Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Small is Beautiful Fair Grinds meeting details

I think the land trust issue is one we could (and maybe should stay on) for a few more meetings. I hope we can meet in mid December, if the middle Wednesday works for some/most/ let's do it (at 5:45 again?).
Fair Grinds again is best for now, until we find another Uptown location. But let me thank Robert (and Elizabeth for being on call for Robert while he was in the meeting) for the use of their place once again; we love coming, we just want to make sure that our Uptown friends don't have to travel so far every meeting!
To clarify a point from last night:
land trusts are not a non-taxable entity usually; the way many of them work is to BUY the land from the city or the seller (so the city makes money whether its a developer or a land trust) and then-from money raised among members and earned income from rent on land trusts or sale of right of use to make improvements- the land trust has money to make tax payments if needed.
Sometimes, innovative assessors see the value of the land trust and reduces the tax burden as they understand that to assess a non-sellable asset is a little crazy, but mostly, land trusts continue to pay assessments as a property owner as anyone else would.
This is the main reason why people do not need to fear working with their city or town government on these; there is no special deal being asked and it is a well traveled legal road already.

The argument that this is a all or nothing argument is interesting (the idea of large pieces of land being made land trusts at once), because I think what I have seen is land trusts work best when in mixed use areas, with smart development happening around them and for a variety of uses, like affordable rental property, farmland preservation and wildlife and natural habitats.

Let's continue this conversation and I will make some copies of land trusts from other places for the next meeting.

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