Preservation Easements

Lanphear Livery, Westerly
The Lanphear Livery Stable at the gateway to Westerly's Watch Hill is protected by a preservation easement.

Preservation easements help to save privately-owned historic properties. An easement is a legal agreement between an owner and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission that the historic and architectural character of the property will be preserved and that the property will not be altered without the Commission's approval. The owner retains use of the entire property and continues to be responsible for its maintenance and care. Historic buildings, archaeological sites, and land all can be protected with easements.

Easements carry potentially significant tax benefits for federal income, estate, and gift taxes. Under federal law, a preservation easement is treated as a charitable contribution.

Easements can be flexible to meet individual owners' needs. Easements can protect exteriors, interiors, and/or land surrounding a building. When the property includes several acres or more, a portion of the land may be left unrestricted. The RIHPHC will help a donor to consider all the alternatives.

The RIHPHC requires grantors to donate an endowment equal to 5% of the appraised value of the easement. The RIHPHC uses the income from the endowment to defray the costs of monitoring the easements it receives. Commission staff will visit properties and are available for consultation regarding preservation plans.

For more information, please contact Jeffrey Emidy.