Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Berkshire Community Land Trust and Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires?

BCLT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit able to receive tax-deductible donations of money, land, and property, as well as grants from foundations and government. CLTSB is not a 501(c)(3) and does not receive tax-deductible donations, nor can it apply for grants. BCLT and CLTSB have the same guiding principles, the same board structure, shared board members, shared membership and shared office infrastructure. However, BCLT is a countywide organization formed to develop and support community land trusts serving smaller regions within the county. CLTSB serves only the towns and villages in south county. This approach enables the consolidation of administrative activities and expenses without losing the local voice of our grassroots.

What do you mean by community-owned land?

On behalf of the community, the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires (CLTSB) purchases or is given land beneath a home, farm, or business, and holds that land in perpetuity. Those who own buildings and other improvements on the land enter into a land lease agreement with CLTSB. The land lease specifies the terms by which the lease holder occupies the land. The terms of the lease may address economic goals such as affordability, or environmental goals such as organic land care, or social goals such as providing homes specifically for the elderly or farmers. In this way the terms of the land lease for community-owned land enable the community to allocate the land for strategic purposes.

What do you mean by permanently affordable?

Affordability is relative to the local economy. The Community Land Trust in the Souther Berkshires (CLTSB) ensures permanent affordability through the terms of the land lease. The land lease specifies a formula for calculating the purchase/sale price of the property on CLTSB land. The formula determines the replacement cost of the buildings and other improvements and then adjusts that number for deterioration (current condition). This approach removes the land value from the price of improvements and aligns the sale price with local wages and materials cost. Removing the land value from the price reduces buyer debt.

What is a land lease?

A land lease is a contract between CLTSB and the leaseholder that controls occupancy of the land. The land lease is for 98 years. It is renewable, transferrable and inheritable. It includes a resale formula to determine the sale price when the leaseholder decides to sell buildings and other improvements on the land. CLTSB holds the option to repurchase improvements at resale.

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