BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT TRUST FUND
OCTOBER 8, 2002
Item 1 Minutes
Submittal of the Minutes from the August 27, 2002 Cabinet Meeting.
(See Attachment 1, Pages 1-27)
Item 2 Town of Fort Myers Beach Recommended Consolidated Intent
DEFERRED FROM THE AUGUST 27, 2002 AGENDA
REQUEST: Consideration of an application for (1) a ten-year, extended term, sovereignty submerged lands lease, containing 1,954,346 square feet (44.87 acres), more or less, for a managed, municipal anchorage mooring field; (2) waiver of lease fees; and (3) authorization to allow liveaboards to moor beyond six months.
APPLICANT: Town of Fort Myers Beach (Town)
LOCATION: Sections 19 and 24, Township 46 South, Range
24 East, in Matanzas Pass, Class II Waters, within the local jurisdiction
of the Town of Fort Myers Beach
CONSIDERATION: A waiver of the lease fee is recommended, pursuant to sections 18-21.011(1)(b)7a and b, F.A.C.
STAFF REMARKS: The applicant is proposing to create a 44.87-acre mooring field (the Town of Fort Myers Beach Matanzas Pass Municipal Anchorage) that will be open to the public, on a first-come, first-serve (not-for-profit) basis within the applicant's jurisdictional limits. The proposed mooring field will contain 70 mooring spaces, each with helical anchors, cables and buoys, and designed to accommodate recreational vessels up to 58 feet in length. The applicant has negotiated a contract with an upland marina (Hanson Marine Properties, Inc., d/b/a Salty Sam’s Marina, Inc. - Lease No. 360706835) to operate the mooring field. This commercial marina is located near the mooring field and will provide harbormaster facilities/amenities for patrons of the mooring field, which include: convenient sewage pumpout facilities, waste receptacles, a dinghy dock for land access, an on-site harbormaster quarters, laundry facilities, restrooms, shower facilities, and a ship’s store. The applicant is of the opinion that these amenities will encourage boaters to use the mooring field. The marina will collect a rental fee from mooring field patrons and will retain 95 percent of the total gross rental income in order to cover the cost of operating the mooring field. The marina will remit to the applicant 5 percent of the total gross rental. The intent of the contract between the applicant and the marina is to ensure that all revenues collected from the mooring field will be used solely for the purposes of operation and maintenance of the mooring field.
RECOMMEND DEFERRAL TO THE NOVEMBER 26, 2002 CABINET MEETING
Item 3 Annual Land Management Review Team Findings
REQUEST: Consideration of the Annual Land Management Review Team findings.
STAFF REMARKS: Section 259.036, F.S., requires the Board of Trustees, acting through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to conduct management reviews of selected conservation, preservation and recreation lands titled in the Board of Trustees to determine whether those lands are being managed for the purposes for which they were acquired and in accordance with their adopted management plans. The legislation requires DEP to submit a report of its findings to the Board of Trustees no later than the second board meeting in October of each year.
Properties to be reviewed were selected from a database of the Board of Trustees’ land based on managing agency, plan due-dates, and geographic location. Regional review team members were selected in accordance with the requirements of the legislation to include representatives of the following: (1) the county or local community in which the parcel is located; (2) the Division of Recreation and Parks; (3) the Division of Forestry; (4) the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; (5) DEP’s district office; (6) the private sector; (7) the local Soil and Water Conservation District board of supervisors; and (8) a conservation organization. To assist the team in conducting its evaluation, a checklist was provided to each team member along with a copy of the current management plan, management policy statement, management prospectus, and related documents when available. In order to improve the review process, the Division of State Lands staff, along with advisors and site managers, inspected selected properties prior to the formal review to provide information necessary for meeting required objectives. Participating state agencies, soil and water conservation districts, and conservation groups have had continual input into the development and ongoing evolution of the review process. DEP staff that coordinate the state’s land management review teams also met with representatives of the Water Management Districts (WMD) to integrate management reviews where WMD lands are adjacent to Board of Trustees’ lands and when the Board of Trustees has joint ownership of parcels with a WMD.
