Legislature(2003 - 2004)
04/16/2004 01:14 PM House RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 introduced. 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.