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Initial agreement between donor and Meeting for gift of land

[July 2, 2009 Note: This agreement was incorporated into the deed prepared in December 2008.  A restriction in the original 1950s deed limiting the property to residential use was discovered after the new deed was prepared.  The Future Planning Committee is reviewing this agreement with the donor with the expectation of easing some of the restrictions in the agreement.]

This is a pre-legal agreement meant to bring up all the issues we can think of. With the approval of Business Meeting, this agreement will be the basis of a legal contract between the Meeting and the donor prepared by a lawyer representing the Meeting and to be signed by the donor and representatives of the meeting.

Future Planning Sub-Committee:
Beverly Busching
David Giltrow
Guthrie Miller
Jan-Willem Jansens
John Kretzman
Martha Davis

Agreement between donor and Meeting--
Gift of land to the Santa Fe Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
31-July-2008 DRAFT

Introduction. The following describes the agreement between the donor and the Santa Fe Friends Meeting (630 Canyon Road), to transfer ownership of a plot of vacant land (509 Camino Lejo, lot 115W-B) to the Meeting. The appendix further describes the property. The purpose of this agreement is to clarify the process of transferring and developing the land, which initially begins with a six-year period of joint ownership, and only after this time becomes sole ownership by the Meeting.

It is noted that the Santa Fe Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is a religious organization which was officially recognized by the Pacific Yearly Meeting of Friends in 1948 and has owned property at 630 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, since 1966.

Intent. The donor intends that this land be available as a possible building site for a future meetinghouse that would better serve the expanding needs of Santa Fe Friends than the present meetinghouse on Canyon Road.

The donor would like to see certain aesthetic characteristics of the neighborhood preserved; for example, dark night sky, no curbs and sidewalks, natural vegetation, and natural parking surfaces rather than paving. The donor plans to be involved in the Quaker process for making decisions about the development of the property.

If the land is not used for a meetinghouse, the donor intends that the Meeting assume responsibility for stewardship of the land to ensure some higher use, for example, for open space, or for some aesthetic purpose that would benefit the entire community of Santa Fe.

Legal structure. The transfer of ownership will take place in two parts. In the first part the donor transfers partial ownership of the property to the Meeting, and both the donor and the Meeting will then hold legal title as tenants in common. After six years, the donor’s remaining interest in the property will be transferred to the Meeting, and the Meeting will be the sole owner of the property. During the six-year period, the donor will be responsible for the taxes on the property. The Meeting will assume the expense of preparing the legal documents for these transactions.

To conform to the IRS rules for this type of capital charitable contribution, after the contract between the Meeting and the donor has been signed, a “qualified independent appraisal” will be prepared. In addition, the donor will prepare IRS Form 8283 (Noncash Charitable Contributions), which must be signed by the donor, a representation of the Meeting, and the appraiser. All these expenses will be borne by the donor

Contingencies. If for any reason a meetinghouse is not built on the site, the Meeting assumes responsibility for stewardship of the property according to the donor’s intent. This means ensuring that the property is held as open natural space or open space that serves some aesthetic purpose (perhaps a sculpture garden) in this culturally important area of Santa Fe near the museums, for the benefit of the entire community of Santa Fe. This could be accomplished by sale or gift of the property to a land trust, or some other open-land or artistic-oriented group.

If a meetinghouse is built on the property, and at some time in the future the Meeting is laid down or no longer is able to use the meetinghouse, the donor’s intent is that the building continues to serve the principles and the goals of the Society of Friends (e.g. peace and justice). This could be accomplished by sale, gift, creation of a trust, or other appropriate action.

These restrictions expire in 60 years from the date when the Meeting assumes sole ownership of the property.

By accepting this agreement, the Meeting is not making a decision about building at this time, and the Meeting can choose to not build on this property with minimal financial and other consequences. However, if the Meeting begins work on a meetinghouse, but later abandons the project, the meeting assumes financial responsibility for returning the land to its original condition.

If, during the joint ownership period, the Meeting goes ahead with improvements to the property, for example installation of utilities or construction of parking areas, the Meeting will assume financial, insurance and other responsibility for these improvements.

Any financial claims or liens made against either party to the agreement during the six year joint tenancy which would jeopardize the respective party’s ownership will result in immediate cancellation of this agreement and the lot would become the sole property of the party not part of the financial claim or lien.

In the event of unresolved disagreements about developments on the property, the two parties agree to enter into formal binding arbitration with costs undertaken by the donor. Specifically, the donor agrees not to submit a challenge to the development of the property with the relevant departments of the City of Santa Fe.

The donor’s interest in the property will be bequeathed to the Meeting in the donor’s will, so that sole ownership of the property will immediately pass to the Meeting in the event of the death of the donor before the property transfer is complete.

Appendix. The property (509 Camino Lejo, Lot 115W-B, Santa Fe county assessor U.P.C. number 1-054-097-335-405) is located on the northeast corner of Old Pecos Trail and Camino Lejo. The lot size is 1.534 acres. It is currently vacant, although a wall extends part way along the Old Pecos Trail side of the lot.

The current assessed value is $182,040.

The zoning is R-1, and the property is within the Historic Review District. Religious assembly is a permitted use for this zoning.

Although the Camino Lejo neighborhood has been quite vocal and negative about some proposals impacting the neighborhood as a whole (botanical garden, bicycle trails), if this building encountered resistance it would likely be only from the immediate neighbors:
To south—508 Camino Lejo, Ursulo and Carlotta Ortiz, 983-8462 
To east—631 Camino Lejo, Keith Schneider, 989-5062
Diagonally to northeast—637 Camino Lejo
Diagonally to southwest—First Baptist Church of Santa Fe


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