Twenty-four reviews were conducted during the 2001-2002
fiscal year involving more than 891,000 acres of managed lands. Reports
of the management review team findings are provided to the managing agency
and the Acquisition and Restoration Council. The Acquisition and Restoration
Council has been provided with 6 review team reports, and will be provided
copies of the remaining review team findings during the October 23 and
24 council meeting and public hearing. Overall, the teams found that public
access was adequate or excellent in 96 percent of the sites visited. On
62 percent of the sites, managers were doing an exceptional job of restoring
disturbed natural areas. Each managing agency is responsible for prescribed
burning on lands they manage. On 25 percent of the managed areas, the
prescribed burn program was found to be excellent. On 21 percent of the
sites visited, the burn frequency was found to be inadequate to preserve,
restore, or maintain the natural communities. Non-native invasive plants
were a management issue on most of the lands reviewed, and control measures
were adequate or excellent on 92 percent of sites visited. Testing for
degradation of surface water resources was a concern at 25 percent of
the sites, with 17 percent of the managers doing an exceptional job of
monitoring surface water quality. Testing for degradation of groundwater
resources was adequate or excellent at all sites reviewed, and 79 percent
of the plans adequately covered testing for degradation of groundwater.
Thirty-seven percent of the sites have inadequate plans for protection
of listed plants and animals or inventories of listed plants and animals,
but 88 percent of all sites were adequate or excellent in actual management
practices to protect the listed plants and animals. Law enforcement was
adequate or excellent to protect the resources on 83 percent of the lands
reviewed. On 58 percent of the sites, the public education and outreach
programs were found to be excellent. Most management problems may be directly
related to a lack of funding: 62 percent of the managed areas were found
to have inadequate staff; 50 percent were found to have inadequate funding;
Item 3, cont.
percent were found to have inadequate equipment to properly manage the natural resources. Overall, however, the review teams found that the managers of these areas are dedicated professionals who are doing an excellent job with the resources available.
Twenty-three of the properties reviewed were found to be managed for the purpose for which they were acquired, and actual management practices, including public access, were found to be in compliance with the management plans. Troy Spring State Park, managed by the Division of Recreation and Parks in the Department of Environmental Protection was found not to be managed for the purposes for which it was acquired, including public access, and not to be in compliance with their management plan. This was primarily because Troy Spring State Park was found to have very limited public access. Since the review in March of 2002, the Division of Recreation and Parks has begun construction of a road and other public recreation support facilities to improve public access to the property. Pursuant to 259.036, F.S., if the land management review team determines that reviewed lands are not being managed for the purposes for purposes for which they were acquired or in compliance with the adopted land management plan, DEP shall provide the review findings to the board, and the managing agency must report to the board its reasons for managing the lands as it has. The Troy Spring report is attached along with the other review team reports.
The report of the annual review team findings is consistent with section 259.036, F.S., and with the Natural Systems and Recreation Lands section of the State Comprehensive Plan.
(See Attachment 3, Pages 1-118)
Item 4 Noel E. Andress/Karen Savulis-Andress Access and Utility Easement/DOA to Approve Easement
DEFERRED FROM THE AUGUST 27, 2002 AGENDA
REQUEST: Consideration of a request for a (1) perpetual, non-exclusive access and utility easement to Noel E. Andress and Karen Savulis-Andress over 0.94-acre, more or less, of state-owned land in Lee County within the boundary of Cayo Costa State Park; and (2) delegation of authority to the Secretary, Department of Environmental Protection, or his designee, to approve the easement, up to a width of 45 feet, if required by Lee County.
APPLICANTS: Noel E. Andress and Karen Savulis-Andress
LOCATION: Section 18, Township 44 South, Range 21 East
CONSIDERATION: Appraised easement value to be deposited in the Internal Improvement Trust Fund
STAFF REMARKS: In November 2001, the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP), Division of State Lands (DSL) received an application
from Peter and Linda Foy for an easement for access and utilities to service
a 1.1-acre, more or less, lot in unrecorded Island Grove Subdivision (Island
Grove) on Cayo Costa Island. The Foys were represented by Mr. Noel Andress.
The application was subsequently amended to reflect Mr. and Mrs. Andress
as the applicants. The Andresses are also lot owners within the subdivision.
The Foys and the
Item 4, cont.
