Ann Arbor Township completes conservation easement purchase

The Ann Arbor Township Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program recently closed on a conservation easement purchase from Cynthia Stiles and Eric Kaldjian.

The property is 41 acres in size with frontage on the north side of Warren Rd.  It features 17 acres of prime and locally important agricultural soils in production, along with 12 acres of mature woods and 11 acres of wetlands.  The property connects two other protected parcels (including one owned by Cindy and Eric) creating a block of 637 contiguous acres immediately north of Ann Arbor.  The conservation easement ensures that the land will never be developed but it remains in private ownership and is not open to the public.

Cindy and Eric acquired this property in 2018.  Cindy spent Summers on a farm in Iowa as a child and is especially interested in heirloom wheat and other grains to be milled into flour for baking.  Eric grew up little more than a mile away from the property and rode his bicycle down Warren Road as a boy.  They plan to continue agricultural use of the land as part of their sustainable organic agriculture enterprise primarily located on their adjacent land on the south side of Warren Rd., and to maintain and enhance its natural features.

Conservation easements are permanent deed restrictions on the use of a property.  Purchasing easements costs less than buying the property, and keeps the property on the tax rolls and contributing to the local economy.

In addition to Ann Arbor Township, funding support was supplied by the Washtenaw County Natural Area Preservation Program, the Ann Arbor Greenbelt program and the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program through the Resource Conservation Partnership Program.

Ann Arbor Township’s land preservation program is funded by a dedicated millage which voters passed in 2003 with 80% support.  The Township has attracted over $8.6 million of matching funds from other sources, a rate of $2 to $1 of its own.  With this project the Township program has been involved in protecting 1,284 acres.