January 2013 Meeting Minutes - Davidson Lands Conservancy

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DAVIDSON LANDS CONSE
RVANCY





MINUTES

Committee

Date

Time

Location

Attendees

Next Mt
g

Land Initiatives

1/7/13


6:00


DLC

Minett, Johnson, Krider, Van Epps, Martin, Alexander, Hal Rubin (guest)

02/04, 6
PM, DLC


Meeting Minutes Submitted By
Roy
Alexaander

Date:


Agenda Topic

Highlights of Discussion

Motion

Next Action Step

Welcome,

Minutes,
conflicts?


Accepted by consensus.

(None noted.)

Format and content for
Land Initiatives’ Site Data
Sheet for use with
acquisitions or potential
easements

See p. 5 of this agenda for sample of current format
(“Summary and Motion”)

Mike provided additional data
for discussion. The input was generally well received and LI
will incorporate into new sheets.

Received as information
and for further
discussion.

Rob will incorporate into general acquisition/easement
approval policy.

Summary of Runnymede
easement and status


Meeting tomorrow to negotiate last issue (Indemnification.)

To be voted on by HOA
in next 30 days. There is concern
about potential impact from the stables to the stream, but
we felt that it could be addressed following the easement.

Motion: Recommend
project to B O D with
inclusion of the
indemnification clause
as presented by our
a
ttorney,

M KK; S SM Passed
unanimously

Hike of this property on Sat, 1/5
,

was attended by Mike,
Rodney, Hayden, Roy, and Hal Rubin.

Summary of Griffith
property status


Negotiation has stalled. Roy is attempting to learn what
restrictive covenants the Griffiths appear to want.

Ask for option to
purchase when the
remainder of trail
easements are procured.


























Intent is to resell to Town
at later date. Donor Adv.
Cncl. willing to raise this amount and replenish our Acq.
Fund
. Committee reluctant to approve purchase of this
property unless it can be used as a trail head to the
greenway.

Assignment of duties to put
information into a concis
e
format.



Deferred to future
meeting.


Conservation easement
signing process

It can be very challenging


and at times impossible


to
coordinate timing of LI committee meetings, B O D
meetings, and deadlines within the easement drafting and
signing
process. Flexibility could be achieved by clarifying
the DLC side of the process and authorizing ED and others
besides the President to sign.


See page 2 of this agenda.

Mike requested more specificity of terms such as
“substantive deviation from the temp
late”.

Rob is preparing a draft
of a general
acquisition/easement approval policy (not reflected in
attachments).

LI wants to produce a new process document to allow
more input by LI during the negotiation process, not
blanket approval on a concept withou
t the details. Once
process is finalized, signage is a formality.

Fisher Farm stewardship
plan
Will

Preparation of template for monitoring.

Development of monitoring plan.


Tabled

A Garmin GPSMap 76CSx has been donated by
Ross
Gavitt.


Open Space Prioritization
-


Will

Complete definitions and scoring factors for all eight criteria

Discussed interfaces for GIS Database.

Rob reported his draft
is almost complete.


Connectivity/Isolation (Rob), Development Risk (Kris)

,
Development Momentum (Kris). Recreation Value
(Sterling) Working Lands (Roy). Cultural Value Criteria

(Roy
)

Access controls: Tim Oh, intern


Brackett Bluff

Monitoring
completed. Report in process.

Tabled

Hayden Boyd is testing an app for Android
devices that
will greatly facilitate our monitoring documentation.

Batchelor easement 1



Roy

Need to install boundary signs, establish photopoints.

Tabled

Will agreed to produce maps with coordinates of
property corners.

Poteat 1 easement


Roy


Need
to install boundary signs, establish photopoints.

Will agreed to produce maps with coordinates of property
corners.

Tabled

B O D social
was held

on the grounds of this property at
Dr Tom Clark’s home,
on
Sun, 12/9, 4:00.

LNYC

Discussion of a conservation
easement has begun with long
-
range planning committee of the club.

Tabled

Parcel is 27 acres next to the Point development.

Proposal: Divide Land
Initiatives into two
committees

“Acquisitions”


Direct and oversee purchases and
easement negotiations

Stewardship


Oversee and conduct monitoring and
management of easements and properties; conduct service
projects, such as trailbuilding

Motion requested.

Deferred. Requested
specifics from Roy on
structure and makeup of
each committee.


Cankerworm study

Roy will assist The Town and Davidson College in an
analysis of the extent of the cankerworm infestation and of
the effects of the banding efforts. It will be led by a student
volunteer or team with Dr Chris Paradise and Dr Mark
Stanback as advisers.

Rec
eived as
information.


