The James Drane House in Garrett County.
Historic preservation easements are an important tool that ensures that a
property’s historic and cultural value will be protected in perpetuity. As
contractual agreements between a property owner and a qualified organization, preservation
easements can safeguard historic homes, farmsteads, archaeological sites, historic
landscapes and other features.
Typically, owners of the easement property agree to relinquish partial development rights,
to maintain the property, to provide limited public access, and to obtain prior approval
for any changes or alterations. In exchange, the easement-holding organization promises to
ensure compliance with the terms of the easement to protect the property for future
generations. Preservation easements sometimes also carry tax benefits to the property
owner. In some cases, conveyance of an easement is a requirement to receive financial
support from the State.
The State of Maryland’s preservation easements are managed by the
Maryland Historical Trust, which holds more than 700 easements encompassing approximately
7,600 acres statewide. MHT staff work with property owners to develop easement terms,
review and approve any changes or alterations to the property, and advise owners on the
best preservation methods.