1. Welcome to AppraisersForum.com, the premiere online  community for the discussion of real estate appraisal. Register a free account to be able to post and unlock additional forums and features.

Land Preservation Acts 319/515

Discussion in 'Urgent - Help Needed' started by MCC6, Jan 16, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MCC6

    MCC6 Sophomore Member

    Jan 14, 2005
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    I have an assignment in Chester County, PA. The property is an estate (gentleman's horse farm) comprised of two parcels, 26AC and 32AC. Tax records indicate that the land is subject to Acts 319/515. To complicate things more, there are high tension lines and towers that run right through the middle of the property.

    Has anyone had experience in appraising a property subject to Acts 319/515? If so, what type of effect do they have on the value of the property and how did you address it in your assignment? Also, an opinion on the high tension wires would be appreciated, as well...

    Any assistance is appreciated and welcome.
  2. CANative

    CANative Elite Member

    Jun 18, 2003
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    Michael, you may need more detailed information from someone in your area. But this sounds like it may be a conservation easement. In CA, there is the Williamson Act. You contract with the State and County to agree to not develop the property except as permitted in the contract. It is designed to keep rural areas rural, ag areas ag, etc. In return, you get to have greatly reduced property taxes. There is usuall a term involved (in CA it is 10 years and automatically renews each year) and there are penalties and additinal taxes for withdrawing before the expiration of the term. Also, there is usually a minimum amount of acreage required. If the parcel is less than that acreage it is not elegible, except you can combine the acreage with another parcel whether or not is is owned by the same person. This may be problematical because if one party or the other decides they want to withdraw from the contract, it affects both parcels. Lots of issues here. I have found that it does not really affect value or marketability at this time, but things change.

    You should do some research on the issue, find the contract and talk to planning department officials and also talk to local Realtors who specialize in farm, ag, rural acreage properties and ask them if it has an effect on the market.
  3. Dee Dee

    Dee Dee Elite Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    Here's one link that might help:


    All I can say is that this sounds like a very complex appraisal assignment, and your typical residential appraiser would be crazy to accept it without sizable assistance from an appraiser that's well versed and experienced in conservation easements. This isn't your typical fee assignment. It's going to take a lot of research, comps will be tough to find and your workfile is going to have to back up any adjustments, either positive or negative, that you make concerning the impact of the easements on the land value....and I the high tension lines aren't going to make the job any easier.

    It's up to you to decide if this is over your head or if you can find significant assistance to complete the job under the Competency Rule in USPAP. Your state appraisal board may be able to give you advice as to what appraisers in your area specialize in this kind of property. Perhaps you can convince them to take you under their wing just to get the experience.

    Good Luck!
  4. Rick Kulman

    Rick Kulman Sophomore Member

    Jan 31, 2003
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    New Jersey

    Ran 2 Google searches PA land act 319 and another PA land act 515

    You have a lot of homework to do for an appraisal fee in the five figures. For starters:

    For Open Space Covenant Act (Act 515)
    start with


    If you are talking about the the steel towers 100+ feet high with 100 ft wide r-o-w areas my recommendation is to find development homes backing up to the r-o-w and compare the prices of these homes to those of the same design away from the r-o-w.

  5. Walter Kirk

    Walter Kirk Senior Member

    Jun 24, 2003
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    New Jersey
    These conditions are similar to New Jersey's Farmland and Woodland assessment programs. In the New Jersey situation the properties can be removed from the program but have to pay "roll back" or previous years taxes. An adjustment can be developed by calculating the amount of roll back taxes and applying it to comparables not included in the program.

    Given the fact that there is also a high tension electrical line on the property this is a complex assignment and should be done by an appraisewr very familiar with the area and the programs.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page