Property Rights Foundation of America®

News Brief - Summer 2007:

Connecticut Farmland Protected by State Agricultural Conservation Easement Cannot Be Converted to a Golf Course
Connecticut's commissioner of agriculture will protect agricultural easements. The Conveyance of Development Rights in 1986 and 1987 declared that farmer Joseph Koniecko, who received $232,603.00 in exchange, acknowledged that the perpetual easement under the Connecticut statute had the purpose that "agricultural land be maintained and preserved for farming and food production purposes." Subsequent trustees who acquired the Preston, Conn., farm in 1993 could not develop a golf course (with a large club house and parking lots, among other things) even if it is a "greenway" and serves tourism as "sustainable agriculture," ruled Judge Keller of the Superior Court in Hartford in Bruce Gresczyk, Commissioner of Agriculture vs. Virginia Landis, et. al. in May 2006. The court also threw out arguments that the town zoning powers and the state conservation plan override the negative easement, that the easements are a fraudulent scheme where influential farmers got the highest prices, that a golf course is a turf grass farm (although no plan existed to harvest turf), and that the state acquired sand and gravel mining rights and the right to build homes without just compensation.

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