Presenter: Dennis Johnston

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Action
Floating Cabin Proclamation
November 2001

I. Discussion: The passage of Senate Bill 1573 by the Seventy-seventh Legislature delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission the authority to implement the Floating Cabin Permit program. Staff received permission from The Regulations Committee at its August 2001 meeting to publish the proposed regulations (located at Exhibit A) in the Texas Register for public comment.

Staff solicited input on these issues from all Floating Cabin Permit applicants, cabin owner’s and persons interested in the program at meetings held in Dickinson and Corpus Christi. A total of 94 persons attended these meetings. The current proposals reflect a synthesis of input from these meetings.

II. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts §55.201-55.207 concerning floating cabins in public coastal water” with changes to the proposed text (located in Exhibit A) as published in the October 5, 2001, issue of the Texas Register (26 TexReg).”

Attachments - 2
1. Exhibit A - Proposed Floating Rules
2. Exhibit B - Summary of Public Comments
3. Exhibit C - Fiscal Note (Available upon request)


Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

Floating Cabin Permits
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new §§55.201-55.207, concerning floating cabins in public coastal waters. The new sections are required to implement the provisions of Senate Bill 1573, enacted by the 77th Legislature. New §55.201, concerning Definitions, contains descriptions of certain terms used in the rulemaking, and is necessary to unambiguously determine the applicability of the rules to affected parties. New §55.202, concerning Issuance and Renewal of Permits, sets forth the requirements and deadlines for the issuance and renewal of permits. The new section is necessary to establish a uniform method for persons who own floating cabins affected by the statute to acquire, maintain, transfer, or relinquish permits. New §55.203, concerning Relocation Requirements, sets forth the conditions and procedures for relocating a permitted floating cabin from a permitted location to a new location. The new rule is necessary to satisfy statutory provisions. New §55.204, concerning Replacement Requirements, establishes a procedure for application and approval prior to replacement of a floating cabin, and is necessary to comply with the provisions of the statute. New §55.205, concerning Marking and Identification Requirements, sets forth a convention for the marking and identification of floating cabins, and is necessary to comply with the statute. New §55.206, concerning Permit Purchase Program, creates a mechanism and procedures for the department to purchase and retire permits issued under the subchapter. The section is necessary to comply with the provisions of the statute. New §55.207, concerning Specifications for Marine Sanitation Devices, establishes the minimum sanitation requirements for floating cabins, and is necessary to meet statutory requirements.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be negligible fiscal implications to state and local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald has also determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be the discharge of the agency’s statutory duty under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 32, which will result in improved water quality of the public waters of this state by control of unregulated sewage discharges from floating cabins; the control of hazards to navigation due to unmarked and unlit floating cabins at random locations; and the protection of marine ecosystems from unregulated development in public waters.

(B) There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, or microbusinesses. There will be economic costs to persons required to comply with the rules as proposed. In addition to the initial $1,500 permit fee and annual $300 renewal fee established by statute, all persons seeking a permit for a floating cabin will be responsible for costs associated with sewage treatment and marking and identification. The department estimates that the minimum cost of a marine sanitation device is $200. The department estimates that the cost of complying with the marking and identification requirements of the subchapter (primarily, the purchase of either a marine battery or solar panel to power electrical lights) will be less than $100.

(C) The department has not prepared a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comments.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Dennis Johnston, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389- 4624or 1-800-792-1112 extension 4624 (e-mail: dennis.johnston@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

The new rules are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.005, which authorizes the commission to adopt rules to implement the provisions of Chapter 32.

The proposed rules affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 32.

§55.201. Definitions. The following words or terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, except where context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) Floating Cabin – means a structure securely moored in the coastal water of this state used for habitation or shelter and not routinely used for transportation. The term includes all mooring lines, anchors, anchor lines, spuds, and pilings and any other tethering devices. The term does not include a structure permitted by the General Land Office under Chapter 33, Natural Resources Code.