Andresses own two of the last eight lots within the subdivision that remain in private ownership. The Board of Trustees has acquired the remaining lots, as well as all other lands surrounding the subdivision, leaving the private landowners landlocked.
The requested easement is one of two routes initially suggested by the applicants. The recommended easement route runs 1,420 feet north from Island Grove to the south line of La Costa Drive in La Costa Isles Subdivision (La Costa Isles). A second east-west route extends from Island Grove to Primo Bay, but was determined by the DEP, Division of Recreation and Parks (DRP) to have greater impacts. DRP manages the state park under Board of Trustees’ Lease Number 3426.
Section 704.01(2), F.S., provides that a statutory way of necessity exists when land outside municipal boundaries, used as a dwelling, or for agricultural, timbering or stock raising purposes, is shut off so that no practicable route of ingress or egress to the nearest public or private road exists. In such cases, the landlocked landowner may lawfully use, with or without an easement, lands lying between his property and the nearest public or private road for access and utility services. Although there has been no judicial determination that the applicant is entitled to a statutory way of necessity under the provisions of section 704.01(2), F.S., legal staff has reviewed this matter and it appears that the applicant’s property meets the criteria for a statutory way of necessity.
DRP would prefer to have the Board of Trustees acquire the remaining lots; however, the landowners have rejected all offers. For this reason, DRP is willing to support the request provided that the applicants: (1) take all steps necessary to minimize impacts to park resources; (2) limit the width of the easement to no more than 25 feet; (3) provide a plan for and obtain approval of the park manager before building any type of road on the easement area; (4) accept responsibility for all costs associated with construction, maintenance, and repair of the easement area; (5) provide warning signs to ensure safety of park users whenever they conduct any construction activity on or next to the easement area; (6) agree to pay reasonable expenses incurred by DRP within the easement area or adjacent state park lands if determined to be the result of the applicants’ use of the easement area; and (7) coordinate with and obtain approval from the park manager before undertaking any construction, maintenance, or repair activity in the easement area. These DRP special conditions have been included in the easement. In addition, special conditions have been included prohibiting the use of impermeable materials in construction of the easement route, and limiting clearing of the easement area to the minimum necessary for access. Paragraph 15 regarding submerged lands has been modified to state that the easement does not signify the intent of the Board of Trustees to authorize the use of sovereignty submerged lands for access to the island. The applicants have an easement to access the island via a canal that does not involve sovereignty submerged lands; however, any request to use sovereignty submerged lands elsewhere on the island will require a separate application.
The applicants have indicated they intend to build a single-family residence on their lot, which use is allowable under section 704.01(2), F.S. DRP has requested that the applicants furnish evidence that they have a valid permit to build a structure on their lot. However, the Lee County (County) Department of Community Development has provided a letter indicating that no building permits may be issued until access to the property has been determined. To ensure that the applicants’ lot is developed as proposed, a special condition has been included in the easement requiring commencement of construction of the residence within three years from the date of execution of the easement or the easement will terminate.
DEP has received objections from Barbara and Dan Trescott,
landowners in La Costa Isles. The Trescotts maintain that because Island
Grove is still pristine and undisturbed, the state should make every effort
to acquire the remaining lots. They have requested that the state either
enforce its public trust responsibilities and deny the application or
seek to condemn the
Item 4, cont.
remaining privately owned lots in the subdivision. The County has submitted a resolution supporting the Trescott’s position that the state either purchase or condemn the lots.
An appraisal for the easement has not been completed to date, pending a determination by the Board of Trustees that it will not seek condemnation or deny the application. If approved, an appraisal of the easement will be required that is acceptable to DSL.
The County requires that private access roads meet minimum width requirements that exceed the 25-foot width being granted the applicants. The minimum width varies depending on drainage requirements and may be as much as 45 feet. In an effort to reduce impacts to the park, the applicants will seek a variance for the reduced width. In the event the County does not approve the variance, DEP is requesting a delegation of authority for the Assistant Director, DSL, to approve the easement up to a width of 45 feet, if required.
A local government comprehensive plan has been adopted for this area pursuant to section 163.3167, F.S. The Department of Community Affairs has determined that the plan is in compliance. The proposed easement is consistent with the adopted plan according to a letter received from the County Department of Community Development.
