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Nov. 7, 2005
Texas Parks and Wildlife Land Process Improved
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Nov. 3 reviewed a new Texas Parks and Wildlife Department land transaction process designed to make sure that there is adequate and complete public notice of land transactions and that sufficient time is allowed to properly consider transactions.
This process was developed with input from outside stakeholders, including state agencies such as the General Land Office and the Texas Historical Commission, non-governmental organizations such as the Audubon Society, Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy, and landowner groups such as the Texas Wildlife Association.
The process covers four types of land transactions: purchases, sales, trades and transfers. A key provision is that all transactions will be discussed during at least two commission meetings. This means the commission will be briefed on a proposal at one meeting, then there would be a period of review with opportunities for public comment before the commission would act on the proposal at a subsequent meeting. Between commission meetings, a public input meeting will typically be held for major transactions. Any proposed transaction must be posted for public comment at least 30 days before a meeting in which action could be taken.
For land sales, the advance public notice would include sufficient detail to identify the property, price, and basic facts of the proposal. For land trades and transfers, sufficient detail would also be provided. For land purchases, there would be advance notice and an effort to communicate the general nature of the proposal, but this would not include the price, specific location, landowner’s name and other details that could affect future land transaction prices or otherwise undermine the agency’s negotiating position, a move also designed to protect the seller.
Sales of state-owned inholdings or parcels surrounded by non-TPWD land will be open to the highest bidder, but with the surrounding landowner having first right of offer.
“Housekeeping” transactions of small acreage can be approved by the executive director in consultation with the commission without going through the two meeting process and 30-day public notice.
All transactions are guided by the TPWD Land and Water Conservation and Recreation Plan, a 10-year operational plan which prioritizes public land needs.
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