Less than six months after inviting donors to contribute parcels to The Paradise Valley Mountain Preserve Trust, the group has received acres worth multi-millions to benefit the public.
In addition to a recent anonymous donor’s contribution of a 1.4-acre parcel near Foothill Drive, a Paradise Valley resident, Christa Berlanti, recently donated two Conservation Easements totaling 1.76 acres.
“I think it’s very important to both provide a preserve environment for reasons of perpetuity. This is what has encouraged me to donate a portion of the land to the preserve. It is a win-win situation all around and a very worthwhile endeavor,” said Ms. Berlanti.
She said she has lived in- and-around Paradise Valley and Phoenix, including the Camelback Mountain, hillside areas for the past 25 years, and appreciates seeing and experiencing nature, both plant and animal.
“Given the current concerns about spreading the Coronavirus, walking in nature is a perfect activity, which is another reason to preserve and add to the mountain preserve trust,” she said.
“The primary objective is to preserve contiguous, beautiful mountain hillside areas for everyone’s enjoyment and I was fortunate and happy to be able to contribute to this goal.”
Last fall, The Paradise Valley Mountain Preserve Trust invited former and potential donors including owners of land that the Preserve Trust was said to be “interested in acquiring and would qualify for a donation to the Trust” to an intimate cocktail party, showcasing the current preserve areas, the objectives of the trust and addressing the process and effect of donating an easement from an individual land owners’ point of view.
“We believe that the three donations, from two individual town residents, were the direct result of our renewed commitment to provide potential donors with the information needed to their decision and to help them navigate the unfamiliar IRS regulations,” Paradise Valley Mountain Preserve Trust Chairman Fred Pakis said.
The Trust, which he said has over 240 acres under its stewardship, operates as an independently governed Land Trust that is separate from the administration of the Town of Paradise Valley.
Mr. Pakis thanks people who donated land to the Paradise Valley Mountain Trust as the land is noted as “some of the most sought-after land in all of Arizona and to have conservation here is remarkable,” he said at the gathering, where Pat Graham, The Nature Conservancy in Arizona executive director, explained how popular the Phoenix metropolitan area is amongst places in America.
Also, previously published: “When you give to the Paradise Valley Mountain Preserve it will stay in its existing condition --- no hiking and no trails. It will stay in its natural condition,” said Paradise Valley Councilwoman Julie Pace, who has served as Town Council liaison for the Mountain Preserve.
The current federal tax law and the town’s hillside building ordinances encourage contributions by providing a generous tax deduction against all income, subject to a qualified appraisal, and by allowing the donated area to be included and available for total allowed building area calculations for house construction purposes, alleviating any potential concerns or negative effects the donations.
Mr. Pakis told the gathered patrons of the Mountain Preserve of new efforts underway.
“We have expanded our efforts to working with the town on the hillside ordinances to make the conservation of entitlement much easier . . . the [Town] can now provide a conservation easement. And, the Town has approved a fitting monument to recognize the families who have given land,” he said.
The Paradise Valley Mountain Preserve Trust was founded in 1997 with a mission to preserve the natural landscape, desert plants, wildlife, and scenic beauty of the mountain areas within and surrounding the Town of Paradise Valley.
Last year, Town officials, led by Ms. Pace and Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner, challenged the Trust to re-energize its efforts by launching an awareness campaign of the Town’s renewed commitment to protect in perpetuity the mountain heritage of Paradise Valley.
Go to pvmpt.org.