Substitute Item 5 Miami-Dade County Surplus/General Real Estate Corporation Offer
REQUEST: Consideration of (1) a request to surplus ten remaining lots in Miami-Dade County; and (2) acceptance of an offer from General Real Estate Corporation.
APPLICANT: General Real Estate Corporation
LOCATION: Altos Del Mar:
CONSIDERATION: $7,550,000 to be deposited in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund/Save Our Coast Trust Fund
STAFF REMARKS: On April 19, 1983, the Governor and Cabinet
sitting as head of the Department of Natural Resources, now the Department
of Environmental Protection, (Department) approved the placement of the
North Shore Open Space project on the Save Our Coast (SOC) priority acquisition
list. The project was sponsored by the City of Miami Beach (City) as an
addition to North Shore Open Space Park, which was administered by the
City as a public recreation area on Miami Beach. In order for the project
to succeed, a sufficient number of contiguous lots had to be acquired.
The City and the Board of Trustees agreed that the City would acquire
the lots within the project area either by negotiation, donation, or,
if necessary, condemnation. However, in September 1986, a City bond issue
Substitute Item 5, cont.
acquisition funding for this project was defeated and on December 2, 1986, the Board of Trustees terminated the acquisition agreement with the City and adopted a new plan for pursuing the project. The City was to convey North Shore Open Space Park, which was not a part of the SOC acquisition project, to the state for management as a unit of the state park system. The lots between 76th and 77th Streets were to be acquired by the state for an interpretive center and support facilities. The lots between 76th and 77th Streets have been rezoned recreational by the City. The remainder of the properties in the SOC project (the lots between 77th and 79th Streets) were to remain in private ownership as an early Miami Beach historic district. The Altos del Mar Historic District was formally established by the City on April 9, 1987, and includes the lots located between 77th and 79th Streets.
In 1989, the Department made a final effort to acquire the remaining lots in this project. However, none of the Department’s offers were accepted by private owners and all further acquisition efforts were terminated. In order for the original purpose of this project to have been realized, a sufficient number of contiguous lots had to be acquired to provide adequate land area for the project. Because the Department was not able to acquire a sufficient number of contiguous lots for this project, the Department requested and was granted approval by the Board of Trustees on September 28, 1993, to dispose of the 22 lots acquired.
The City has requested that the state convey the 11 contiguous lots between 76th and 77th Streets back to the City as part of the existing North Shore Open Space Park. On August 13, 2002, the Board of Trustees approved the sale of one of the non-contiguous lots, subject to a deed restriction for single-family use. The remaining ten non-contiguous lots are between 77th and 79th Streets and are those the state purchased when planning to extend North Shore Open Space Park on Miami Beach. The lots were purchased by the Board of Trustees from the City on January 6, 1984. The property was purchased with funds from the SOC Trust Fund; therefore, the proceeds from the sale of these lots will go towards retiring the outstanding bonds from this former land acquisition program, pursuant to section 253.034(6)(k), F.S.
On September 2, 1999, the Land Acquisition and Management Advisory Council (LAMAC) voted to recommend 11 state-owned lots within the North Shore Open Space Park be declared surplus. The ten lots are part of the 11 lots declared surplus by LAMAC. The ten lots being proposed for sale are non-contiguous and isolated. Each parcel is of inadequate physical size to constitute a manageable conservation or recreation area. The natural resource attributes of the area have been so compromised as to render them most practically utilized for oceanfront residential or other support purposes. There are no known listed species on the property and no known cultural resources in need of protection.
The Division of State Lands (DSL) received an offer of $7,550,000 for these lots from the General Real Estate Corporation on August 6, 2002. We are recommending the Board of Trustees approve this $7,550,000 offer, subject to a deed restriction on all lots for single-family use. If approved, this offer will complete the disposition of these non-contiguous lots in Altos Del Mar.
