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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XVIII
PUBLIC LANDS AND PROPERTY
Chapter 253
STATE LANDS
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F.S. 253.03
253.03 Board of trustees to administer state lands; lands enumerated.
(1) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the state is vested and charged with the acquisition, administration, management, control, supervision, conservation, protection, and disposition of all lands owned by, or which may hereafter inure to, the state or any of its agencies, departments, boards, or commissions, excluding lands held for transportation facilities and transportation corridors and canal rights-of-way, spoil areas and lands required for disposal of materials, or borrow pits; any land, title to which is vested or may become vested in any port authority, flood control district, water management district, or navigation district or agency created by any general or special act; and any lands, including the Camp Blanding Military Reservation, which have been conveyed to the state for military purposes only, and which are subject to reversion if conveyed by the original grantee or if the conveyance to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund under this act would work a reversion from any other cause, or where any conveyance of lands held by a state agency which are encumbered by or subject to liens, trust agreements, or any form of contract which encumbers state lands for the repayment of funded debt. Lands vested in the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund shall be deemed to be:
(a) All swamp and overflowed lands held by the state or which may hereafter inure to the state;
(b) All lands owned by the state by right of its sovereignty;
(c) All internal improvement lands proper;
(d) All tidal lands;
(e) All lands covered by shallow waters of the ocean or gulf, or bays or lagoons thereof, and all lands owned by the state covered by fresh water;
(f) All parks, reservations, or lands or bottoms set aside in the name of the state, excluding lands held for transportation facilities and transportation corridors and canal rights-of-way;
(g) All lands which have accrued, or which may hereafter accrue, to the state from any source whatsoever, excluding lands held for transportation facilities and transportation corridors and canal rights-of-way, spoil areas, or borrow pits or any land, the title to which is vested or may become vested in any port authority, flood control district, water management district, or navigation district or agency created by any general or special act.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that the board of trustees continue to receive proceeds from the sale or disposition of the products of lands and the sale of lands of which the use and possession are not subsequently transferred by appropriate lease or similar instrument from the board of trustees to the proper using agency. Such using agency shall be entitled to the proceeds from the sale of products on, under, growing out of, or connected with lands which such using agency holds under lease or similar instrument from the board of trustees. The board of trustees is directed and authorized to enter into leases or similar instruments for the use, benefit, and possession of public lands by agencies which may properly use and possess them for the benefit of the state.
(3) The provisions of s. 270.11, requiring the board of trustees to reserve unto itself certain oil and mineral interests in all deeds of conveyances executed by the board of trustees, shall not have application to any lands that inure to the board of trustees from other state agencies, departments, boards, or commissions under the terms and provisions of this act.
(4) It is the intent of the Legislature that, when title to any lands is in the state, with no specific agency authorized by the Legislature to convey or otherwise dispose of such lands, the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund be vested with such title and hereafter be authorized to exercise over such lands such authority as may be provided by law.
(5) It is the specific intent of the Legislature that this act repeal any provision of state law which may require the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund to pay taxes or assessments of any kind to any state or local public agency on lands which are transferred or conveyed to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund under the terms of this act and which at the time of the passage of this act are entitled to tax-exempt status under the constitution or laws of the state.
(6) Commencing September 1, 1967, all land held in the name of the state or any of its boards, departments, agencies, or commissions shall be deemed to be vested in the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund for the use and benefit of the state. By October 1, 1967, any board, commission, department, or agency holding title to any state lands used for public purpose shall execute all instruments necessary to transfer such title to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund for the use and benefit of the state, except lands which reverted to the state under the provisions of chapter 18296, Laws of Florida, 1937, commonly known and referred to as the “Murphy Act.”
(7)(a) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund is hereby authorized and directed to administer all state-owned lands and shall be responsible for the creation of an overall and comprehensive plan of development concerning the acquisition, management, and disposition of state-owned lands so as to ensure maximum benefit and use. The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund has authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this act.
(b) With respect to administering, controlling, and managing sovereignty submerged lands, the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund also may adopt rules governing all uses of sovereignty submerged lands by vessels, floating homes, or any other watercraft, which shall be limited to regulations for anchoring, mooring, or otherwise attaching to the bottom; the establishment of anchorages; and the discharge of sewage, pumpout requirements, and facilities associated with anchorages. The regulations must not interfere with commerce or the transitory operation of vessels through navigable water, but shall control the use of sovereignty submerged lands as a place of business or residence.
