Most frequently used terms

319 Grant Program

Named for Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, this program funds projects that address non-point source pollution and improve water quality. This federal program is administered locally by the OEPA through the Division of Surface Water. Funding focuses on projects that integrate local and state watershed-based water quality targets. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis.

Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (AEPP)

A statewide Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) program to preserve Ohio’s farmland through the purchase of agricultural easements. AEPP provides up to 75 percent matching grants to farmland owners who sell their development rights.


An estimate of the fair market value of property prepared by a qualified, independent professional appraiser.


An unpaid, overdue debt or an unfulfilled obligation. The state of being behind in fulfilling obligations: an account in arrears.


The valuation of property in order to apportion, or assess, tax upon it, often in relation to other similar property also taxed. All real property in Ohio is assessed for real property tax purposes at 35% of its fair market value.

Bargain Sale

A bargain sale occurs when a seller voluntarily sells a property to a non-profit such as Western Reserve Land Conservancy for less than full fair market value. For example, Landowner A owns a $1,000,000 property, which he/she decides to sell to Western Reserve Land Conservancy for $600,000. The transaction will have two components. First, there is a sale portion in the amount of a $600,000 payment that we make to Landowner A. Second, there is a charitable gift component of $400,000, which is a gift from Landowner A to Western Reserve Land Conservancy, that qualifies as a charitable gift under the internal revenue code.

Baseline Document

A record of the condition of the property at the time of acquisition of the conservation easement. Baseline documentation identifies existing physical conditions, natural and human-made, at the time of acquisition. Baseline documentation is required by the IRS for tax-deductible donations of conservation easements where the grantor reserves future rights, and is needed to document any changes over time.


Cost of property, or value when inherited; used to determine capital gains tax.


A willed gift of personal property (automobiles, furniture), as opposed to real property, such as land, which is a devise

Capital Gain

Profit from the sale of appreciated assets, such as property, in excess of its basis.

Charitable Contribution

An outright gift or contribution, with charitable intent, whose value is deductible for federal and/or state income tax purposes and which may rive rise to estate/inheritance tax benefits.

Charitable Pledge

An expression of a promise to make a gift to a charity. The gift is not deductible until actually made.

Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)

A CRT is an irrevocable trust designed to convert highly appreciated assets into a lifetime income stream without generating estate and capital gains taxes. When the trust ends, the remaining assets pass to the qualified charity or charities specified in the trust.

Clean Ohio Conservation Fund / Clean Ohio Fund

Statewide voter approved program to restore, protect, and connect important natural and urban places. Clean Ohio consists of four statewide program areas: the Revitalization Fund, the Agriculture Easement Purchase Program (AEPP), the Green Space Conservation Program, and the Trails Fund. Clean Ohio Grants are awarded competitively by district. Funds are administered by the 19 OPWC districts and are primarily allocated to districts on a per-capita basis. When referring to a Clean OH grant in LP documents, we are typically referring to the Clean OH Green Space Conservation Program, which is administered by OPWC. Funding is allocated by District, which is composed of one or more counties, and funding award decisions are made by local NRACs in each district.

Closing Date

The date on which a transaction is concluded, especially when a seller delivers a deed and a buyer pays for it.

Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts (COLT)

Works to advance critical state and federal land conservation policy initiatives and legislation, such as property tax reform, and renewal of the Clean Ohio Fund, in partnership with other statewide groups such as Ohio League of Conservation Voters and Mainstream Green Coalition.

Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection (CELP)

Federal grant program to protect sensitive coastal areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values from development or conversion. The program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Community Development Corporation (CDC)

An organization formed by the stakeholders in a community to implement programs and provide services for the benefit of the community.

Conservation Easement

A legal document that permanently preserves land that the easement encumbers for conservation purposes as described in the document. Typically, conservation easements are granted by landowners to a nonprofit such as Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Most are charitable donations. Some are purchased, and some are reserved by the non-profit when a transfer of property owned by the non-profit is made. (Legally, there are conservation easements that have specific terms after which they expire. However, these are not tax-deductible conservation easements, and it is unlikely that Western Reserve Land Conservancy would ever consider using one.)


A written instrument used to transfer (convey) to property, such as a deed.

County Land Bank

A quasi-governmental organization that can safely hold distressed properties until they can be returned to productive use.

County Land Reutilization Corporation (CLRC)

The formal name for a county land bank.

Covenant (or Restriction)

A written promise contained in a contract, lease, deed, conservation easement, or other form of agreement.

Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV)

State differential real estate tax assessment program that assesses active agricultural land according to its agricultural value, rather than its full market value. The majority of agricultural land is enrolled in CAUV.