Since September of 2001, DSL has been aggressively marketing
these properties. Advertisements were placed in newspapers with both domestic
and international exposure. The properties were also advertised via the
internet. While this effort has been successful in that offers totaling
$8,750,000 for these lots have been brought to the Board of Trustees,
the number of actual bona fide offers received for this unique real estate
was small. There have been a large number of inquires but DSL has only
received 11 written offers with the required 10 percent deposit. One of
these was the offer from Mr. Mario Quadros, approved by the Board of Trustees
on August 13, 2002. The offer from General Real Estate Corporation before
you today is only one of two bona fide offers we have received to purchase
all of the remaining 10 lots. The first offer received for all of the
10 remaining lots was withdrawn by the applicant. The other nine bona
fide offers were for individual lots and were either
Substitute Item 5, cont.
withdrawn, below appraisal, or not significantly above appraisal. Therefore, staff believes approval of this offer today is in the state’s best interest.
J. Mark Quinlivan, MAI, and State-Certified General Appraiser, appraised the property on November 10, 2001. Mr. Quinlivan estimated the market value of the lots to be $6,575,000, which is a summation of the individual market value estimate for these ten remaining lots. Due to the location of the properties and the high demand for residential property on Miami Beach, DSL staff believes this property merits a price above the appraiser’s estimate of market value.
In accordance with sections 253.111 and 253.034(6)(f), F.S., Miami-Dade County and state agencies were notified of the sale.
A consideration of the status of the local government comprehensive plan was not made for this item. The Department has determined that surplus land sales are not subject to the local government planning process.
(See Attachment 5, Pages 1-21)
2nd Substitute Item 6 Bigelow, Jr., et al, Option Agreement/Estero Bay Florida Forever Project
REQUEST: Consideration of an option agreement to acquire 74.6 acres within the Estero Bay Florida Forever project from Charles L. Bigelow, Jr., et al.
LOCATION: Section 35, Township 45 South, Range 24 East
value was decreased by $10,000, the estimated maximum cost to gain legal
STAFF REMARKS: The Estero Bay Florida Forever project is an “A” group project on the Florida Forever Full Fee Project List approved by the Board of Trustees on August 27, 2002. This project contains 15,572 acres, of which 6,267 acres have been acquired or are under agreement to be acquired by the Board of Trustees. After the Board of Trustees approves this agreement, 9,230.40 acres or 59 percent of the project will remain to be acquired.
In September 2000 a boundary amendment to the Estero Bay
Florida Forever project was submitted by the Department of Environmental
Protection’s (DEP) Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA)
and approved at the September 19, 2000 Acquisition and Restoration Council
meeting. This boundary amendment included an addition of 240 acres (5
owners of 14 parcels) to the Estero Bay Florida Forever project. The Bigelow
parcel is one of the parcels included in the amendment. Shortly after
the project had been mapped, and before appraisals were ordered, the Estero
Bay Florida Forever project shifted from a category “A” to
a category “B” project, and all negotiation efforts with Mr.
Bigelow, and other owners were
2nd Substitute Item 6, cont.
placed on hold. On January 29, 2002 the Estero Bay Florida Forever project moved back to the category “A” project list and negotiations resumed.
The Bigelow parcel does not have legal or physical access but can be accessed through adjacent state-owned property. The owner believed he had access based upon an easement recorded in Official Records Book 1519, Page 202, Public Records of Lee County, Florida. The appraisal states there is no physical access, but recited legal access based upon the same easement. DEP’s Division of State Lands staff reviewed the recorded easement and has determined it does not provide legal access to the parcel. The appraiser has estimated the cost to gain access would be no more than $10,000.
All mortgages and liens will be satisfied at the time of closing. On June 22, 1999, the Board of Trustees approved a staff recommendation to delegate to DEP the authority to review and evaluate marketability issues as they arise on all chapter 259, F.S., acquisitions and to resolve them appropriately. Therefore, DEP staff will review, evaluate and implement an appropriate resolution for any title issues that arise prior to closing.
A title insurance policy, a survey, an environmental site evaluation and, if necessary, an environmental site assessment will be provided by the purchaser prior to closing.
The Bigelow parcel is among the remaining essential acquisition properties within the Estero Bay Florida Forever project. This parcel contains pine flatwoods, salt flats, and salt and freshwater marshes. The Bigelow parcel was added to the project boundary mainly in an effort to extend CAMA’s management area around Hendry Creek, an important tributary to the Estero Bay, and would provide CAMA an additional half-mile of protected coastline along Hendry Creek to manage. In addition to the nesting, feeding, roosting, cover and migration resting areas these communities provide, the Bigelow site contains various species of orchids, one of which may include the endangered ground orchid.