(c) Structures which are listed in or are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or the State Inventory of Historic Places which are over the waters of the state and which have a submerged land lease, or have been grandfathered-in to use sovereignty submerged lands until January 1, 1998, pursuant to former rule 18-21.00405, Florida Administrative Code, as it existed in rule on March 15, 1990, shall have the right to continue such submerged land leases, regardless of the fact that the present landholder is not an adjacent riparian landowner, so long as the lessee maintains the structure in a good state of repair consistent with the guidelines for listing. If the structure is damaged or destroyed, the lessee may reconstruct, so long as the reconstruction is consistent with the integrity of the listed structure and does not increase the footprint of the structure. If a listed structure falls into disrepair and the lessee is not willing to repair and maintain it consistent with its listing, the state may cancel the submerged lease and repair and maintain the property or require that the structure be removed from sovereignty submerged lands.
(d) By January 1, 2001, the owners of habitable structures built on or before May 1, 1999, located in conservation areas 2 or 3, on district or state-owned lands, the existence or use which will not impede the restoration of the Everglades, whether pursuant to a submerged lease or not, must provide written notification to the South Florida Water Management District of their existence and location, including an identification of the footprint of the structures. This notification will grant the leaseholders an automatic 20-year lease at a reasonable fee established by the district, or the Department of Environmental Protection, as appropriate, to expire on January 1, 2020. The district or Department of Environmental Protection, as appropriate, may impose reasonable conditions consistent with existing laws and rules. If the structures are located on privately owned lands, the landowners must provide the same notification required for a 20-year permit. If the structures are located on state-owned lands, the South Florida Water Management District shall submit this notification to the Department of Environmental Protection on the owner’s behalf. At the expiration of this 20-year lease or permit, the South Florida Water Management District or the Department of Environmental Protection, as appropriate, shall have the right to require that the leaseholder remove the structures if the district determines that the structures or their use are causing harm to the water or land resources of the district, or to renew the lease agreement. The structure of any owner who does not provide notification to the South Florida Water Management District as required under this subsection, shall be considered illegal and subject to immediate removal. Any structure built in any water conservation area after May 1, 1999, without necessary permits and leases from the South Florida Water Management District, the Department of Environmental Protection, or other local government, as appropriate, shall be considered illegal and subject to removal.
(e) Failure to comply with the conditions contained in any permit or lease agreement as described in paragraph (d) makes the structure illegal and subject to removal. Any structure built in any water conservation area on or after July 1, 2000, is also illegal and subject to immediate removal.
(8)(a) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund shall prepare, using tax roll data provided by the Department of Revenue, or the county property appraisers, an annual inventory of all publicly owned lands within the state. Such inventory shall include all lands owned by any unit of state government or local government; by the Federal Government, to the greatest extent possible; and by any other public entity.
(b) In addition to any other parcel data available, the inventory shall include a legal description or proper reference thereto, the number of acres or square feet within the boundaries, and the assessed value of all publicly owned uplands. To the greatest extent practicable, the legal description or proper reference thereto and the number of acres or square feet shall be determined for all publicly owned submerged lands. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “submerged lands” means publicly owned lands below the ordinary high-water mark of fresh waters and below the mean high-water line of salt waters extending seaward to the outer jurisdiction of the state.
(c) By September 30 of each year, the Department of Revenue shall furnish to the board, in electronic form, the approved preliminary tax roll data for public lands to be used in compiling the inventory. By November 30 of each year, the board shall prepare and provide to each state agency and local government and any other public entity which holds title to real property, including any water management district, drainage district, navigation district, or special taxing district, a list of the real property owned by such entity, required to be listed on county assessment rolls, using tax roll data provided by the Department of Revenue. By January 31 of the following year, each such entity shall review its list and inform the appropriate property appraiser and the board of any corrections to the list. The appropriate county property appraiser shall enter such corrections on the appropriate county tax roll.
(d) Whenever real property is listed on the real property assessment rolls of the respective counties in the name of the State of Florida or any of its agencies, the listing shall not be changed in the absence of a recorded deed executed by the State of Florida or the state agency in whose name the property is listed. If, in preparing the assessment rolls, the property appraisers within the state become aware of the existence of a recorded deed not executed by the state and purporting to convey real property listed on the assessment rolls as state-owned, the property appraiser shall immediately forward a copy of the recorded deed to the state agency in whose name the property is listed.
(e) The board shall use tax roll data, which shall be provided by the Department of Revenue, to assist in the identification and confirmation of publicly held lands. Lands that are held by the state or a water management district and lands that are purchased by the state, a state agency, or a water management district and that are deemed not essential or necessary for conservation purposes are subject to review for surplus sale.
(9) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund is responsible for the acquisition and disposal of federal lands and buildings which are declared surplus or excess. The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund shall establish regular procedures to assure that state and local agencies are made aware of the availability of federal lands and buildings.