Adjourned


7:30 PM





(RE attachments: from ED, not approved by LI committee; further revision is in order. MM 1/10/13)





Attachment 1





A proposed procedure for signing o
f conservation easements:



Note: LTA’s Standards
and Practices for land trusts states as follows:

Board Approval of Land Transactions. The board reviews and approves every land and easement
transaction
, and the land trust provides the board with timely and
adequate information prior to final approval. Ho
wever, the board may delegate decision
-
making authority on transactions if it establishes policies defining the limits
to that authority, the criteria for transactions, the procedures for managing conflicts of interest, and the timely notificat
ion of the f
ull board of any completed
transactions, and if the board periodically evaluates the effectiveness of these policies.

(Transaction

is not taken to mean the actual easement document. Our practice is to ask the Land Initiatives Committee and the B O D to ap
prove a summary of the
project after assuring that it meets our Project Selection Criteria, meets acceptable legal standards, and does not bring und
ue burdens to DLC.)

We are asking the Land Initiatives Committee to propose a policy to guide us in these re
gards in future projects. Here is a draft for your review and editing, if
desired:











Delegation of authority to sign conservation easements

Executive Director (ED) negotiates drafting of easement with landowner/landowner's attorney using t
he standard template. ED will keep Land Initiatives Committee
informed of the conservation values, reserved rights, stewardship issues, etc. Depending upon deadlines for completing the e
asement, ED may request approval
before easement is in final form. If

ED believes any subsequent changes are contrary to DLC's interests, (s)he shall delay signing un
til the issue(s) are resolved.


If E
D determines there is
substantive deviation

from the template, ED will seek legal advice to represent Davidson Land Conservancy's interest prior to proposing
the project to the Land Initiatives Committee.

















If there are no substantive deviations, ED will negotiate for
DLC's interests and bring a proposal to the Land Initiatives Committee in the form of a "Summary and
Motion" recommending approval of the project. If the committee finds the proposal meets its Project Selection Criteria, it ma
y recommend approval to the Bo
ard of
Directors.






















Upon approval of the Summary and Motion by the BOD, the finalized easement may be signed by the President, if available, or h
is/her designee. Designees in order
of prefer
ence would be 1) Executive Director, 2) Vice
-
President, or 3) Chair of Land Initiatives Committee.

Approved by Land Initiatives Committee, _________(date)


________________________

Signed: Mike Minett, Chair


Attachment 2:

Davidson Lands Conservancy
Projec
t Selection Criteria

In general, Davidson Lands Conservancy will consider fee simple ownership or conservation easements on land that meets one or

more of the following
conservation purposes:



the protection of natural habitats for fish, wildlife or plants or similar ecosystems;



the protection of surface water quality. including protection of riparian buffers, wetlands and floodplains;



the preservation of open space, including farmland or fore
stland, for the scenic enjoyment of the general public,



the provision of working lands for local food production;



the preservation of open space in furtherance of government policy;



the preservation of culturally or historically important land areas;



t
he preservation of land for outdoor recreation or education.

A

Project Scoring. The Conservancy has developed or has access to project ranking and scoring methodologies, including GIS mode
ls. The
methodologies provide an objective, quantitative means for
the quick comparison of a large number of projects. However, these scoring methodologies
are not meant to provide a means of strict comparison between all projects, nor to be the deciding factor in ranking projects
. In fact
,

they will often be
most helpful

within one project area, rather than among many project areas. All project scoring methodologies will be balanced with the qu
alitative,
subjective knowledge of the Conservancy staff, Land Initiatives Committee, and the DLC Board of Directors before projec
t selection decisions are
made.

B

Size. In non
-
urban environments, the Conservancy generally will give strong preference to projects on larger parcels of land. Parcels more

than
10 acres in size are generally encouraged. The Conservancy will consider acce
pting smaller projects when one or more of the following criteria are met:



The property is adjacent to other properties protected
by
the Conservancy, other conservation organizations or a government agency for the
purpose of protecting water quality, open

space and natural areas; or the property has the potential to be clustered with other such protected
properties in a conservation plan.



The property is habitat for an outstanding resource, such as an endangered or threatened species, that realistically c
an be protected and defended
by acquisition of a property of the proposed parcel size.



There is substantial support for acquisition of the property from government agencies, conservation organizations or other st
akeholder groups.



In general, the Conserva
ncy is most interested in protecting large tracts of land
-

allowing large
-
scale protection of watersheds, contiguous river
and stream corridors and ecosystems. However, in recognition of the need to promote conservation throughout the community, ow
ners of

smaller parcels may participate in an expedited conservation easement donation process.

C

Site Integrity and Defensibility. The Conservancy will give strong preference for those projects that, based on the best avai
lable scientific
information, are thoug
ht to be both ecologically significant and legally defensible in perpetuity. This determination will be made based on some or

all of
the following considerations:



The project includes provision of adequate buffers, including upland habitat around wetlands
, riparian buffers (preferably at least 300 foot in
width) on both sides of streams and rivers, and other buffers deemed appropriate.

