Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter:  Ted Hollingsworth

Action
Request for Utility Easement – Harris County
Telecommunications Cable at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
May 26, 2011

I.       Executive Summary:  AT&T requests an after-the-fact easement for a telecommunications cable installed across a portion of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site (SHS) in January 2011.

II.      Discussion:  In January 2011, AT&T excavated two (2) small bore pits in the extreme southern end of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site (SHS), as part of a project to provide upgraded telecommunications facilities to Occidental Chemical Company.  Park staff halted the work, and AT&T agreed to conduct all necessary archeological testing and await a permit from TPWD before proceeding.  The telecommunications line itself is to be directionally drilled.

A temporary construction authorization has been issued to AT&T, subject to authorization of an easement by the TPW Commission.  Staff requests permission to begin the public notice and input process.

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

“The Commission adopts the Resolution attached as Exhibit A.”

Attachments — 5

  1. Exhibit A – Resolution
  2. Exhibit B – Location Map
  3. Exhibit C – Vicinity Map
  4. Exhibit D – Site Map
  5. Exhibit E – Close-up Map

Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Regarding the Granting of an Easement Covering Approximately One Third Acre of Real Property in Harris County for an Underground Telecommunications Cable Crossing the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

Whereas, AT&T has requested an easement covering approximately one third acre crossing the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site (SHS) in Harris County Texas (the Easement); and,

Whereas, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) owns and manages the SHS for the purposes of restoring and maintaining the historic battleground and interpreting the Battle of San Jacinto to site visitors; and,

Whereas, Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem) owns and operates a major chemical plant adjacent to the SHS and has need for upgraded telecommunications capabilities; and,

Whereas, OxyChem has partnered with TPWD on projects to restore the marshes and prairies of the SHS to their historic condition; and,

Whereas, AT&T did excavate two (2) bore pits on the SHS without proper authorization from TPWD; and,

Whereas, AT&T did perform required archeological investigations on backfill from the bore pits and the route of the telecommunications cable, and was subsequently issued a temporary permit by TPWD staff to directionally bore the cable; and,

Whereas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) finds that as required by Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26, notices of today’s hearing of this matter were published at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation which is published at least six days a week in the community nearest to the Subject Tract in which such newspapers are published (Houston Chronicle in Harris County), with the last day of publication being not less than one week or more than two weeks before the date of today’s hearing and that such notices specified the date and time at which the Commission would hear testimony regarding the Easement; and,

Whereas, AT&T has agreed to compensate TPWD for the Easement and has undertaken certain activities and certain mitigation measures that minimized the potential for further impacts to natural and cultural resources within the SHS; and,

Whereas, TPWD staff believe that requiring the relocation of the Easement off the SHS would be likely to result in greater net impacts to cultural resources, and therefore granting of an Easement to AT&T is not inconsistent with the mission of TPWD; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26, that (1) there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use or taking of such land (Easement); (2) the program or project that requires the use or taking of land (Easement) includes all reasonable planning to minimize harm to the land (Easement); and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Section 13.009 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code that conveyance of the Easement subject to conditions that will minimize the overall impacts of the Easement on the SHS is in the best interest of TPWD; and,

Now, therefore, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to negotiate terms and conditions under which an Easement may be granted, and to grant an Easement to AT&T for the purposes and subject to the conditions described herein and in the motion approved in this Resolution.


Adopted and approved this 26th day of May 2011.

________________________________
Peter M. Holt, Chairman

________________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Vice-Chairman

________________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Member

________________________________
Antonio Falcon M.D., Member

________________________________
Karen J. Hixon, Member

________________________________
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

________________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

________________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member

________________________________
Dick Scott, Member


Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit B

Location Map for San Jacinto Battleground SHS in Harris County


Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit C

Vicinity Map for San Jacinto SHS 30 miles East of Downtown Houston


Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit D

Site Map Showing the Location of the AT&T Line within the SHS


Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit E

Close-Up Map Showing Location of AT&T Telecommunications Line


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