The legal document by which title to, or an interest in, real estate is conveyed from one (the “grantor”) to another (the “grantee”).

Deed Restrictions

Terms that are placed in the deed to the property that restrict certain uses of the real estate by subsequent owners.


(v) To give or transmit real estate by will. (n) A gift of real estate by will.

Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance Finances (DEFA)

Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance Finances water quality projects through low-interest revolving loan programs such as WPCLF. Administers the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP).

Due Diligence

An investigation or audit of a potential investment. Due diligence serves to confirm all material facts in regards to a transaction. Offers to purchase an asset are usually dependent on the results of due diligence analysis.


One appointed by a will to carry out the deceased’s wishes.

Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP)

A program of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) that protects working agricultural land by limiting its non-agricultural use through conservation easements on private land. Funding is awarded by NRCS Ohio for eligible projects for up to 50% of the appraised market value of the conservation easement.

Federal Estate Tax

A tax on the transfer of property at death of the owner.

Federal Gift Tax

A tax on the transfer of property during life (for less than full value in return).

Fee Simple Interest

Absolute ownership of property. Fee simple interest is the greatest interest that one can have in real property, being unqualified, of indefinite duration, freely transferable and inheritable.

Forest Legacy

U.S. Forest Service Funded program administered by ODNR’s Division of Forestry to protect working forests from conversion. Projects are eligible in the Grand River Lowlands Forest Legacy Area, which includes Lake, Ashtabula, Geauga, Summit, Portage, and Trumbull counties. Conservation easements are used as the primary means of forest protection.

Full Fair Market Value (FMV)

The amount of money paid for a property offered on the open market for a reasonable period of time with both buyer and seller knowing all the uses to which the property could be put and with neither party being under pressure to buy or sell.

Hardest Hit Fund (HHF)

Federal funds designated for foreclosure prevention.

Highest and Best Use

The basis for an appraiser’s estimate of full fair market value of a property, because it represents the reasonably probable and legal use of the land that would result in the highest value possible. This use must be physically possible, legal, and financially feasible. If all three of these elements are not considered, the estimate of final value cannot be supported.

Joint Tenancy

A form of ownership of property by two or more persons.

Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)

Federal grant program administered by ODNR for land acquisition related to public outdoor recreation projects. Applicant must be a political subdivision with a 50 percent match and the ability to finance and maintain the project.

Land Trust Alliance (LTA)

The national organization of land trusts that serves as a federal lobbying organization on behalf of land trusts, arranges for local, regional, and national training, and serves as a general umbrella organization for land trusts such as Western Reserve Land Conservancy. The Land Conservancy is a sponsor member of the Land Trust Alliance,

Management Agreement

A generally informal agreement entered into by the landowner and the land trust concerning how the property’s natural resources are to be managed.

Mortgage Subordination

When a mortgage holder subordinates a mortgage that precedes conservation easement in time the mortgage holder agrees to allow the easement to be considered as preceding the mortgage in the chain of title, so that in the event of a foreclosure of the mortgage, the ease­ment is unaffected.

Mutual Covenants

Several landowners mutually agree to restrict their land in an action that may not involve a land trust. Not necessarily permanent or binding on future owners. No income or estate tax benefits.

Nature Works

State grant program administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to support recreation areas. Provides up to 75 percent reimbursement for the acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of recreation areas.  Funded by the 1993 voter-approved Parks and Natural Resources Bond Issue.

Neighborhood Innovation Program (NIP)

Hardest Hit Fund money available for demolition and greening of blighted properties

Neighborhood Stabilization Team (NST)

A data system housed at Case Western Reserve University that harvests real estate related data from public records and provides the data in an accessible format for informed planning and decision-making by community leaders in Cuyahoga County

North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)

This program, administered by the USFWS, supports wetland conservation projects that benefit migratory birds and other wildlife associated with wetlands. Both the Standard and Small Grants programs of NAWCA require 1:1 partner match, not including other federal funding awards.

Northeast Ohio Community and Neighborhood Data for Organizing (NEOCANDO)

Part of the Center on Urban Poverty of Case Western Reserve University

Ohio Forest Tax Law (OFTL)

Forests enrolled in this program receive a 50 percent real estate tax reduction. A forest management plan is required as are regular commercial tree harvests.

Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA)

State agency tasked with administering Neighborhood Innovation Program

Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC)

State Agency that administers the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund. Funds are administered by the 19 OPWC districts and are primarily allocated to districts on a per-capita basis


An enforceable agreement by which one party has the legal right to buy certain property at a certain time at a specified price or on certain conditions, to the exclusion of other buyers.

