44-10-1.  Short title

   This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Georgia Uniform Conservation Easement Act."

HISTORY: Code 1981, 44-10-1, enacted by Ga. L. 1992, p. 2227, 1.

 

44-10-2.  Definitions

   As used in this article, the term:

   (1) "Conservation easement" means a nonpossessory interest of a holder in real property imposing limitations or affirmative obligations, the purposes of which include retaining or protecting natural, scenic, or open-space values of real property; assuring its availability for agricultural, forest, recreational, or open-space use; protecting natural resources; maintaining or enhancing air or water quality; or preserving the historical, architectural, archeological, or cultural aspects of real property.

   (2) "Holder" means:

      (A) A governmental body empowered to hold an interest in real property under the laws of this state or the United States; or

      (B) A charitable corporation, charitable association, or charitable trust, the purposes or powers of which include retaining or protecting the natural, scenic, or open-space values of real property; assuring the availability of real property for agricultural, forest, recreational, or open-space use; protecting natural resources; maintaining or enhancing air or water quality; or preserving the historical, architectural, archeological, or cultural aspects of real property.

   (3) "Third-party right of enforcement" means a right provided in a conservation easement to enforce any of its terms granted to a governmental body, charitable corporation, charitable association, or charitable trust, which, although eligible to be a holder, is not a holder.

HISTORY: Code 1981, 44-10-2, enacted by Ga. L. 1992, p. 2227, 1.

 

44-10-3.  Creation or alteration of conservation easements; acceptance; duration; effect on existing rights and duties; limitation of liability

   (a) Except as otherwise provided in this article, a conservation easement may be created, conveyed, recorded, assigned, released, modified, terminated, or otherwise altered or affected in the same manner as other easements, except that a conservation easement may not be created or expanded by the exercise of the power of eminent domain.

(b) No right or duty in favor of or against a holder and no right in favor of a person having a third-party right of enforcement arises under a conservation easement before its acceptance by the holder and a recordation of the acceptance.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (c) of Code Section 44-10-4, a conservation easement is unlimited in duration unless the instrument creating it otherwise provides.

(d) An interest in real property in existence at the time a conservation easement is created is not impaired by it unless the owner of the interest is a party to the conservation easement or consents to it.

(e) The ownership or attempted enforcement of rights held by the holder of an easement shall not subject such holder to any liability for any damage or injury that may be suffered by any person on the property or as a result of the condition of such property encumbered by a conservation easement.

HISTORY: Code 1981, 44-10-3, enacted by Ga. L. 1992, p. 2227, 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 91, 44; Ga. L. 1993, p. 794, 1.

 

44-10-4.  Actions affecting easements; parties; power of court to modify or terminate easement


   (a) An action affecting a conservation easement may be brought by:

   (1) An owner of an interest in the real property burdened by the easement;

   (2) A holder of the easement;

   (3) A person having a third-party right of enforcement; or

   (4) A person authorized by other law.

(b) The easement holder shall be a necessary party in any proceeding of or before any governmental agency which may result in a license, permit, or order for any demolition, alteration, or construction on the property.

(c) This article does not affect the power of a court to modify or terminate a conservation easement in accordance with the principles of law and equity.

44-10-5.  Validity of easement

   A conservation easement is valid even though:

   (1) It is not appurtenant to an interest in real property;

   (2) It can be or has been assigned to another holder;

   (3) It is not of a character that has been recognized traditionally at common law;

   (4) It imposes a negative burden;

   (5) It imposes affirmative obligations upon the owner of an interest in the burdened property or upon the holder;

   (6) The benefit does not touch or concern real property; or

   (7) There is no privity of estate or of contract.

 

44-10-6.  Interests covered by article; interests not invalidated by article

   (a) This article applies to any interest created after July 1, 1992, which complies with this article, whether designated as a conservation or facade easement, or as a covenant, protective covenant, equitable servitude, restriction, easement, or otherwise.

(b) This article applies to any interest created before July 1, 1992, if such interest would have been enforceable had such interest been created after July 1, 1992, unless retroactive application contravenes the Constitution or laws of this state or the United States.

(c) This article does not invalidate any interest, whether designated as a conservation or preservation or facade easement or as a covenant, protective covenant, equitable servitude, restriction, easement, or otherwise, that is enforceable under other law of this state.

 

44-10-7.  Construction and application of article to effect uniformity of laws

   This article shall be applied and construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the laws with respect to the subject of this article among states enacting it.

 

44-10-8.  Recordation of easements; revaluation of encumbered property; appeals

   A conservation easement may be recorded in the office of the clerk of the superior court of the county where the land is located. Such recording shall be notice to the board of tax assessors of such county of the conveyance of the conservation easement and shall entitle the owner to a revaluation of the encumbered real property so as to reflect the existence of the encumbrance on the next succeeding tax digest of the county. Any owner who records a conservation easement and who is aggrieved by a revaluation or lack thereof under this Code section may appeal to the board of equalization and may appeal from the decision of the board of equalization in accordance with Code Section 48-5-311.