CHAPTER 552

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 413

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 3

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 69, TITLE 7 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CONSERVATION; AND PROVIDING FOR A UNIFORM CONSERVATION EASEMENT ACT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Chapter 69, Title 7 of the Delaware Code by striking said chapter in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"CHAPTER 69. CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

§6901. Definitions

As used in this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Conservation easement" means a non-possessory interest of a holder in real property imposing limitations or affirmative obligations, the purposes of which include retaining or protecting natural, scenic, or open-space values of real property, assuring its availability for agricultural, forest, recreational, or open-space use, protecting natural resources, fish and wildlife habitat, rare species and natural communities maintaining or enhancing air or water quality, or preserving the historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural aspects of real property.

(2) "Holder" means:

(i) a governmental body empowered to hold an interest in real property under the laws of this State or of the United States;

(i) a charitable corporation, charitable association, or charitable trust, the purposes or powers of which include retaining or protecting the natural, scenic, or open-space values of real property; assuring the availability of real property for agricultural, forest, recreational, or open-space use; protecting natural resources; maintaining or enhancing air or water quality; or preserving the historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural aspects of real property.

(3) "Third-party right of enforcement" shall mean a right provided in a conservation easement to enforce any of its terms, and which is granted to a governmental body, charitable corporation, charitable association, or charitable trust which, although eligible to be a holder, is not a holder,

§6902. Creation. Conveyance. Acceptance and Duration

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, a conservation easement may be created, conveyed, recorded, assigned, released, modified, terminated, or otherwise altered or affected in the same manner as other easements.

(b) No right or duty in favor of or against a holder, and no right in favor of a person having a third-party right of enforcement, arises under a conservation easement before its acceptance by the holder and a recordation of that acceptance.

(c) Except as provided in §6903(b), a conservation easement is unlimited in duration unless the instrument creating it otherwise provides.

(d) An interest in real property in existence at the time a conservation easement is created is not impaired by it, unless the owner of the interest is a party to the conservation easement or consents to it.

§6903. Judicial Actions

(a) An action affecting a conservation easement may he brought by:

(1) an owner of an interest in the real property burdened by the easement;

(2) a holder of the easement;

(3) a person having a third-party right of enforcement: or

(4) a person authorized by other law.

(b) This Chapter does not affect the power of a court to modify or terminate a conservation easement in accordance with the principles of law and equity.

§6904. Validity

A conservation easement is valid even though:

(1) it is not appurtenant to an interest in real property;

(2) it can be or has been assigned to another holder;

(3) it is not of a character that has been recognized traditionally at common law:

(4) it imposes a negative burden;

(5) it imposes affirmative obligations upon the owner of an interest in the burdened property or upon the holder;

(6) the benefit does not touch or concern real property: or

(7) there is no privity of estate or of contract.

§6905. Applicability

(a) This Chapter applies to any interest, created alter its effective date, which complies with this Chapter, whether or not such interest is designated as a conservation easement. covenant, equitable servitude, restriction, easement, or otherwise.

(a) This Chapter applies to any interest created before its effective date if it would lime been enforceable had it been created after its effective data unless such retroactive application contravenes the constitution or laws of this State or the United States.

(b) This Chapter does not invalidate any interest, whether designated as a conservation or preservation casement or as a covenant, equitable servitude. restriction, easement, or as a covenant. that is enforceable under other law of this State.

Section 2. This Act does not invalidate any interest, whether designated as a conservation easement, preservation easement, covenant, equitable servitude, restriction, or other interest in land which was established under Chapter 69 of 'Fide 7 prior to the effective date of this Act.

Section 3. This Act may be known and referred to as the Uniform Conservation Easement Act.

Approved July 8, 1996