The District’s Governing Board updated policy 610-4 and directed staff to assess District lands every two years for potential surplus opportunities. The objective of the biennial assessment is to identify and sell lands that may no longer meet the original acquisition purposes of providing substantive water resource benefits. Proceeds from the sale of land may only be used to purchase lands meeting the Districts land acquisition goals or debt service associated with those purchases.
A conservation easement is a legal document used to restrict the types of activities that can occur on a property. This option retains environmental protection but returns land to private ownership.
The District has initiated a deliberate and science-based assessment process. This assessment is expected to identify portions of District lands.
District scientists or subject matter experts (SMEs) developed a tool to help gauge the environmental sensitivity of District lands regarding the District’s four areas of responsibility (AORs): water supply, water quality, flood protection and natural systems. They used the latest scientific and geospatial data developed by federal and state agencies to make recommendations.
The Environmentally Sensitive Lands Tool was used as a coarse review to identify portions of District lands that do not provide significant benefit to the District AORs. The SMEs then performed a detailed evaluation of the identified portions of District lands to better determine if they did not provide substantial water resource benefits and were not a conservation corridor.
Portions of land that were identified for potential surplus were further reviewed to determine if they could be surplused as is or surplused with a conservation easement or a restrictive deed.
All of the land owned by the District, approximately 344,000 acres of land were assessed.
The initial results identified approximately 1,018 acres for potential surplus. The lands are identified here.
The lands proposed for surplus will be reviewed at a public meeting on July 18, 2017 at the District’s Brooksville Headquarters. The proposed surplus lands, along with public comments from this webpage will be reviewed by the Environmental Advisory Committee at its meeting on July 11, 2017. All of the resulting information will be presented to the Governing Board on August 29, 2017 for consideration in its final determination.
Lands with an appraised value of $25,000 or less will first be offered for sale to adjoining owners. Other than that, there are no restrictions on who may purchase surplus lands.
Florida Statutes require that the lands be sold for, at a minimum, current appraised value.
The use of proceeds from the sale of surplus lands will be used for the purchase of other lands, or interests in land.
The District has developed a webpage for the 2017 Surplus Lands Biennial Assessment to keep the public informed about the assessment. All upcoming meetings will be posted on the site.
Anyone can submit comments to the District at WaterMatters.org/LandReview.