Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/16/2004 01:14 PM House RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 498-SALE OR TRADE OF STATE LAND                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM announced  that the  final order  of business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 498,  "An Act requiring the sale or trade                                                               
of state land."                                                                                                                 
Number 1120                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  PAUL SEATON,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
stated that  HB 498 is  meant to  help the state  acquire special                                                               
purpose lands.   He  recalled that  last year  he worked  hard on                                                               
creating  a  public recreational  area  outside  of Homer,  which                                                               
required the  acquisition of  private lands.   The  private lands                                                               
were  acquired by  the state  being the  conduit for  100 percent                                                               
federal legacy  lands.  The  argument against acquiring  the land                                                               
was  that it  was private  land and  the state  taking it  for an                                                               
economic development project  would remove the land  from its tax                                                               
base.   Furthermore, it was  argued that the state  acquiring the                                                               
land would further deplete the  amount of privately owned land in                                                               
the state.  Trying to get  through and balance the acquisition of                                                               
private land by the state is the intent of HB 498.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  explained that  if the  state is  going to                                                               
acquire private  land for a  public purpose, HB 498  requires the                                                               
Department  of Natural  Resources  (DNR) to  review  the area  to                                                               
determine whether  there is  other settlement  land, agricultural                                                               
land, or  resource designated  lands that  could be  available to                                                               
put up  for sale  on an  equal value  basis.   He noted  that the                                                               
acquisition  of park  land or  land for  recreational development                                                               
wouldn't  be  held  up  waiting  for  the  sale  to  take  place.                                                               
Representative  Seaton pointed  out  that in  some  areas of  the                                                               
state  the problem  is that  there  isn't very  much state  land,                                                               
although  there may  be  parcels  of land  that  are  vital to  a                                                               
community's  economic base.   If  DNR  can't find  land within  a                                                               
reasonable  distance, then  the requirements  would be  fulfilled                                                               
and  the purchase  of  the [private  land]  wouldn't be  stopped.                                                               
Representative Seaton  highlighted that the  legislation includes                                                               
a provision such  that the review for other state  lands could be                                                               
fulfilled,  if  a  trade  with  the  landowner  is  accomplished.                                                               
Basically,  this   legislation  results  in  no   net  loss,  and                                                               
therefore the amount  of private ownership isn't  lost.  Although                                                               
more  amounts  of  state  land  are  offered  for  sale  than  is                                                               
purchased, often the state lands are remote.                                                                                    
Number 0739                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  MASEK moved  to adopt  CSHB  498, Version  23-LS1230\Q,                                                               
Bullock,  3/31/04,  as the  working  document.   There  being  no                                                               
objection, Version Q was before the committee.                                                                                  
The committee took a brief at-ease at 2:45 p.m.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO posed  a situation in which there  is an "in                                                               
holding"  for a  series  of  parcels that  are  needed.   If  the                                                               
individual with  the in  holding doesn't want  to leave  the area                                                               
and accept another  parcel of land, does the state  have a way to                                                               
deal with it, he asked.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  clarified that this legislation  in no way                                                               
forces an individual  to sell any land.   This legislation merely                                                               
requires  that the  state,  DNR,  when it  acquires  land from  a                                                               
willing private  owner, offer  other state land  for sale  to the                                                               
private  property owner.   The  land offered  by the  state would                                                               
only  be development  lands.   A trade  isn't required  and would                                                               
probably be  an unusual circumstance,  he noted.  With  regard to                                                               
obtaining additional  federal lands by the  state, Representative                                                               
Seaton  said  those  lands  would  be  [available]  as  they  are                                                               
classified as developmental  lands.  Currently, there  is a small                                                               
amount  of  state  land  that  is  actually  in  the  settlement,                                                               
agricultural  category because  local  governments have  selected                                                               
much of the proximate developable land.                                                                                         
Number 0447                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK noted that the  committee packets includes a Homer                                                             
News  article  regarding when  the  governor  vetoed the  federal                                                             
grant  for  the  Kachemak  Heritage   Land  Trust  (KHLT).    The                                                               
committee packet also includes a  letter to Representative Seaton                                                               
from  KHLT  and  a  letter  from  Representative  Seaton  to  the                                                               
governor.    She   inquired  as  to  why   this  legislation  was                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON informed the  committee that last year KHLT                                                               
applied for the purchase of the  Baycrest Ski Trails, which was a                                                               
parcel that  the federal  government had listed  as number  14 in                                                               
parcels that  should be  acquired for public  use.   The Baycrest                                                               
Ski Trails provided the area of  Homer with access to many of the                                                               
area's ski trails.  This was  pulled out of the capitol budget in                                                               
the  Senate  last  year  because  of  the  philosophical  concern                                                               
regarding  taking   private  land   and  placing  it   in  public                                                               
ownership.  However, in the House  it was returned to the budget.                                                               
After convincing  the Senate Finance  Committee that this  was an                                                               
economic development  project for  the local economy,  the Senate                                                               
concurred  and  put  it  back   in  the  budget.    However,  the                                                               
aforementioned concern ultimately lead  to the governor's veto of                                                               
that.   Later it was decided  that the veto shouldn't  have taken                                                               
place and it  was agreed that the Joint  Committee on Legislative                                                               
Budget  and Audit  could  accept the  money for  the  land.   The                                                               
intent of  this legislation is to  get past the concern  and help                                                               
everyone realize that  so that these valuable  pieces of property                                                               
can be obtained.                                                                                                                
Number 0111                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  MASEK moved  to report  CSHB 498,  Version 23-LS1230\Q,                                                               
Bullock,    3/31/04,   out    of   committee    with   individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no  objection,   CSHB  498(RES)  was  reported   from  the  House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                                   

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