D

Features weighing against property acceptance. The following features tend to indicate that a proposal is not suitable
for Davidson Lands
Conservancy:



The property is small, adjacent properties have not been protected and there is little likelihood that they will be protected

in the future. High
-
density residential parcels are obviously inappropriate, but small parcels ma
y be considered if the parcels are adjacent to existing protected or
otherwise important lands.



The property is part of a development proposal or activity that would unduly compromise or diminish conservation values to an

extent that the
Conservancy canno
t protect them in perpetuity.



Adjacent properties are being planned or developed in a way that is likely to diminish significantly the conservation values
of the property in
question.



The landowner insists on provisions in the conservation easement that
the Conservancy believes would unduly diminish the property's
conservation values, present unduly difficult monitoring or enforcement problems, or compromise the Conservancy's long term o
bjectives and
values, including development rights that are likely to

significantly diminish the environmental, scenic, aesthetic or other conservation values of
the property.



The proposed easement would be unusually difficult to enforce as a result of fractured ownership, irregular configurations or

other unusual
circumst
ances.



Legal or logistical concerns such as parcels with toxic substances, unresolved boundary disputes and overlapping third party
rights that are not
subordinated to the interest of the Conservancy.



The transaction results in a violation of the rules against private benefit or inurement, or otherwise adversely affects the
status of the
Conservancy under applicable laws, including but not limited to N.C. Gen. Stat. Chapter 121, Article 4 and Section 17
0(h) and 501 of the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended; the Conservancy or donor has a conflict of interest associated with the project; t
he project would
result in erosion of public trust or confidence; or the project could significantly damage the

public image of the Conservancy.



There are no funds available from the Conservancy, landowner or other source for project expenses, including survey, legal fe
es and stewardship
fund.



The project cannot be negotiated and completed by the Conservancy with

reasonable effort in relation to the
project's significance.



The project would not result in significant public benefit, as defined
in

the Inte
rnal
Revenue Code regarding 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and
qualified conservation easement contributions

(if the landowner expects tax benefits).



If no funds (or inadequate funds) are available from the landowner or from other sources such as grants, DLC will assure that

there are sufficient funds in
the Stewardship Fund to cover the perpetual costs of stewa
rdship of that property before accepting/acquiring the property or easement.



DLC may also accept contracts to serve as monitoring agent for easements or conservation properties held by other entities (e
. g., government units).


If no
funds (or inadequate f
unds) are available from the landowner or from other sources such as grants, DLC will assure that there are sufficient funds
in the
Stewardship Fund to cover the perpetual costs of easement and fee stewardship of that property before accepting the contract
.



DLC may elect not to acquire
--

or to hold an easement on
--

any parcel that is not supported by the local governing jurisdiction or is inconsistent with any
adopted long range plans either by a jurisdiction or DLC. Zoning or other regulatory prohibition
s should also be considered in DLC’s decision.



Attachment 3:

S
ummary and Motion
: Runnymede


(Sample for comparison to proposed Site Data Form)

Landowner
:

Runnymede Homeowners Association





Lo
cation:

19206 Calloway Hills Lane, Davidson, Mecklenburg County, NC

Public Benefit:

The easement will protect approximately 50 acres along both sides of a 2800’ section of the Rocky River, including outstandin
gly
-
rich woodland,
floodplain, pasture and a histori
c mill site. The owner covenants that the land will remain in its natural non
-
developed state.

Project History:

An HOA
-
owned equestrian stable is operated under lease adjacent to the easement on the west side of the river. A
pedestrian/equestrian bridge

connects the pasture to the HOA
-
maintained equestrian/pedestrian trails in the woodland. The owner is a nonprofit
organization and is not seeking tax benefits. River was channelized in the past and is a strong candidate for restoration an
d stabilization
.

Financials:


The landowner has provided







a surveyor’s report








stewardship fee agreement (initial amount: $700/year)




baseline Inventory








the easement recordation fee

Expected Closing Date:

September, 2012

{ Step 1 } Motion


Septe
mber 5
, 2012



T
he Land Initiatives Committee

of the Davidson Lands Conservancy finds the project consistent with the Conservancy’s project selection criteria and recommen
ds
adoption of a conservation easement for the parcel.







Signed: ________________
_________


Mike Minett, Chair


September 5, 2012

{ Step 2 } September 10, 2012

Resolved:

By majority vote of

its members,

the Davidson Lands Conservancy Board of Directors in recognition of the conservation values identified above, and
the proposed

project’s consistency with the Conservancy’s adopted project selection criteria, hereby accepts the proposed Batchelor Easeme
nt 1
conservation easement donation as described herein.







Signed: ___________________



Pamela Dykstra, President Se
ptember 10, 2012