What is easement “baseline documentation?”Updated 2/21/2008
Baseline documentation refers to the set of photographs, site plans, floor plans, and other materials that record the condition of a historic property at the time an easement is put in place. Preservation easements address changes to existing conditions of a particular historic property. Consequently, it is important that the easement-holding organization and the easement donor or subsequent owner understand fully the significant historic or architectural features protected by the easement, and that they agree on the condition of those features at the time of the easement donation.
In order to fulfill these requirements, a preservation easement generally incorporates, by reference, “baseline” documentation establishing these features. This documentation is generally in the form of photographic documentation, textual descriptions of significant historic features and their conditions, and maps and plats of the property. In many cases, this documentation describes different characteristics of the property that may require different treatment under the easement – for example, an interior plan may denote areas that are subject to design review by the easement-holding organization and other areas that are not restricted.
The baseline documentation is typically created in duplicate with a copy retained both by the owner and the easement-holder. In the case of a conflict, the copy held by the easement-holding organization controls.