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Subject: Preservation Easement Question: Experience with Planned Unit Development

  • easements

1.  Preservation Easement Question: Experience with Planned Unit Development

Posted 23 days ago
I am the Conservation and Easements Manager for a conservancy in Philadelphia and we are working on a preservation easement where the owner is proposing a Planned Unit Development. This means he wants to create condo units and an HOA in the historic structure.

We have never taken an easement like this before and I am seeking advice from other forum members that have experience with putting preservation easements on condo-ized structures. How did you handle the issue of responsibility/liability for maintenance among multiple owners within the easement document?


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Angelina Jones
Conservation and Easements Manager
Chestnut Hill Conservancy
Philadelphia PA
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2.  RE: Preservation Easement Question: Experience with Planned Unit Development

Posted 14 days ago
Angelina,

I don't have any experience on this (and am not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination), but assume it would depend on what parts of the building will be included in the easement.

If it's an exterior easement alone, I assume the HOA would be the primary grantor on it if they are the ones responsible for maintaining the exterior (not sure how that works for signatory authority, etc.). Individual condo owners would then need to know whether they have any responsibilities when they take ownership or transfer the property. If they do have some level of responsibility, it should be outlined in the easement language and formalized in some sort of agreement with them.

Of course if the easement includes interior alterations, then each of the condo owners would also need to have grantor status of some sort. I don't know if that can be done as a single easement or would need to be done with each owner (a property lawyer familiar with local property laws should have some guidance on this). It might make sense that each condo owner know what their specific responsibility is related to their unit, especially if there is variation in historic fabric from unit to unit.

It sounds like your situation might make for a good case study for other easement holders!

Best,
Barbara

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Barbara Howard
Stonebridge Learning, LLC
Minneapolis MN
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