How restrictive is an easement?

An easement restricts development or use to the degree that the owner and land trust deems appropriate to protect the significant values of that particular property. Sometimes, this totally prohibits development. Sometimes it only limits it.

If the goal is to preserve a pristine natural area, for example, an easement may prohibit subdivision and all construction, as well as activities that would alter the land’s present natural condition. If the goal is to protect agricultural land, an easement may only restrict subdivision and development while allowing for structures and activities necessary for and compatible with the agricultural operation. Even the most restrictive easements usually permit landowners to continue all ownership priviledges consistent with restrictions.