A preservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that protects a significant historic, archaeological, or cultural resource. An easement provides assurance to the owner of a historic or cultural property that the property's intrinsic values will be preserved through subsequent ownership. In addition, the owner may obtain substantial tax benefits. An entire historic structure or just the facade or interior may qualify.
Historic Preservation Easements also are used to protect a historic landscape, battlefield, traditional cultural place, or archaeological site. Under the terms of an easement, a property owner grants a portion of, or interest in, his/her property rights to an organization whose mission includes historic preservation. Once recorded, an easement becomes part of the property's chain of title and usually "runs with the land" in perpetuity, thus binding not only the owner who grants the easement but all future owners as well. In Washington, several organizations will accept preservation easements. For further information contact the following:
Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation
P.O. Box 48343 Olympia, WA 98504-8343 phone: (360) 586-3079 fax: (360) 586-3067
Geographic Area: Statewide
Easement type(s): Façade and Historic Building Easements only granted in perpetuity; no fee requested; currently 43 easements across the state.
Jefferson Land Trust
P.O. Box 1610 Port Townsend, WA 98368 phone: (360) 379-9501 fax: (360) 379-9501
Geographic Area: Eastern Jefferson County
Easement type(s): Archeological Site, Historic Building, Historic Garden, Landscape, Scenic View, Agricultural and Open Space; Easements only granted in perpetuity; fee requested
The San Juan Preservation Trust
Box 327 Lopez Island, WA 98261-0327 phone: (360) 468-3202 fax: (360) 468-3509
Geographic Area: San Juan Islands; San Juan, Skagit & Whatcom counties.
Easement type(s): Archeological Site, Historic Building, Façade, Historic Garden, Landscape, Scenic View, Natural Areas, Productive Forest and Agricultural Land Easements only granted in perpetuity; fee requested
Spokane City/County Historic Preservation Office
808 West Spokane Falls Boulevard City Hall Spokane, WA 99201 phone: (509) 625-6983 fax: (509) 625-6059
Geographic Area: Spokane County
Easement type(s): Façade Easements only granted in perpetuity; no fee requested