(10) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund and the state through any of its agencies are hereby prohibited from levying any charge, by whatever name known, or attaching any lien, on any and all materials dredged from state sovereignty tidal lands or submerged bottom lands or on the lands constituting the spoil areas on which such dredged materials are placed, except as otherwise provided for in this subsection, when such materials are dredged by or on behalf of the United States or the local sponsors of active federal navigation projects in the pursuance of the improvement, construction, maintenance, and operation of such projects or by a public body authorized to operate a public port facility (all such parties referred to herein shall hereafter be called “public body”) in pursuance of the improvement, construction, maintenance, and operation of such facility, including any public transfer and terminal facilities, which actions are hereby declared to be for a public purpose. The term “local sponsor” means the local agency designated pursuant to an act of Congress to assume a portion of the navigation project costs and duties. Active federal navigation projects are those congressionally approved projects which are being performed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers or maintained by the local sponsors.
(a) Except for beach nourishment seaward of existing lines of vegetation on privately owned or publicly owned uplands fronting on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico and authorized pursuant to the provisions of part I of chapter 161, no materials dredged from state sovereignty tidal or submerged bottom lands by a public body shall be deposited on private lands until:
1. The United States Army Corps of Engineers or the local sponsor has first certified that no public lands are available within a reasonable distance of the dredging site; and
2. The public body has published notice of its intention to utilize certain private lands for the deposit of materials, in a newspaper published and having general circulation in the appropriate county at least three times within a 60-day period prior to the date of the scheduled deposit of any such material, and therein advised the general public of the opportunity to bid on the purchase of such materials for deposit on the purchaser’s designated site, provided any such deposit shall be at no increased cost to the public body. Such notice shall state the terms, location, and conditions for receipt of bids and shall state that the public body shall accept the highest responsible bid. All bids shall be submitted to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. All moneys obtained from such purchases of materials shall be remitted forthwith to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. Compliance with this subsection shall vest, without any obligation, full title to the materials in the owner of the land where deposited.
(b) When public lands on which are deposited materials dredged from state sovereignty tidal or submerged bottom lands by the public body are sold or leased for a period in excess of 20 years, which term includes any options to a private party, 50 percent of any remuneration received shall forthwith be remitted to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund and the balance shall be retained by the public body owning the land.
(c) Any materials which have been dredged from state sovereignty tidal or submerged bottom lands by the public body and deposited on public lands may be removed by the public body to private lands or interests only after due advertisement for bids, which means a notice published at least three times within a 60-day period in a newspaper published and having general circulation in the appropriate county. The purchase price submitted by the highest responsible bidder shall be remitted to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. If no bid is received, the public body shall have the right to fully convey title to, and dispose of, any such material on its land, with no requirement of payment to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (a)-(c), the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund shall allow private or public entities to remove, at no charge and with no public notice requirements, spoil site material dredged from state sovereignty tidal lands or submerged bottom lands and to place the material upon public or private lands when:
1. Such removal and placement is done pursuant to a spoil site rejuvenation plan the board of trustees approves; and
2. The board of trustees finds that the removal and placement is in the public interest and would rejuvenate a site for continued spoil disposal. The board of trustees may give priority to requests for spoil site material, which would result in the environmental restoration or enhancement of the new placement site.
(e) Nothing in this subsection shall affect any preexisting contract or permit to engage in dredging of materials from state sovereignty tidal and submerged bottom lands, nor shall it be construed to void any preexisting agreement or lien against the lands upon which dredged materials have been placed or to have any retroactive effect.
(11) The board of trustees may adopt rules to provide for the assessment and collection of reasonable fees, commensurate with the actual cost to the board, for disclaimers, easements, exchanges, gifts, leases, releases, or sales of any interest in lands or any applications therefor and for reproduction of documents. All revenues received from the application fees charged by a water management district to process applications that include a request to use state lands are to be retained by the water management district. The board of trustees shall adopt by rule an annual administrative fee for all existing and future leases or similar instruments to be charged to agencies that are leasing land from the board of trustees. This annual administrative fee assessed for all leases or similar instruments is to compensate the board of trustees for costs incurred in the administration and management of such leases or similar instruments.
