Legacy assumes first three Raisin Valley Land Trust easements

Allene Smith, Sybil Kolon, Woody Kellum, Diana Kern, Sandy Sorini Elser

Legacy and RVLT staff and board members at the closing of the first three RVLT properties. (L-R) Allene Smith, Sybil Kolon, Woody Kellum, Diana Kern, Sandy Sorini Elser

It has been a very busy few months since we announced that Legacy had formally agreed to assume Raisin Valley Land Trust’s (RVLT) conservation easements as their organization dissolves.  Assuming these conservation easements continues to be a long and complicated process, but we have been making steady progress.

Known fondly as the “RVLT Super Spreadsheet”, our behemoth spreadsheet summarizing all the to-dos (and all the check-dones!) is a constant ally in this process. Updated title reports and American Land Title Association (ALTA) surveys have revealed details that require careful follow up with landowners, legal entities, and other third parties. Resolving complex matters like establishing legal access and easement boundary clarification for these properties has certainly kept us busy, and it has also proved to be a wonderful learning opportunity that will help us with a variety of projects in the future.  Thankfully, with the help of RVLT board members, our Super Spreadsheet, and regular communications with landowners, surveyors, and legal advisors, the pieces are coming together.  

Given that each of these conserved properties brings with it a different to-do list, as we move through our checklist, we have decided to assume the easements in phases based on complexity. This allows us to make the transition as seamless as possible and gradually ease the land and its landowners into the Legacy family.

And now, drumroll please! At the end of September, we officially closed on three of the RVLT easements, two located in Washtenaw County and one in Jackson County.  A huge thank you to Sybil Kolon and Woody Kellum of RVLT, our attorney extraordinaire, Sandy Sorini Elser, and all the Legacy staff who helped get these first three across the finish line.  The team continues to work around the clock on the remaining easements and anticipates closing on the next phase of easements (four in Lenawee County) later this fall.