Land Transaction Procedures Approved July 17, 2012

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1 Land Transaction Procedures Approved July 17, 2012 Purpose: The Greenbelt Land Trust (GLT) acquires fee title or conservation easements for lands to fulfill its mission to conserve and protect in perpetuity native habitats, working lands and lands of natural beauty, which provide a connection to the natural world for the residents of the mid-willamette Valley in Benton, Polk, Linn and Marion Counties. These guidelines outline the procedures that GLT Staff, Lands Committee (LC), Executive Committee (EC) and the Board follow as Greenbelt Land Trust considers taking on a new project and navigating through the transaction process. While these steps should guide GLT s review of all acquisition opportunities, we recognize that each property and each project and funding source has unique features that may require deviation from this approach when necessary. We also recognize that the acquisition procedures will need to be modified and updated from time to time to address new challenges and requirements. This document complements GLT s Conservation Easement and Land Acquisition Policy, and Strategic and Conservation Plans. It assists the staff, Board, and landowners in understanding the basic due diligence steps for a land transaction. STAGE I: PROJECT IDENTIFICATION AND INITIAL EVALUATION 1. Steps taken after first call or office visit by landowner interested in an easement or fee simple transaction- Staff completes landowner questionnaire (details on property, general landowner expectations if any) Staff reviews conservation options (re: easement, fee simple or some other option) with landowner Staff makes decision to move or not move the project to next steps and records contact information in landowner database 2. Public documents gathered by Staff in preparation for site visit- Location maps Assessor s data and maps Zoning maps Aerial photos Topographic, soils, streams and other landform maps Other relevant documents provided by the landowner

2 3. The Staff initiates site visits with the landowner and reviews with them the topics below during the initial visit- Review of conservation values on the property and explanation to landowner that not all lands will fit the priorities of GLT Funding needs and tax incentives for donated properties (if appropriate) GLT s land stewardship responsibilities for properties under its protection Various approaches for protecting lands, including conservation easements and fee simple acquisition Staff makes an initial decision to move or not move the project to the next step and informs the landowner of this decision 4. Staff develops Project Evaluation report after review of following items- Input on quality and importance of property from partners Public purpose test Conservation values and threats relative to strategic priorities Priorities described in GLT s mission and relationship to existing lands portfolio Acquisition options (fee simple or conservation easement) Long-term stewardship, monitoring, or restoration needs and estimate costs and funding options Landscape level connections (good and bad) Estimate of cost of property (for both fee simple title or easement) and project funding options Estimate of expenses for due diligence Staff provides monthly informational updates to the Board on current and future projects STAGE II: DETERMINATION TO PURSUE PROPERTY 5. Presentation and discussion with Lands Committee- Staff reviews project with Lands Committee chair Lands Committee Chair and Staff review project with Lands Committee and works with Staff to schedule site visit for Committee members Committee recommends to pursue or not pursue the project Executive Director takes LC recommendation to EC and outlines reasons to pursue the project or not in an or letter to EC For properties that will not be pursued by GLT, Executive Director informs landowners in writing of GLT s decision and the rationale for that decision. The letter may also provide the landowner with other options (if any) that they may consider to reach their conservation goals For properties selected for potential acquisition, staff prioritizes property in relation to existing acquisition priorities and funding options STAGE III: IN-DEPTH PROJECT EVALUATION AND DUE DILIGENCE 6. Lands Committee referral to Executive Committee (EC) and Board- Staff evaluates time frame to actively pursue project with EC Staff and LC Chair review project with the Board

