Jackass Ridge protection deal signed | SierraSun.com
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Jackass Ridge protection deal signed

DARIN OLDE, Sierra Sun

Local conservationists and Truckee’s Cabona family have signed an agreement that will permanently protect 68 acres of land adjacent to Truckee from future development.

The agreement, which was signed in late December, describes the donation of conservation easements on the land known as Jackass Ridge to the Truckee Donner Land Trust, a local land preservation group.

The land formation, which stretches from behind the Albertsons/Longs shopping center west to Coldstream Canyon, held an estimated development value of $1.5 million.

With the easement donation and development restriction, the land value decreases to approximately $60,000, said Truckee Donner Land Trust Communications Director Kris Norris.

By donating the easements to a nonprofit and reducing the land’s value, the Cabona family will receive significant income tax exemption benefits. The Internal Revenue Service measures the difference of value of the property with full development rights against restricted development rights and allows easement donors to write-off up to 30 percent of this value over a six month period. Additionally, the family is free of future estate tax obligations on the easement property.

“There aren’t that many ridges that aren’t developed right now,” said Perry Norris, Land Trust executive director. “If you walk out of Safeway (Jackass Ridge) is what you’re seeing. It plays an important role in defining the character of the town.”

Norris also said the ridge complements the recent acquisition of Schallenberger Ridge, a mountainous ridge just to the west. In combination, the two ridges form a continuous southern vista to the southwest, a view that Stefanie Olivieri feels is critical in preserving the wilderness character of the area.

Olivieri, who is a descendent of and spokeswoman for the Cabona family, will retain ownership rights on the land. She has only donated development rights, which will be owned and enforced by the land trust for perpetuity.

Land owners can decide what kind of development restrictions they want to place on their land, and in this case, Olivieri chose the most restrictive.

“I always wanted to preserve it,” Olivieri said. “It is a very important scenic vista from many vantage points in the town.”

During the first phase of the land use transition, the easement on the Nevada County portion of the parcel, totaling 44.6 acres, was signed and donated in December 2000. The remaining easements, located in Placer County and amounting to 22.5 acres, will be donated in the next six years.

The donation has been two years in the making. Botanical and biological studies were initiated in 1998, which concluded the area is inhabited by numerous indigenous species. But that was only one of the delays. Olivieri said she had a difficult time getting an appraisal because there are very few similar properties.

“It took us over a year (for the appraisal),” Olivieri added.

Olivieri used to ride horses on the property and fish as a child. She bought the land from Art Linkletter’s daughter in 1978.

“(Jackass Ridge is) a great, great gift to the town,” Norris said, “especially now that there is so much development pressure.”


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