WHEN A LOCAL ARCHITECT SEEKS A MOUNTAIN RETREAT AND DISCOVERS THE IDEAL PROPERTY THAT HE IS UNABLE TO FINANCE ENTIRELY ON HIS OWN, NORTH AMERICAN LAND TRUST PROVIDES A SOLUTION. IN CONTRAST TO A 1998 DEVELOPMENT PLAN CALLING FOR OVER 100 HOME SITES ON THE PARCEL, NALT DEVELOPS A PLAN THAT PRESERVES MORE THAN 310-ACRES OF THE PROPERTY AND CREATES INCENTIVES FOR THE ARCHITECT TO FIND LIKE-MINDED INVESTORS. IN THE END, THE NEW INVESTORS ARE PROVIDED HOMESTEADS FOR THEIR OWN USE AND A SIGNIFICANT CHARITABLE DEDUCTION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE OPEN SPACE.

THE CHALLENGE

Intent on building a mountain home for his family, an architect searches for a unique mountain property in the hills of North Carolina Naturally the architect is pleased when he discovers the optimal location in secluded wilderness atop a mountain. The first challenge, however, is in financing all 360-acres without developing the lands to their maximum potential.

THE SOLUTION

Working with the Trust a solution for the architect is presented. The solution involves an investment vehicle that allows the friends of the architect also interested in a mountain property, to invest with the architect and receive charitable contributions for eliminating allowable housing units, yet gaining an outstanding house site and a profit from their investment. After securing a sales agreement and calculating the cost to improve the property, several conservation investors, with the assistance of the architect's attorney, form a limited partnership.

"In the limited development concept," says the architect, "select home sites are permitted, while most of the land is permanently preserved. The size of the home sites becomes less important as long as they are enough to provide for a home and associated improvements. With surrounding land restricted from future development by conservation easements, a home owner does not need to own large acreages to be assured of protection from encroachment."

Some key elements
of the final plan include:

1 Minimizing the need for new roads by making use of pre-existing access routes;

2 Working with the land's natural formations to avoid excessive clearing and grading;

3 Protecting environmentally sensitive areas, and

4 Creating house sites in locations offering great views while complimenting the mountain's topography.