Estero Bay is one of the most productive estuaries in the state, and is the state’s first aquatic preserve, designated in 1966. Its mangroves shelter important nesting colonies of water birds, and feed and protect many aquatic animals. These animals, in turn, are the foundation of a commercial and sport fishery. Important archaeological remains of the Calusa Indians dot the area. The Estero Bay project will protect the bay’s water quality, its native plants and animals, its archaeological sites, and will provide recreational opportunities to the people of the rapidly growing Fort Myers area.
This property will be managed by CAMA as an addition to the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve.
This acquisition is consistent with section 187.201(10), F.S., the Natural Systems and Recreational Lands section of the State Comprehensive Plan.
(See Attachment 6, Pages 1- 42)
Substitute Item 7 The Nature Conservancy Charitable Trust Assignment of Option Agreement/St. Joe Timberland Florida Forever Project
REQUEST: Consideration of the acceptance of an assignment
of an option agreement to acquire 2,851.7 acres within the St. Joe Timberland
Florida Forever project from The Nature Conservancy Charitable Trust.
Substitute Item 7, cont.
LOCATION: Sections 17 through 20, and 29 through 32, Township 06 South, Range 01 West; and Sections 25 and 36, Township 06 South, Range 02 West
CONSIDERATION: $10,302,000 ($10,202,000 for the acquisition; and $100,000 for the purchase of the option agreement)
was purchased as part of a larger tract.
STAFF REMARKS: The St. Joe Timberland project is an “A” group project on the Florida Forever Full Fee Project List approved by the Board of Trustees on August 27, 2002. This project contains 96,351 acres, of which 35,346 acres have been acquired by the Board of Trustees. After the Board of Trustees approves this agreement, 58,153.3 acres or 60 percent of the St. Joe Timberland Florida Forever project will remain to be acquired. Also after approval of this agreement, 4,695.3 acres or 48 percent of the Dickerson Bay/Bald Point Florida Forever project, of which these St. Joe Timberland project acres are a part, will remain to be acquired. The proposed acquisition is also identified on the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Division of Recreation and Parks’ (DRP) Additions and Inholdings list.
Pursuant to a multi-party acquisition agreement entered into between DEP, Division of State Lands (DSL) and The Nature Conservancy, Inc. (TNC), TNC has acquired an option to purchase this property from St. Joe Timberland Company of Delaware L.L.C. (St. Joe Company). After this acquisition is approved, the Board of Trustees will acquire the option from TNC for $100,000, which represents an agreed upon compensation to TNC for overhead associated with acquiring the option. The assignment of option agreement provides that payment to TNC is contingent upon the Board of Trustees successfully acquiring the property from the owner. The assignment of option agreement further provides that in no event will the purchase price for the option and the purchase price of the property exceed the DSL approved value of the property. DRP will contribute 50 percent of the purchase price and acquisition costs.
The option agreement provides for the St. Joe Company to reserve a 20-foot-wide easement over an existing dirt road for land management purposes. Additionally, the option agreement provides for a 20-foot-wide easement over an existing dirt road across St. Joe Company land in favor of the Board of Trustees for management purposes. These easements will be for a period of four years. DRP, the future managing agency, and the St. Joe Company will both benefit from these easements in management of their respective lands.
All mortgages and liens will be satisfied at the time of closing. There is a 0.6-acre lease in favor of the Alligator Point Water Resources District. The appraisers considered this lease in their appraisals and DRP will manage the property with this lease. On June 22, 1999, the Board of Trustees approved a staff recommendation to delegate to DEP the authority to review and evaluate marketability issues as they arise on all chapter 259, F.S., acquisitions and to resolve them appropriately. Therefore, DEP staff will review, evaluate and implement an appropriate resolution for any title or management issues that arise prior to closing.
A title insurance commitment and an environmental site
assessment will be provided by the seller prior to closing. The purchaser
will reimburse the seller’s cost of the title insurance
Substitute Item 7, cont.
policy and the environmental site assessment at closing. A survey of the property will be provided by the purchaser.
Bald Point is located between Ochlockonee Bay and Alligator Harbor, with considerable frontage along both of these estuarine water bodies that connect to the Gulf of Mexico. The tract provides magnificent vistas along highly developable water frontage in an area of the state that is experiencing rapid growth.
