Commission Agenda Item No. 18
Presenter:  Corky Kuhlmann

Action
Land Transfer – El Paso County
January 24, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has been requested to transfer approximately 8 acres to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

II.      Discussion:  TxDOT has requested that approximately 8 acres of land be transferred to TxDOT by TPWD to facilitate the building of a new entrance at Franklin Mountains State Park (FMSP).

The proposed new entrance will include a grade separated intersection that will produce multiple benefits to the mission of TPWD.  First, the underpass will eliminate the dangerous surface crossing that presently exists for park visitors entering or exiting the park.  The design also creates independent deceleration and acceleration lanes completely separated from the main driving lanes of Loop 375.  Both of these design features enhance the safety of visitors coming to FMSP.  Secondly, Loop 375, also known as Transmountain Road, is presently being upgraded to a limited access divided highway.  The construction of this intersection will create a wildlife crossing under Loop 375.  Thirdly, the same factors that create a wildlife crossing also create a grade separated pedestrian and biking connection between the north and south halves of the park. Presently, there is not any trail connection between the north and south halves of the park. Fourthly, the intersection will not further degrade the viewshed as the crossover will be constructed under the current Loop 375.  Minimal viewshed impacts may occur from the additional roadway exit/on ramps to access the crossover.

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 — 4

  1. Exhibit A – Resolution
  2. Exhibit B — Location Map
  3. Exhibit C – Vicinity Map
  4. Exhibit D – Site Map

Commission Agenda Item No. 18
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission regarding the Transfer of approximately Eight Acres of Land to the Texas Department of Transportation for Construction of a New Entrance Drive to Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso County

Resolution

Whereas, Franklin Mountains State Park (the Park) was acquired and developed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in the 1980s to protect the unique topography and biology of the Franklin Mountains and provide outdoor recreation opportunities to the public; and,

Whereas, access is provided to the Park from State Loop 375, also known as the Trans Mountain Highway (the Highway), constructed and maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT); and,

Whereas, TPWD and TxDOT recognize that the current entrance to the park from the Highway is dangerous for park visitors and for wildlife; and,

Whereas, TPWD and TxDOT have worked cooperatively to design a new park entrance that is safer for park visitors and for wildlife; and,

Whereas, construction of this newly-designed Park entrance by TxDOT will require the transfer of approximately eight acres of land (the Subject Tract) from TPWD to TxDOT (the Transfer); 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 (El Paso Times  in El Paso 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 Transfer; and,

Whereas, TxDOT will construct the new Park entrance at no additional cost to TPWD; and,

Whereas, the entrance design and construction methodologies have been subject to environmental review and comment by the TPWD Wildlife Habitat Assessment Program, to minimize impacts to the environment and wildlife resources; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26, that there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the Transfer; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Section 13.009 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code that this Transfer 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 transfer approximately eight acres of land to TxDOT for the construction of a new park entrance at Franklin Mountains State Park consistent with the purposes and subject to the conditions described herein and in the motion approving this Resolution.

Adopted and approved this 24th day of January 2013.

___________________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

___________________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

___________________________________
Antonio Falcon, M.D., Member

___________________________________
Karen J. Hixon, Member

___________________________________
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

___________________________________
Bill Jones, Member

___________________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

___________________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member

___________________________________
Dick Scott, Member


Commission Agenda Item No. 18
Exhibit B

Location Map
El Paso County


Commission Agenda Item No. 18
Exhibit C

Vicinity Map
Franklin Mountains State Park


Commission Agenda Item No. 18
Exhibit D

Site Map
Franklin Mountains SP


Back to Top
Back to Top