(2) Portable Marine Sanitation Device – A device that is designed to facilitate the transport of sewage for onshore disposal.

§55.202. Issuance, Renewal, and Transfer of Permits.

(a) Permits will only be issued to floating cabins:

(1) meeting the eligibility requirements set forth in Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.052;

(2) and for which all applicable fees have been paid; and

(3)for which a completed application has been submitted to the department on or before February 1, 2002.

(b) Permits issued under authority of this subchapter are valid only during the yearly period for which they are issued without regard to the date on which the permits are acquired. Each yearly permit period begins on September 1 and ends on August 31.

(c) A person possessing a permit issued under this subchapter may renew that permit by submitting a completed permit renewal form and renewal fee to the department prior to the expiration date of the current permit.

(d) Permits that are not renewed within 90 days after expiration will become ineligible for renewal and the affected floating cabin will be subject to removal at the owner’s expense according to the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.154.

(e) A person possessing a permit issued under this subchapter shall notify the department prior to the transfer of the permitted floating cabin to an new owner. Notification shall be on a form provided by the department.

(f) A person purchasing a permitted floating cabin may not renew the annual permit unless the person has submitted a completed transfer application.

§55.203. Relocation Requirements.

(a) A floating cabin may not be relocated except on approval of a completed Relocation Application and verification that the proposed location meets the requirements of this subchapter and Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.107 and §32.108.

(b) A floating cabin may not be relocated more than twice during a permit year.

(c) A floating cabin may not be relocated within:

(1) a distance of 1000 feet of any other floating cabin or structure required to be permitted under Natural Resource Code, Chapter 33; or

(2) a distance of 250 feet of a pipeline.

(d) Upon written notification to Texas Parks and Wildlife, a permitted floating cabin may be removed from public water for the purpose of repair at any time. At the completion of repairs, the cabin may be returned to the original permitted location.

§55.204. Replacement Requirements. Upon approval of a Floating Cabin Replacement Application, a floating cabin permitted under the provisions of this subchapter may be replaced by a floating cabin meeting the requirements of §55.205 of this title (relating to Identification and Marking Requirements) and Parks and Wildlife Code, §32.101 and §32.103(1).

§55.205. Identification and Marking Requirements. All floating cabins required to be permitted under the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 32, shall be marked as follows.

(1) The permit number must be displayed on the outside of the cabin area on two opposite sides. The number shall be attached to or painted in block arabic letters of good proportion in contrasting color to the background and be at least three inches in height. The assigned permit numbering pattern consists of the prefix “FC” followed by a combination of numerals and an annual validation sticker. The group of numerals appearing between the letters and validation sticker shall be separated by a hyphen or equivalent space.

(2) Each floating cabin must exhibit a red or orange reflector measuring a minimum of 9 square inches. Reflectors shall be mounted on the outer 1/3 portion of each side of the floating cabin in a manner allowing an unobstructed view from an approach to the side.

§55.206. Permit Purchase Program

(a) Delegation of Authority. The commission delegates power and authority to the executive director to administer the Floating Cabin Buyback Program.

(b) Permit Buyback Bid Application Period

(1) The department may open one or more permit buyback bid offer application periods per permit year if available funds permit.

(2) The department shall establish during each application period a deadline for receipt of all applications.

(c) Permit Buyback Application Requirements.

(1) The department shall consider all applications to the Floating Cabin Buyback Program provided the applicants meet the following requirements:

(A) a completed Permit Buyback Application form furnished by the department has been submitted to the department by the application deadline;

(B) the applicant is the owner of the permit submitted for buyback; and

(C) the applicant has submitted to the department copies of all supplemental information as required in this subsection.

(2) A completed Permit Buyback Application shall contain:

(A) the full name of the applicant(s) having ownership rights;

(B) the current address of the applicant’s residence;

(C) the social security number of the applicant(s);

(D) the applicant’s bid offer, in U.S. dollars.

(d) Established Maximum Value Criteria.