3 Board votes to accept or not accept the project and, if accepted, approves initial expenditures for due diligence and considerations of option agreements 7. Preliminary contact with potential funding sources if needed- Staff discusses potential project attributes and identifies potential funding source Staff clarifies funding application and award timelines 8. Staff provides landowner with letter of GLT interest and conservation options that include- GLT due diligence process and long-term stewardship funding needs Likely property valuations and landowner expectation prior to incurring due diligence expenses Guidance on appraisal needs and options Recommendation that landowner seek independent legal and tax advice Potential time frame for completion of transaction Requirement that all liens on title can be subordinated Requirement that landowner is agreeable to work on all problem exceptions to title 9. Initial due diligence work with landowner related to easement terms, option agreement and stewardship funding- Staff begins discussion of easement prohibitions and exceptions with landowner Staff calculates stewardship fund needs, identifying amount needed through landowner contribution and/or other sources GLT attorney reviews letter-of- intent or option-to-purchase agreement. This agreement must identify landowner s contribution to the stewardship fund if any, anticipated range of property value, and how funds for property are to be acquired, as well as an estimated timeframe for completion of purchase option 10. Preliminary Title Report review- Staff reviews report with representative of title company and attorney Staff consults with attorney on problematic exceptions to title Staff updates LC, EC, and Board on progression of discussions with landowner, Title Report and likely funding options and timelines Board approves final due diligence costs and project STAGE IV: FINAL DUE DILIGENCE 11. Development of application for funding, if applicable- Project background materials provided to fundraising staff Stewardship and Lands staff provide input and review funding application materials 12. Initiation of real estate due diligence- Staff resolves problematic exceptions to title Staff initiates Environmental Hazards Assessment (Phase I), develops Statement of Work (SOW) seeks bids/estimates, and sets timelines. If land audit suggests that a Phase II is needed the Staff seeks guidance from the EC Staff develops Statement of Work for appraisals, seeks bids/estimates from appraisers (including completion timeline) and commissions appraisal

4 Staff contacts landowner via or letter about the appraisal review and gets clearance for access to property for land audits, surveys, appraisal site visit etc Staff obtains legal descriptions and determines if survey is necessary, determines who is responsible for providing survey, and develops SOW for survey work and commissions work if needed Staff reviews appraisal with landowner. If not approved by landowner the Staff reviews options with EC. Staff sends appraisal to funders for review if values approved by landowner Resolve any access, water rights and existing easement issues 14. Complete cultural resource clearance if needed- Lands staff works with funding agency to resolve cultural resource compliance 15. Staff completes conservation easement with landowners/third party holders, if appropriate, after review by GLT Attorney and funding agencies/organization. 16. Final land transaction materials to be completed- Staff completes appraisal review with funding agency Stewardship staff prepares baseline documentation and provides to funder and landowner for review Staff assists funding agency with public review process if required. Staff resolves any lot line adjustments or land use issues with County and/or City Staff completes Required Habitat Documentation or other documentation directed by grant funder, if needed Staff completes revised purchase agreement with review by funders if needed Staff completes any grant agreements with funding agencies 17. Staff complete purchase agreement with landowner after legal review STAGE V: ACQUISITION PHASE CONCLUSION 18. Escrow process and closing actions- Staff provide escrow instructions (or assist funding agency in providing those instructions) to title company GLT and/or funding agency pays closing costs and fees Stewardship funds are secured or identified GLT and/or funding agency completes conditions to closing Staff informs EC member (signatory) and landowner about date/time for closing Staff makes sure that the agreement and supporting documents are signed by all parties including EC member Staff records documents GLT purchases title insurance policy in amount of full appraised value or portion of property encumbered by conservation easement 19. Outreach and public announcements actions- Staff sends announcement to neighbors of property being acquired by GLT Staff prepares press release, after review by funding agencies

5 Staff distributes press release Staff updates Web-site Staff prepares newsletter and other outreach materials Staff plans and coordinates property closing event 20. Staff will archive final transaction documents including- Copies of recorded conservation easement with exhibits, deed to files, grant agreements, title and closing documents; originals to safe Receipt of title insurance policy; originals to safe Receipt of certificate of insurance (liability) or additional insured endorsement; originals to safe Receipt of IRS Form 8283, if applicable; originals to safe Funding applications and related documents filed electronically Land use documents; originals to safe Donor acknowledgement letter of stewardships donation provided, if applicable; originals to safe. Application for property tax changes on fee title lands, if applicable; originals to safe 21. Staff will complete draft management plan within 18 months of acquisition or during the timeframe required by the easement or funding agency Approved by majority vote of the Board of Directors on this day of Seymour House, Board Vice-President

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