Champlain Area Trails (CATS) completed its first “tradeland” transaction at the end of 2016 when it accepted the gift of a 21-acre property in Crown Point and immediately sold it to fund its work to make trails and save land.
“Ray Asmar of Danbury, Connecticut contacted me in early 2016 about the property which he purchased in 1972,” said Chris Maron, CATS executive director in an announcement sent to the press. “He and his wife camped there occasionally but were now looking to find a new owner. Their children didn’t want it and selling it would have incurred capital gains taxes. So, he contacted me about donating it to us as a nature preserve. We inspected it and decided that although it was entirely forested, it didn’t meet our conservation criteria. I suggested he give it to us as a “tradeland” which we would sell and use the funds to advance our mission. He liked that idea because he could use the property for a beneficial purpose, get the tax benefits of donating the property at its current market value, and not be taxed for its increase in value if he sold it.”
Once Asmar agreed to the tradeland idea, CATS sought a contract with the next buyer before accepting the property. The organization contacted the neighboring property-owners with the idea that they would have a special interest because it would provide some privacy.
“I soon talked with Shawn Whitford, who lives with his wife Debbie, in a small lot along the property’s northern border,” Maron said. “It was perfect for them so we reached agreement on the sale and completed the transaction.”
“Adding this property to our home lot is wonderful,” said Shawn. “We agreed on a fair price, CATS made it an easy purchase, and now I can freely walk in the woods that have surrounded my house.”
“We thank the Asmars for their generous gift,” said Maron. “The funds from the transaction will help pay for new trails, like the Hemlock Hill Trail we’re opening soon in Westport. We encourage other landowners who might want to use their property as a tradeland to contact us.”
For more information on Champlain Area Trails visit their website.