Phase 1 Environmental Assessment

An inspection of real property based on interviews with those familiar with the history of the property, a search of public records and a physical walk over.  A Phase I Environmental Assessment is conducted in order to determine if a Phase II Environmental Assessment is appropriate.

Phase 2 Environmental Assessment

If the Phase I assessment yield evidence of one or more “recognized environmental conditions,” a Phase II assessment will be conducted. A Phase II assessment consists of sampling and analysis. It provides a much higher degree of certainty regarding the type and extent of contamination. It also provides a basis for estimating the cleanup costs.

Property Survey

Citywide inventory to determine occupancy status and condition of properties.

Purchase and Sale Agreement

A contract between a buyer and seller for the purchase of real estate, including all of the terms and conditions of the transaction.

Re-Imagining Cleveland

A vacant land reuse initiative that creates sustainable solutions to vacancy while building a movement of solidarity and stewardship.

Recreational Trails Program

An ODNR, Division of Real Estate and Land Management Program that provides up to 80 percent of project costs for urban trail facilities and linkages.

Reforest Our City

Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s program to plant and steward trees in Cleveland, thereby increasing the tree canopy.

Remainder Interest

An interest in real property that does not become possessory until the completion of a prior interest; for example, where a grantor deeds property subject to a “reserved life estate,” the grantee has an immediate real property interest but its type of use and possession of the land is dependent upon the death of the life tenant.

Reserved Life Estate

The possessory right retained by a landowner who conveys the remainder interest to another.

Restrictive Covenants

Used in many subdivisions, these regulate the use of property for the benefit of neighbors. They usually are enforceable only by the landowners involved and their heirs and successors-in-title.

Right of First Refusal

An agreement that obligates a landowner if he receives an offer to buy his land, to allow the party that holds the rights of first refusal to match the offered price and terms before the landowner is free to sell to the party making the offer.

Seller Financing

An agreement whereby the buyer of real property pays for a portion of the purchase price at closing and agrees to pay the landowner over time, often with interest.

Tenancy in Common

Ownership of property by two or more persons, but in which each holds an undivided interest in the whole that does not pass at death by survivorship of the other owner(s), but rather passes by devise to the heir(s) of the deceased tenant.

Testamentary Gift

Gift by will.

The Nature Conservancy is an international non-profit conservation organization.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s urban program.


The evidence of ownership of real property. Title refers to holding the bundle of rights conveyed.

Title Commitment

A title commitment is a document indicating the current state of title for a property, including the owner of record, easements, covenants, or liens affecting the property, as well as any defects or clouds on title.It represents a statement of the condition of title as of the date of its issuance.

Title Insurance

A policy of insurance issued by an insurer that protects the holder from any loss sustained because of defects in the state of title other than those stated and specifically excluded from the policy. Usually, in exchange for a one-time premium paid at the time of the transaction, the title insurance company will protect the buyer of the property against any losses incurred as a result of title defects for as long as he or she owns the property.

Tree Stewards

Neighborhood residents trained to provide care for newly planted trees.

Trust for Public Land (TPL)

Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit organization that protects parks and open space.

Urban Forestry

Urban forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide environmental services such as clean air and water. Trees cool cities and save energy; improve air quality; strengthen quality of place and local economies; reduce storm water runoff; improve social connections; complement smart growth; and create walkable communities. Urban forestry is the care and management of these forests and the advocacy of the role of trees as a critical part of urban infrastructure.

Urban Tree Canopy

The layer of leaves, branches, and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above.

Vacant and Abandoned Property Action Council (VAPAC)

A consortium of government and civic leaders working regionally on vacant property and delinquent tax issues.

Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF)

Funding program administered by the Ohio EPA Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA) in conjunction with the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP). Communities receiving Water Pollution Control Loan Funds (WPCLF) can reduce the total amount of money that is required to be paid back by 0.1 percent if they sponsor a qualified project that protects water resources. Part of the amount of money the community would otherwise pay as interest to WPCLF is used instead to pay for the WRRSP project. Ohio EPA approval is required for eligible projects.

Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP)

Funding program administered by the Ohio EPA Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA) in conjunction with the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF). Communities receiving Water Pollution Control Loan Funds (WPCLF) can reduce the total amount of money that is required to be paid back by 0.1 percent if they sponsor a qualified project that protects water resources. Part of the amount of money the community would otherwise pay as interest to WPCLF is used instead to pay for the WRRSP project. Ohio EPA approval is required for eligible projects.

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