Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Court Ruling Defends Preservation Easements

By Preservation Action

Over the past several years, the Internal Revenue Service has been actively challenging the donation of preservation easements to non-profit organizations. Citing a range of issues including the actual value of the donation, whether or not the easement is "exclusively for conservation purposes," as required in the law, or whether placing an easement on properties already subjected to the restrictions of local preservation ordinances have any value at all, the IRS aggressively started auditing donors - resulting in a substantial drop in easement donations.
A recent federal appeals court decision in a Washington DC case, Simmons v. Commissioner, should help to put many of the IRS's claims to rest. The case involved a property owner who donated the facades of two 19th century Italianate row-houses in the Logan Circle Historic District to an easement holding organization - the L'Enfant Trust. Among the issues raised by the IRS was their claim that because the L'Enfant Trust could actually approve changes to the facade and not simply mandate it remain in its current condition in perpetuity, that it did not count as being "exclusively for conservation purposes." They also took issue with the actual easement deeds because they contained provisions that permitted the easement holder to abandon the easement, and they did not clearly outline a process by which the easement would be transferred elsewhere should the holding entity cease to exist.
On all counts the court ruled against the IRS. This, coupled with an earlier tax court decision that the IRS did not appeal that invalidated the argument that easements donated on properties located in protected historic districts have no value, should help to set a stronger precedent in future cases and help deter the IRS from pursuing its attack on donations made to legitimate organizations.
For more information, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has posted a more in-depth article here.

Distinctive Women in Hawaiian History Program 5th Annual Program

Distinctive Women in Hawaiian History Program will hold its 5th Annual Program to celebrate the rich history of Hawaii’s women. The celebration, presented by the Hawai`i Council for the Humanities, will be held on Saturday, October 29th at the Hawaii Convention Center. Our themes: ancient women of Hawai`i and women activists. Please join/register at http://www.distinctivewomenhawaii.org/

The program will include an amazing hula performance by Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakāne with Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu interpreting the roles of nā wāhine kanaka maoli (native women). It has mythology, Hawaiian culture, extraordinary choreography, humor, and the excitement of well-told, fast-moving stories. Kumu Patrick is also a panelist in a follow-on presentation. Topics range from local female activists during the women's suffrage movement, Mormon missionary women, Princess Nahinu Kamehaokalani, and moving WWII era stories that include Korean activist Dora Moon, public health nurse Harriet Kuwamoto, and social worker Jennie Lee In. And there’s poetry, paying homage to women in transition with detours and mid-life reinventions.

The Distinctive Women in Hawaiian History Program has partnered with Mission Houses Museum to offer a 20% discount price to Mission Houses’ Spookilau, a unique paranormal event that evening in downtown Honolulu. The Spookilau 20% off discount is only available from the Distinctive Women web site.

For more information, contact
Jamie Conway
Program Director & Founder


Applications Due September 30

August 30, 2011: Applications are now being accepted for projects under the City and County of Honolulu Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund.

For more information about the fund and the grant application process, please go to http://www1.honolulu.gov/council/cbc/cwnl.htm

The fund was established to protect land through acquisition of fee title or conservation easements on O’ahu. Applications are due September 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm. Applications must be submitted as follows:
• Submit one copy electronically via e-mail to cclbc@honolulu.gov
• Once you have submitted your electronic copy, you must also deliver two (2) hard copies of the completed application and a soft copy of the application (CD-ROM, diskette, flash drive) to the City Council’s Office at the following address:
Clean Water & Natural Lands Commission
Attn: Council Liaison
Honolulu Hale
530 South King Street, Room 202
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Applications will be reviewed by the Commission Clean Water and Natural Lands Commission, which will make recommendations to the City Council on projects to be funded by the Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund. Final selection of projects to be funded will be made by the City Council as part of the annual budget process.
The Commission’s has established an application that ranks applications according to the purposes of the fund. These purposes include:
• protection of watershed lands to preserve water quality and water supply
• preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas and agricultural lands
• public outdoor recreation and education, including access to beaches and mountains
• preservation of historic or culturally important land areas and sites
• protection of significant habitats or ecosystems, including buffer zones
• conservation of land in order to reduce erosion, floods, landslides, and runoff
• acquisition of public access to public land and open space

The Commission also considers factors such as the degree of urgency, financial support from other sources, and how a proposed project relates to the city’s existing budgetary or other priorities.

Background In 2006, Honolulu voters approved a charter amendment that set aside a portion of real property tax revenues for land conservation. In 2007, the Council established the Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund (Ordinance 07-18) and the Commission (Reso. 07-355 CD1). The Commission was established to advise the City Council on the use and expenditure of these funds.

Past Projects The City Council has approved a total of six outstanding Oahu land conservation projects in the first three cycles of applications to this Fund. The Council encourages the public to work with the Commission through the application process and to provide input that will assist it in making its recommendations to the Council. To date, the City Council has approved acquisition of the following conservation projects: Kukaniloko, Sunset Ranch, Honouliuli Preserve, Kunia Agricultural Research Station, the Fong Plantation, and the Hawea Heiau/Keawawa wetland. The Sunset Ranch conservation project received $600,000 from the fund in fiscal year 2010.


Community input needed on interpretation of Kawainui-Hamakua history and resources

For the past 6 years, Ho‘olaulima ia Kawainui has been gathering background information on Kawainui-Hāmākua marsh and park in Kailua on the windward side of O‘‘ahu to be used in the development of an interpretive plan.

The organization has inventoried the natural and cultural resources, developed some interpretive themes (messages), identified the potential audience, and gathered information about various interpretive techniques. The group plans to share this information with the community and seek input on the interpretive opportunities and ask the public to share what they would like to see at Kawainui. The input they receive will allow them to move forward with the interpretive planning process and communicate with the Department of Land and Natural Resources as it develops a master plan.

Six public outreach meetings will be held in the Kailua (O‘ahu) community in September-November. Please join one or more of these meetings to share your thoughts and explore ways to share the special resource of Kawainui-Hamakua with the community and visitors.

Meeting Schedule:
Maunawili - Pohakupi - Kukanono Communities -- Tues., Sept. 13, 7:00 p.m. at Trinity Church, 875 Auloa Road, Kailua
Keolu - Enchanted Lake Communities -- Sat., Sept. 17, 10:00 a.m. at Enchanted Lake Elementary School, 770 Keolu Drive, Kailua
Kalāheo - Aikahi -- Wed., Oct. 5, 6:30pm at Kalāheo High School Cafeteria
Keolu - Enchanted Lake -- Thurs., Oct. 20, 7:00pm at St. John Vianney’s Social Hall, 920 Keolu Drive, Kailua
Lanikai -- Thurs., Oct. 27, 7:00pm at Lanikai Park, A‘alapapa Drive, Kailua
Kainalu - Kailua Beach -- Tues., Nov. 8, 6:30pm at St. Anthony’s Church, Kalāheo Avenue & Makawao Street, Kailua