Easements

Discretionary Easement

A restriction of open space land (that does not meet the criteria of RSA 79-A Current Use) which is granted to the town for a term of 10 or more years.

The land must demonstrate a public benefit and be accessible to the public. The owner must apply to the town on or before April 15th of the qualifying tax year on an application provided by the Department of Revenue Administration.

Such application shall include a map of the land subject to the discretionary easement, a description of how the property meets the test of public benefit in RSA 79-C:3, and an appraisal of the value of the easement to be conveyed.

Historic Barn Tax Incentive (RSA-79-D)

RSA 79-D authorizes the Town of Stratham to grant property tax relief to barn (and other agricultural structure) owners who (a) can demonstrate the public benefit of preserving their barns or other old farm buildings and (b) agree to maintain their structures throughout a minimum of ten (10) years. For this program, "historic agricultural structure" is defined as a barn or other structure, including the land on which it is built, which currently or formerly was used for agricultural purposes, and is at least 75 years old.

The 2002 law is based on widespread recognition that many of New Hampshire's old barns and other agricultural buildings are important local scenic landmarks and help tell the story of farming in the state’s history. Yet many of these historic structures are being demolished or not repaired because of the adverse impact of property taxes. RSA 79-D is intended to encourage barn owners to maintain and repair their buildings by granting them specific tax relief and assuring them that assessments will not be increased as a result of new repair and maintenance work.

On or before April 15th of the new tax year, an owner may seek relief by filing a PA–36-A Discretionary Preservation Easement Application. If, after a public hearing, the Board of Selectmen acts favorably on the application, they may grant tax relief within a range of a 25% to 75% reduction of the structure's full assessed value.

For further information or to obtain an application form, contact the Assessor's Office at (603) 772-7391 ext 184.