Skip to Main Content

Information for Owners of MHT Easement Properties

Easements are legally binding contractual agreements that are recorded along with the deed in the land records. While the owner maintains full ownership of the property, he or she has assigned specific development rights to the easement holding organization, in this instance, the Maryland Historical Trust. These may include restrictions on new construction, alterations and excavation. Easements also require that properties be maintained to set standards and allow for periodic inspections by MHT staff to ensure compliance with the easement.

What needs to be reviewed?

MHT easements typically prohibit the owner from demolishing or making alterations to the property without prior written approval from the Director of the Maryland Historical Trust. The majority of the easements require approval for all construction, including reconstruction, improvement, enlargement, painting and decorating, alteration, demolition, maintenance or repair of any structure or works. If you are unsure as to whether or not your project requires approval, please feel free to contact Easement staff.

The MHT follows a standard review process when considering proposed changes or alterations to easement properties. The submission (in hard copy) of a Change or Alteration Application form is required one week prior to an Easement Committee meeting.

What guidelines do I need to follow?

In determining what changes are appropriate for each easement property, the MHT consults the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (36 CFR Part 68), published by the National Park Service. The Standards are intended to preserve those elements that contribute to a buildings historic character and require that new additions or alterations be compatible with the historic structure. They serve as guidelines for proper preservation practice.

Do you have more specific design guidelines that I can use for my project?

MHT holds easements on a wide variety of properties in all parts of the State, making it nearly impossible for the MHT to develop design guidelines that would be relevant to all of our easement properties. Also, the terms of each easement are different, meaning that the specific requirements for alterations to easement properties vary property by property. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards are intended to be flexible and apply to a wide variety of building types and accommodate different project goals. For this reason, the MHT considers each project individually. With advance notice, it is possible to meet with a representative from the MHT to discuss the project and receive recommendations. Owners may also submit conceptual plans for review and conceptual approval at various stages of their project.

Do you need to coordinate MHT review with other entities or organizations?

Changes or alterations to easement properties funded by the MHT or other organizations will most likely require a separate approval process. The MHT recommends that proposed projects are presented for review to the easement committee prior to obtaining approval by other departments or organizations, including local historic preservation/district commissions.

Please contact Kate Bolasky at (410) 697-9537 or by email at kate.bolasky@maryland.gov to coordinate a review.