(1) The department may, each permit year, establish criteria which will be used as appropriate to assign an Established Maximum Value to each application.

(2) The department will assign an Established Maximum Value to each application according to criteria provided in this section.

(3) The Established Maximum Value for each application will be based on the following criteria:

(A) length, width, and height of floating cabin;

(B) amount of funds accumulated in the Floating Cabin Buyback Fund;

(C) bid offers from previous application periods;

(D) established open market prices for permitted cabins; and

(E) other relevant factors.

(e) Application Ranking Procedures.

(1) Ranking values will be assigned to all applications based on the greatest difference between the Established Maximum Value and the bid offers which are less than the Established Maximum Value.

(2) The department will purchase permits beginning with the highest ranking to the lowest.

(3) Equally ranked bid offers:

(A) If bid offers are equally ranked and one floating cabin is larger in length, width, and height, the department will rank the larger floating cabin ahead of the smaller;

(B) If bid offers are equally ranked and both floating cabins are the same length and width, the department will rank according to the ascending alphabetical order of the applicant’s last name.

(C) The department may purchase permits whose offers fall within 10% of the Established Market Value and are greater than the Established Market Value.

(f) Notification of Acceptance or Rejection of Application.

(1) Department will notify each applicant in writing within 45 days of receipt of application regarding acceptance or rejection of application bid offer.

(2) Applicants whose bids are accepted must then notify the department of their intent to accept or reject the offer from the department within 15 days of the postmark of the notification letter sent by the department.

(3) The department may retain unsuccessful applications and include them in the next application period.

(4) The unsuccessful applicant may withdraw, resubmit, or amend an application for consideration during any future application periods.

55.207. Specifications for Marine Sanitation Devices. Floating Cabins required to be permitted by Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 32, shall have sewage disposal devices and equipment meeting the following requirements:

(1) A Portable Marine Sanitation Device shall meet the following specifications:

(A) The holding tank must be designed to facilitate the transport of sewage for lawful onshore disposal.

(B) The device must be maintained in a serviceable condition allowing for removal of waste for onshore disposal.

(2) Any marine sanitation device permanently installed on or within any floating cabin shall meet the following specifications:

(A) The device shall be constructed so as to prevent the overboard discharge of treated or untreated sewage or any waste derived from sewage.

(B) The device shall be designed for removal of waste materials by authorized pumping or removal of a liquid-tight storage container for onshore discharge.

(C) Pumping shall only be permitted using the following methods:

(i) discharge to a legally authorized sewage system;

(ii) discharge to a legally authorized pump-out facility; or

(iii) discharge to a liquid-tight vacuum truck or other conveyance for disposal by any of the methods listed in this section.

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit B

Summary of Public Comments

Internet:

1. Richard Pond, 9/12/01. Would like to see cabins eliminated on coast.

2. Joe Cannon, 9/13/01. Does not think we should charge $300 for permit.

3. Dave Schneider, 9/28/01. Full agreement with proposals.

4. David Rowsey, 10/3/01. Would like to see cabins eliminated on coast.

Public Hearing – Dickinson, Texas 9/17/01:

1. Alvin Meyer. Wants a longer period for renewal of permit each year.

2. Danny Holmes. Wants 6 months to renew permit and wants a red reflector to be used on cabin.

3. Larry Beavers. Would like TPW to send notices or renewal 60 days before renewal and would like white and green reflectors required.

Public Hearing – Corpus Christi, Texas 9/18/01:

1. Jim Atkins. 1000 ft. restriction to much, would force cabins into bad areas.

2. David McKee. Likes distance restriction but wants it reduced.

3. Robert Stone. Recommended 300 ft. distance restriction.

4. Gary Perry. Does not want distance restriction more than 500 ft.

5. Andy Agan. Does not want distance restriction.

6. Dan Stifle. Has green reflector but does not care what color is used.

7. Paul Kratzik. Would like to see standard 3” reflector instead of 9 square inches.


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