The Bald Point tract has significant upland and wetland
resources that contribute to the protection of Ochlocknee Bay and the
Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve. The bays surrounding the project area
provide foraging habitat for juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles,
the world’s most endangered sea turtle, and other state or globally
rare birds and sea turtles. The tract is reported to harbor significant
archaeological resources. This tract includes over two miles of common
boundary with Bald Point State Park and will provide myriad outdoor recreational
opportunities for visitors year-round. The acquisition of this property
will greatly enhance the regional significance and recreation potential
of the park.
The St. Joe Company expressed interest in linking existing and future St. James Island communities with Bald Point State Park via trail and greenway connections. DRP agreed to work with the St. Joe Company during the development of the Bald Point unit management plan to link the existing park into a regional park and greenway concept with future area developments.
The St. Joe Company is one of the largest landowners in Florida. Public acquisition of the St. Joe Timberland project will consolidate the St. Joe Company ownerships already included in other Florida Forever projects, thus helping to preserve large undeveloped tracts of land for native plants and animals and giving the public an opportunity to experience large natural areas throughout north Florida.
This property will be managed by DRP as an addition to Bald Point State Park.
This acquisition is consistent with section 187.201(10), F.S., the Natural Systems and Recreational Lands section of the State Comprehensive Plan.
(See Attachment 7, Pages 1- 67)
Substitute Item 8 David Chapman Land Exchange/Wekiva-Ocala Greenways Project Area
REQUEST: Consideration of (1) a determination that pursuant to Article X, section 11 of the Constitution of the State of Florida, the exchange of a 103.26-acre parcel of sovereignty submerged land is in the public interest; and (2) a land exchange agreement under which the Board of Trustees would convey a 103.26-acre parcel of reclaimed lake bottom land to David Chapman in exchange for 111.80 acres of land in the Wekiva-Ocala Greenways project area currently under contract for purchase by David Chapman.
COUNTIES: Glades and Lake
APPLICANT: David Chapman
LOCATION: Section 23, Township 40 South, Range 32 East; and Sections 06 and 07, Township 18 South, Range 29 East
STAFF REMARKS: The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Division of State Lands (DSL) has received a request from David Chapman to exchange a parcel of land within the Wekiva-Ocala Greenways project area for a parcel of Board of Trustees’ land in the Water Control District along the northern bank of the L-50 Canal, near the intersection of County Road 721 and State Road 78.
The Board of Trustees’ parcel is not under lease to any agency or individual, however, the parcel is subject to a Board of Trustees, easement (No. 27980) for the construction and maintenance of an access road and utilities. The easement is for a period of 50 years commencing on July 17, 1991 and ending on July 16, 2041 with no option for renewal. The easement was issued to Donald Fream and Joyce Fream, Mildred Click, James S. Click, Jr., Gerald Smith and Joyce Smith and has been assigned, with approval by the Bureau of Public Land Administration, to Robert Bianco. Robert Bianco owns property to which the easement provides access.
The property is located within the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) area. SFWMD staff has reviewed the proposal and does not object, provided SFWMD is provided sufficient interest in a nearby state-owned parcel for the location of aquifer storage and recovery wells and related facilities. DSL is preparing a lease, under an existing delegation of authority, to SFWMD for this nearby parcel that is currently unmanaged.
Chapter 7861, Laws of Florida, Acts of 1919 specifically authorizes the sale of reclaimed lake bottom. Article X, section 11 of the Constitution of the State of Florida states, in part, that sale of sovereignty submerged land may be authorized by law, but only when in the public interest. Staff believes that the conveyance is in the public interest because: (1) the land has been permanently reclaimed and is not likely to return to its natural submerged state; (2) the parcel is too small and constrained to be effectively managed; and (3) the parcel that will be conveyed to the state is part of the Wekiva-Ocala Greenway Project and immediately adjacent to property owned by the Board of Trustees.
The springs, rivers, lakes, swamps, and uplands stretching
north from Orlando to the Ocala National Forest are an important refuge
for the Florida black bear, as well as other wildlife such as the bald
eagle, swallow-tailed kite, Florida scrub jay, and wading birds. The Wekiva-Ocala
Greenway will protect these animals and the Wekiva and St. Johns River
basins by protecting natural corridors connecting Wekiva Springs State
Park, Rock Springs Run State
Substitute Item 8, cont.
