The model has long benefited from more real-world testing, user scrutiny, and cycles of peer review than any other easement document in existence. The 7th edition takes advantage of the experiences and lessons learned by land trusts, governments, and landowners across Pennsylvania and the nation in the five years of regular and heavy use of the model since the publication of the previous edition.
The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association kicked off the revision process for the model a year-and-a-half ago with listening sessions to collect ideas for improving the model. The numerous roundtables, webinars, and other discussions that followed and the six postings of proposed revisions for public feedback helped the Association build a stronger, more adaptable, easier-to-read-and-use document. Thank you to all who provided comments and contributed to the model’s improvement.
Here’s what’s now available for download at ConservationTools.org (free-of-charge thanks to PALTA’s generous supporters):
- The model in DOCX (Word) format
- The model and commentary in PDF form
- A one-page Quick Start Guide
- A markup of the model showing differences between the 6th and 7th editions and brief explanations of the changes.
The commentary is substantially upgraded for the 7th edition:
- Content, including new optional provisions and explanatory material, expanded by 42%.
- Improved organization and formatting make it easier to find and read what you need.
The 7th edition of the model, while quite consistent with the previous editions, features a good number of improvements including the following:
- It uses a larger, more readable font.
- Thanks to other formatting and content adjustments, it’s 3/4 of a page shorter than the sixth edition.
- It organizes restrictive covenants first by Protection Area (rather than by Improvements versus activities and uses)—a change that was quite enthusiastically embraced during the public comment periods.
- On page one, it more clearly explains to readers what the document is all about.
- The Conservation Objectives were reworked in response to excellent user observations and suggestions.
- The Impervious Coverage limitations were re-written to provide both Owners and Holder greater flexibility in meeting the Conservation Objectives and to facilitate potential modification of the default provision (including with optional content from the commentary).
- Treatment of Agriculture and related uses in the Standard Protection Area received a major overhaul—providing greater latitude to Owners, better ensuring the protection of water quality and soils, and allowing for easier customization of the model provisions.
- Owners are provided more latitude regarding allowed uses in the Minimal Protection Area without detriment to the Conservation Objectives.
- All the covenants binding on the Holder’s easement interest are consolidated in article 6.
- The reimbursement clause (now labeled “Costs and Expenses”) more tightly defines expenses payable or reimbursable by Owners to increase Owner comfort. This revision, coupled with new commentary options, also increases customizability.