The basic idea is this: Property owners can give conservation easements to historical preservation groups which gives the non-profit the right to object to any changes made to the facade of the house. The donor of the easement can then theoretically right-off from his or her taxes the estimated reduction of the value of the house.

The problem, as first identified by The Post several years ago, is that homeowners grossly overestimate the value of the reduction in home value. The IRS argues that when a homeowner in a neighborhood like Georgetown encumbers his home with a facade easement, he’s not really encumbering his home with any more restrictions than already exist due to the aggressive preservation laws already in place.

[Continue reading Topher Mathews’s post here at The Georgetown Metropolitan.]

Topher Mathews blogs at The Georgetown Metropolitan . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.