Uniform Conservation Easement Act Law and Legal Definition

The Uniform Conservation Easement Act is a uniform law promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. The Uniform Act deals only with easements. It provides a simple, limited way to end impediments to the use of easements under the common law. It permits the acquisition of easements as limited interests in land with the minimum disturbance of other interests and uses. It does not force anybody to do anything, but, if it appears advantageous as a matter of gift, sale or other conveyance for the landowner to transfer an easement, the Uniform Act assures its validity. Only two kinds of entities can hold easements under the Uniform Act. These entities are charitable organizations with the purposes of holding interests in land for conservation or historic preservation, or governmental bodies empowered to hold an interest in real property. Thus, there is a strict limitation upon the types and qualities of holders. An easement is treated as any other interest in land except for these limitations. However, no easement arises until a prospective holder records an acceptance of the easement. This precludes any unilateral creation of easements. An easement remains valid even though it is not appurtenant, and even though it imposes a negative burden. No privity of contract, or effect on a dominant estate, is required. One holder may assign an easement to another holder qualified under the Act. An easement is perpetual, unless its terms provide for a limitation in time. In short, all the common law impediments are avoided. A unique feature of the Act is the "third-party enforcement right." An easement may empower an entity other than an immediate holder to enforce its terms. The "third-party" must be a charitable organization or governmental body eligible to be a holder. One organization may own the easement, but delegate enforcement to another, if the terms of the easement allow it. The provisions of the act conforms to the general American desire for non-compulsory, voluntary solutions to land use problems, and it assists the effort to encourage conservation practices and to protect historically significant sites.