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Retiree Wants To Preserve Old Farm

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Retiree wants to preserve old farm

Mar 2 7 2001



A Scio Township retiree is looking for a conservation-minded person to buy his 200-acre farm.

The kicker is that the buyer can’t develop it.

The buyer is seeking a price in the seven-figure range. The properly comes with a historic farmhouse and 150-year-old barns and outbuildings, frontage on Honey Creek, wildlife habitat, wetlands and mature woods.

So, why not just advertise with a real estate agent? Well, the properly owner did that. For two years.

But most of the nibbles he got were from Oakland County developers looking to tear down, subdivide and develop a bunch of houses, said Barry Lonik, director of the Washtenaw Potawatomi Land Trust. Loink has been screening potential buyers for the 87-year-old seller, who wishes to remain anonymous.

The unusual selling arrangement highlights the increasing concern over rapid development in southeast Michigan, and it’s a good example of an emerging technique to conserve land.

“This is an interesting new concept and a tool, almost a strategy,” said Melissa Soule, communications director for the Michigan Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. “We call it a conservation buyer program. The seller gets a tax break and the good news for the environment is the land is forever protected.”

The plan is this: Once a buyer is identified, the seller and buyer will agree on terms of a conservation easement to ensure the land cannot be developed. The land will then be sold with the easement in place.

For more information, call (734) 426-3669 or e-mail

'We call it a conservation buyer program. The seller gets a tax break and ... the land is forever protected.'

-- Melissa Soule, Michigan Chapter of the Nature Conservancy

Tracy Davis can be reached at or (734) 994-6856.