Heritage Farm Park

CORE Initiative Grants

The CORE initiative will educate property owners about what is involved in placing a conservation/preservation easement on their property. Grants, designed to help preserve open space and historic structures in Oak Ridge, will be available to help offset the costs of these easements.

Conserving Oak Ridge through Easements (CORE) Initiative


The CORE (Conserving Oak Ridge through Easements) Initiative is an innovative program with two goals: to educate property owners about how easements can preserve open space and historic structures, and to offer grant funds to offset the cost of putting such easements in place.

What is a conservation/preservation easement?

A conservation or preservation easement is a legal agreement between a property owner and an easement-holding organization such as Piedmont Land Conservancy or Preservation North Carolina. Easements are completely voluntary and can’t be made without the property owner’s approval. Once placed on a property, an easement remains in place in perpetuity, regardless of changes in ownership.

Easements limit the future use of the property in specific ways. For example, open space easements can allow trails and recreational use, protect key landscape features, and prohibit residential or commercial development. Historic structure easements can allow interior changes and modern additions, while protecting the historic structure and prohibiting demolition.

Easement terms are detailed in the easement agreement and are recorded with the property deed. Because of their complexity, easements typically take a minimum of six months to finalize.

Compliance with the easement terms is monitored by the organization that holds the easement (for example, Piedmont Land Conservancy or Preservation North Carolina),

What costs do CORE Grants cover?  

The partner organization holding the easement – either Piedmont Land Conservancy or Preservation North Carolina – charges an up-front fee for monitoring the property in perpetuity to make sure that the terms of the easement are enforced. This fee varies based on the size of the property, its value, and the extent of the use restrictions, but can range from $5,000 to $15,000. CORE Grants can cover up to the full cost of this monitoring fee, which is paid directly to the partner organization holding the easement (Piedmont Land Conservancy or Preservation North Carolina). The cost of property surveys, related documentation and recording, and title insurance may be eligible for grant reimbursement. Appraisal fees and personal legal fees are not eligible for grant reimbursement and must be paid by the property owner.

How can I learn more?

A press release announcing the CORE Initiative is available here. An information sheet describing the CORE Grants is linked below. Oak Ridge residents interested in pursuing an easement for open space or historic properties are encouraged to call Town Hall at 336.644.7009.

For information about how our partner organizations manage easements, visit Piedmont Land Conservancy’s website at www.piedmontland.org/how/ (for open space easements) or Preservation North Carolina’s website at http://www.presnc.org/get-help/easements-covenants/­ (primarily for easements on historic structure).