but most importantly, the landowners and the entire community will forever enjoy the farms and forests preserved for future generations.”

Southern Conservation Trust operates in the counties south of Metro Atlanta and the Upper Flint River basin. For more information on Conservation Agreements and the expanded tax benefits available to landowners, contact Southern Conservation Trust at (770) 486-7774 or info@sctlandtrust.org.

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