Open Space Acquisitions

Open Space Acquisitions

Parks and Open Space staff strive to acquire land that meet the following criteria:

  • Land threatened by development that is near or adjacent to existing open space
  • Prime agricultural land
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Riparian and scenic corridors
  • Land that could provide trail connections

Types of Acquisitions

Fee Ownership by Direct Purchase

This is the most common method of purchase, allowing the county to obtain full ownership of land and water rights.

Conservation Easements

The county acquires conservation easements that restrict the use and development of the property without purchasing the property.

The county acquires a deed of conservation that restricts the use and development of the property without purchasing the property. The land remains privately owned, so the landowner retains the right to use the land and all the management responsibilities. More about Conservation Easements.

Joint City and County Purchases

The county works cooperatively with other cities and towns on joint open space purchases and conservation easements.


The owner donates the land or a Conservation Easements on the land to the county and may use the donated value as a tax deduction.

Purchase Without Development Rights

The county purchases the property, but the owner retains the development rights for transfer to another property.

Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs)

An owner transfers residential development rights from an approved agricultural property to an approved receiving site. The county receives a conservation easement over the sending property (the approved agricultural property in this example). More about the Transferable Development Rights (TDR) Program.

Subdivision Dedication

A developer dedicates land to the county for parks or open space when the land is subdivided for development.

Bargain Sales

The owner sells the property to the county at a purchase price below appraised market value.

Purchase Leaseback Agreements

After purchase, the county agrees to lease agricultural land back to the seller for a specified time to continue farming.

Intergovernmental Transfers

The county leases and manages other governmental land, such as lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or State Land Board.

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