Reserve, the Lower Wekiva River State Reserve, and Hontoon Island State Park with the Ocala National Forest. It will also provide the people of the Orlando area with a large, nearby natural area in which to enjoy camping, fishing, swimming, hiking, canoeing, and other recreational pursuits.
The Trustees deed will include reservations related to the Everglades Drainage District as required by section 5, chapter 7861, Laws of Florida, Acts of 1919. Since the Florida Legislature imposed this reservation and did not give the Board of Trustees the authority to release it, it is the opinion of DEP’s Office of General Counsel that only the Florida Legislature can remove the reservation.
The state-owned land to be exchanged consists of approximately 103.26 acres located along the south side of County Road 721. This land is accessible via a county-maintained right-of-way. The exchange agreement is contingent upon David Chapman acquiring title to the privately-owned parcel of 111.80 acres.
According to section 253.03, F.S., the Board of Trustees has authority to dispose of all lands owned by the state by right of its sovereignty. A review of previous Board of Trustees’ actions on the conveyance of reclaimed lake bottom lands indicated that most of the sales were negotiated based on the appraised value of the reclaimed lands to be purchased. The market value estimate of the 103.26-acre parcel is $360,000. Robert B. Banting, MAI, SRA and State-Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, prepared this appraisal. The market value estimate for the David Chapman 111.80-acre parcel is $390,000. George L. Goodman, MAI and State-Certified General Appraisal, prepared this appraisal.
In accordance with section 253.115, F.S., property owners within 500 feet of the subject property were notified of the proposed exchange. DEP received three objections to the exchange from adjacent property owners James Click, Robert Bianco, and Leon and Carolyn Clark. Mr. Click objected because he claims to have run cattle on the state-owned property for years and he indicated he had authorization from the Board of Trustees to do so. After diligent research by staff and repeated requests to Mr. Click, no documentation has been produced. Further, Mr. Click apparently sub-leased cattle grazing rights on the state-owned property to a third party. In an effort to resolve this issue, Mr. Chapman met with the third party and agreed to allow him to graze on other property owned by Mr. Chapman.
Mr. Bianco wanted a perpetual easement for ingress and egress. Mr. Chapman agreed to provide Mr. Bianco with a perpetual easement at closing in order to assure Mr. Bianco’s continued access to his property. Mr. Bianco also wanted a buffer zone around his property for insulation from future development by Mr. Chapman that could possibly include RV or Mobil home sites. Staff has determined that any future use of state-owned property would be controlled by local zoning and development regulations, which is an issue Mr. Bianco could challenge at a local level. In regards to access to the L-50 Canal, Mr. Bianco would need to apply to the SFWMD and the Army Corp of Engineers, as this canal right-of-way was conveyed out in 1960 by the state for administration of the canal. Subsequent to his objection, and staff’s determination that the objections were not sufficient to warrant denying the exchange proposal, Mr. Bianco submitted a letter offer to DEP to exchange the state-owned property for other property at a value of approximately $420,000. In order to formalize Mr. Bianco’s offer, on July 22, 2002 staff sent Mr. Bianco an application for exchange. After several inquiries, staff has not, at this time, received an application from Mr. Bianco.
Leon and Carolyn Clark objected to the exchange, alleging
it does not conform to certain requirements of sections 253.025, 253.034
and 253.115, F. S., and chapters 18-1 and 18-2, F.A.C. The Office of General
Counsel for DEP has reviewed these assertions, rules and statutes and
is of the opinion that the exchange meets the requirements of law and
rule. Also, in April 2001, Ms. Clark inquired as to the possibility of
purchasing this same state-owned
Substitute Item 8, cont.
parcel. DSL contacted SFWMD as to the district’s interest in the parcel. At that time, SFWMD reviewed the parcel information and concluded that their CERP plans were not complete and wished to have this parcel reserved until the necessary planning was finished.
A consideration of the status of the local government comprehensive plan was not made for this item. DEP has determined that the disposition of land is not subject to the local government planning process.
(See Attachment 8, Pages 1-40)