CR Basics

Landowners who wish to protect their land permanently without giving up ownership may choose to place a Conservation Restriction on their property. A Conservation Restriction, or CR for short, is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner (the “Grantor”) and a qualified conservation organization, such as the Carlisle Conservation Foundation, The Trustees of Reservations, or Sudbury Valley Trustees, or a government entity, such as the Town of Carlisle (the “Grantee”). Under the terms of a CR, the Grantor relinquishes certain development rights to the property forever, and gives the Grantee the right and responsibility to monitor the property and defend the terms of the CR. (In most other states, the CR is known as a “Conservation Easement.”)

Under the CR, the land may be sold, bequeathed, or given to any party the owner chooses. The CR goes on record at the Registry of Deeds and becomes a permanent part of the property’s title, binding all future owners of the land. The public has no right to use the property unless the right is specifically granted in the CR.

Landowners typically put CRs on their land for two reasons. First: they wish to see the land protected over time, and second: they would like to benefit from the tax advantages associated with CRs. When land is being passed on from one generation to another, estate taxes can occasionally force the sale of the land in order to satisfy the tax burden. A CR can provide substantial estate tax relief, allowing the family to avoid selling the land. For more information, click here.