Lakeland firm closes more than $36 million in conservation easement deals to protect Florida’s rural land

Landowners in Florida have sold 16,720 acres and over $36 million to the state, which will place restrictions on future development. (View the transactions below)

Under these transactions, represented by Dean Saunders, the founder of SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler, landowners will retain ownership and agricultural use of land in exchange for selling the property’s development rights.

The restrictions ensure the land won’t be developed in the future.

In 2023, to date, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida State Legislature have approved to purchase more than $97 million for land conservation.

“Florida’s rapid population growth, with over 1,100 new residents each day, challenges us to balance development with the preservation of our natural landscapes and agricultural areas,” said Saunders.

As a former state legislator in the 1990s, Saunders wrote the legislation to establish the Green Swamp Land Authority, the first state entity to purchase development rights from landowners.

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