Open Lands Board

25 North Main
Heber City, Utah 84032

Phone (435) 657-3180
Fax (435) 657-0283
Openlands@wasatch.utah.gov

Wasatch County Open Lands Board

This past November, Wasatch County Residents authorized a $10 million open lands bond. The bond will be issued in $5 million increments over a ten year period from the initial sale of the bond for 30 years. The cost of the bond for a primary residence valued at $300,000 is less than the cost of four movie tickets. For the total $10 million issuance, it will cost the average homeowner $19.97 per year. Federal funding and private funding can be used to leverage bond funds.

INTERESTED LANDOWNER MEETING

The Wasatch Open Lands Board is hosting a landowners meeting on September 25 at 7:30 PM at the Senior Citizens Center/Library.

Learn more about how landowners can preserve their critical open lands by utilizing the $10 million open space bond that was approved in 2018. This informational session will detail the process and criteria landowners should use to apply for funding.

According to various tourism reports, open space is an essential element in attracting out-of-town visitors to the Heber Valley - visitors who value our unique rural lifestyle and who spend a lot of money in our community. The North Fields area of Wasatch County, is one of our most important economic assets and should be preserved for generations to come.

 

Wasatch County Director of Tourism and Economic Development

Information

Information

Here are some information sources concerning open lands.

FAQs

A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement entered into voluntarily and mutually between a landowner and Utah Open Lands, protecting the land from some or all future development in perpetuity. Utah law provides landowners with a choice of easements coinciding with the conservation resources in need of protection on the property. The forms of conservation easements include: agricultural, historical, ecological, public recreational, or scenic. A conservation easement may protect one or all of the aforementioned values. A conservation easement may be purchased by a conservation organization at its full fair market value, purchased at a fraction of its fair market value, or donated by the landowner to a qualifying conservation organization. Landowners retain their landowning rights as well as many others, including right to use and sell the land. The easement will only retain the rights necessary to protecting certain conservation values, while potentially providing the landowners with tax incentives.

The preservation of open lands is always based on a willing seller who enters into a conservation easement transaction willingly without the threat of eminent domain.

Yes. The property owner is not selling the land, but instead selling or donating certain rights associated with the property. Depending on the easement, there will be different rights that the landowner will agree to give up—often times being the right to develop. The easement holder, either a private organization or a public agency, will hold the right to enforce the agreed upon regulations.

Every easement is unique. It is up to the landowner and what they agree upon and what is deemed appropriate. Some easements will allow for public access, but others will not. Generally, if land is conserved for agricultural purposes, public access is not necessary. The entity entrusted with holding the conservation easement will maintain annual monitoring of the land to ensure the terms of the conservation easement remain in tact.

Yes. However, the conservation easement is intended for conservation in perpetuity, meaning that the agreed upon easement will continue in effect on the property if the property is sold.

Depending on the easement, agriculture is a conservation value that is often times maintained through an easement. If agriculture is one of the conservation values essential to the easement, the trust, through annual visits, must ensure that the values are being upheld.

Protection of private land is essential in protecting properties with conservation values. Stewardship of the land and protection from development are essential in preserving the land that we love. There can be lower maintenance costs associated with easements and ownership rights remain in place for the landowner. There can be no pressure from external entities to develop the land. The landowner will be able to maintain agricultural traditions, benefit from tax incentives and provide an open land legacy beyond a lifetime.

Application