(12) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund is hereby authorized to administer, manage, control, conserve, protect, and sell all real property forfeited to the state pursuant to ss. 895.01-895.09 or acquired by the state pursuant to s. 607.0505 or former s. 620.192. The board is directed to immediately determine the value of all such property and shall ascertain whether the property is in any way encumbered. If the board determines that it is in the best interest of the state to do so, funds from the Internal Improvement Trust Fund may be used to satisfy any such encumbrances. If forfeited property receipts are not sufficient to satisfy encumbrances on the property and expenses permitted under this section, funds from another appropriate trust fund may be used to satisfy any such encumbrances and expenses. All property acquired by the board pursuant to s. 607.0505, former s. 620.192, or ss. 895.01-895.09 shall be sold as soon as commercially feasible unless the Attorney General recommends and the board determines that retention of the property in public ownership would effectuate one or more of the following policies of statewide significance: protection or enhancement of floodplains, marshes, estuaries, lakes, rivers, wilderness areas, wildlife areas, wildlife habitat, or other environmentally sensitive natural areas or ecosystems; or preservation of significant archaeological or historical sites identified by the Secretary of State. In such event the property shall remain in the ownership of the board, to be controlled, managed, and disposed of in accordance with this chapter, and the Internal Improvement Trust Fund shall be reimbursed from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, or other appropriate fund designated by the board, for any funds expended from the Internal Improvement Trust Fund pursuant to this subsection in regard to such property. Upon the recommendation of the Attorney General, the board may reimburse the investigative agency for its investigative expenses, costs, and attorneys’ fees, and may reimburse law enforcement agencies for actual expenses incurred in conducting investigations leading to the forfeiture of such property from funds deposited in the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the Department of Environmental Protection. The proceeds of the sale of property acquired under s. 607.0505, former s. 620.192, or ss. 895.01-895.09 shall be distributed as follows:
(a) After satisfaction of any valid claims arising under s. 895.09(1)(a) or (b), any moneys used to satisfy encumbrances and expended as costs of administration, appraisal, management, conservation, protection, sale, and real estate sales services and any interest earnings lost to the trust fund that was used as of a date certified by the Department of Environmental Protection shall be replaced first in the trust fund that was used to satisfy any such encumbrance or expense, if those funds were used, and then in the Internal Improvement Trust Fund; and
(b) The remainder shall be distributed as set forth in s. 895.09.
(13) For applications not reviewed pursuant to s. 373.427, the department must review applications for the use of state-owned submerged lands, including a purchase, lease, easement, disclaimer, or other consent to use such lands and must request submittal of all additional information necessary to process the application. Within 30 days after receipt of the additional information, the department must review the information submitted and may request only that information needed to clarify the additional information, to process the appropriate form of approval indicated by the additional information, or to answer those questions raised by, or directly related to, the additional information. An application for the authority to use state-owned submerged land must be approved, denied, or submitted to the board of trustees for approval or denial within 90 days after receipt of the original application or the last item of timely requested additional information. This time is tolled by any notice requirements of s. 253.115 or any hearing held under ss. 120.569 and 120.57. If the review of the application is not completed within the 90-day period, the department must report quarterly to the board the reasons for the failure to complete the report and provide an estimated date by which the application will be approved or denied. Failure to comply with these time periods shall not result in approval by default.
(14) Where necessary to establish a price for the sale or other disposition of state lands, including leases or easements, the Division of State Lands may utilize appropriate appraiser selection and contracting procedures established under s. 253.025. The board of trustees may adopt rules to implement this subsection.
(15) The board of trustees shall encourage the use of sovereign submerged lands for public access and water-dependent uses which may include related minimal secondary nonwater-dependent uses.
(16) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, and the state through its agencies, may not control, regulate, permit, or charge for any severed materials which are removed from the area adjacent to an intake or discharge structure pursuant to an exemption authorized in s. 403.813(1)(f) and (r).
History.s. 1, ch. 15642, 1931; CGL 1936 Supp. 1446(13); s. 2, ch. 61-119; ss. 2, 3, ch. 67-269; s. 2, ch. 67-2236; ss. 27, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 8, ch. 71-286; s. 1, ch. 75-76; s. 1, ch. 78-251; s. 10, ch. 79-255; s. 15, ch. 80-356; s. 3, ch. 82-144; s. 2, ch. 83-223; s. 10, ch. 84-79; s. 4, ch. 84-249; s. 58, ch. 85-80; s. 1, ch. 85-306; s. 2, ch. 87-307; s. 8, ch. 88-168; s. 3, ch. 88-264; s. 1, ch. 88-357; s. 5, ch. 89-102; s. 7, ch. 89-174; s. 16, ch. 89-175; s. 131, ch. 90-179; s. 1, ch. 91-175; s. 2, ch. 92-109; ss. 67, 490, ch. 94-356; s. 57, ch. 96-410; s. 1, ch. 97-22; s. 36, ch. 97-160; s. 2, ch. 97-164; s. 44, ch. 98-200; s. 9, ch. 99-247; s. 4, ch. 2000-170; s. 22, ch. 2004-234; s. 4, ch. 2005-157; s. 27, ch. 2006-1; s. 5, ch. 2007-73; s. 6, ch. 2009-20; s. 20, ch. 2009-21; ss. 6, 10, ch. 2010-280; SJR 8-A, 2010 Special Session A; s. 15, ch. 2015-229; s. 6, ch. 2016-233.