Alabama State Land Right-of-Way (3-AL-b)
In addition, through a cooperative process the ADCNR may lease, exchange, or sell state lands in coordination with and approval of, the Alabama Governor, and the managing head of the department or institution (i.e., state agency) to which said lands belong. Ala. Code § 9-15-18.
State Land Right-of-Way Process
3-AL-b.1 to 3-AL-b.3 – Does the Project Require Access to Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Jurisdictional Lands?
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) has full or partial jurisdiction over most state lands. The ADCNR maintains, supervises, operates, and controls all state lands not specifically under the jurisdiction of another state entity. Ala. Code § 9-2-2(4).
The ADCNR also has jurisdiction and control over all unused lands owned by the State of Alabama and is required to determine the best use of any unused lands. Ala. Code § 9-15-2; Ala. Code § 9-15-4. Unused lands are “those lands not utilized for the immediate purposes of any institution or department, not being cultivated, leased or mined and not contiguous to the premises of any department or institution or state building.” Ala. Code § 9-15-1(2). In addition, ADCNR may lease, exchange, or sell certain state lands not solely under its jurisdiction with approval from the Alabama Governor, and the managing head of the department or institution which said lands belong. Ala. Code § 9-15-18.
If the project requires access to state lands solely outside the jurisdiction of the ADCNR, the developer should contact the state agency with jurisdiction to determine the State Land Lease process. If the project requires access to ADCNR owned lands or lands in which ADCNR has cooperative jurisdiction, the developer should contact the ADCNR for details about the State Land Lease process.
3-AL-b.4 – Appraise Land
The ADCNR Division of State Lands must have the land appraised before selling or leasing the land. Ala. Code § 9-15-72; State Lands Webpage. The State Lands Division must have the property appraised by a real estate appraiser who is licensed by the State Board of Appraisers. Ala. Code § 9-15-73. The real estate appraiser must make the appraisal in writing, and if the ADCNR State Lands Division is not satisfied with a single appraisal, then the ADCNR State Lands Division may obtain additional appraisals. Ala. Code § 9-15-73.
3-AL-b.5 – Obtain Deed and Other Documents
The ADCNR Division of State Lands must obtain the deed, and all other documents required for selling or leasing the land. Ala. Code § 9-15-72.
3-AL-b.6 to 3-AL-b.7 – Does the ADCNR Have Sole Jurisdiction Over the Lands in Question?
If ADCNR does not have sole jurisdiction of the state lands in question, the state agency with ownership interest in the land, that intends to sell or lease the land, must notify the ADCNR State Lands Division “of its desire and intention to sell or lease” the property. Ala. Code § 9-15-72. In notifying the State Lands Division, the state agency must include specific information regarding the property to be leased or sold. Ala. Code § 9-15-72.
3-AL-b.8 to 3-AL-b.11 – Consider Appraisal Value
If the ADCNR is not the owner of the state land in question, the state agency with ownership interest in the land must consider the appraisal value to determine whether the ADCNR may sell or lease the land. Ala. Code § 9-15-74.
The state agency with ownership interest has the authority to make the final determination regarding whether the ADCNR sells or leases the land after considering the land’s appraisal value. Ala. Code § 9-15-74. If the state agency determines that the ADCNR should sell or lease the land, then the state agency must submit the proposed lease to the Governor for approval. Ala. Code § 9-15-74.
3-AL-b.12 to 3-AL-b.13 – Determine Whether the ADCNR May Sell or Lease the Land
After receiving the proposed land lease from the ADCNR, the Governor must decide whether the ADCNR may lease or sale the land in question. Ala. Code § 9-15-74.
3-AL-b.14 – Consult ADCNR State Land Division
If the state agency and Governor approve the proposed lease or sale, then the state agency with property interest in the land must consult with the ADCNR State Lands Division to determine the minimum price for the lease or sale, and whether the land will be leased or sold by free and open competitive auction or advertised sealed bid. Ala. Code § 9-15-74.
3-AL-b.15 – Is a Competitive Land Lease Bidding Process Required?
Generally, if the land is valued at more than $20,000, then the ADCNR State Lands Division must sell or lease the land by holding either a free and open competitive public auction or advertised sealed bid. Ala. Code § 9-15-71; Ala. Code § 9-15-72.
However, the developer may not need to engage in the competitive bidding process, if there is no competitive market for the proposed sale or lease. Ala. Code § 9-15-82. A competitive bidding process is not required to “grant easements, rights-of-ways for utilities, roads, streets, and sidewalks where there is no competitive market.” Ala. Code § 9-15-82. If a competitive bidding process is not required, go to: 3-AL-b.23.
3-AL-b.16 – Publish Notice of Pending Land Sale or Lease
The ADCNR State Land Division must publish public notice of the pending land sale or lease, including the minimum amount for which the land is to be leased or sold. State Lands Webpage; Ala. Code § 9-15-75. The ADCNR must:
- Advertise the land sale or lease at least once a week for four (4) weeks in advance of the date for receiving bids or holding a public auction;
- Publish notice of the land sale or lease at least once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or counties where the property is located;
- Publish notice of the land sale or lease at least one (1) time in three other newspapers of general circulation throughout the state;
- Post notice of the land sale or lease on a readily accessible public bulletin board at the ADCNR State Lands Division main office; and
- Mail notice of the land sale or lease to any person who requests notice and provides their mailing address.
The notice must:
- Include a description of the property to be sold, location of the property, and dates and times when the property may be inspected; and
- State the date, time, and place of auctioning or opening of sealed bids reserving the state agency’s right to reject any bid.
3-AL-b.17 – Hold Public Auction
The ADCNR State Lands Division must hold a public auction for a free and competitive auction on the lease or sale of the proposed land or to accept advertised sealed bids. The ADCNR must hold the public auction in Montgomery or an alternative location determined by the ADCNR State Lands Division. Ala. Code § 9-15-78.
3-AL-b.18 – Bid on Land
The developer must submit a bid on the real property or interest in the property to be sold or leased to the ADCNR State Land Division via open competitive auction or sealed bid. Ala. Code § 9-15-76.
If the land is sold or leased at public auction, the ADCNR State Lands Division determines the amount of money required to make a successful bid. Ala. Code § 9-15-76. The developer’s bid must include a certified check or bank cashier’s check for this predetermined amount, not to exceed 20% of the developer’s bid. Ala. Code § 9-15-76.
3-AL-b.19 to 3-AL-b.22 – Is the Bid Accepted?
The ADCNR or the state agency with property interest in the land may accept or reject any bid. Ala. Code § 9-15-74. If the ADCNR or the state agency with property interest in the land accepts the bid, then the ADCNR State Lands Division must notify the highest bidder within 30 days. Ala. Code § 9-15-78.
If there is a sealed bidding process, the ADCNR State Lands Division must mark the successful sealed bid and unsuccessful sealed bids and place those bids on file, open to public inspection. Ala. Code § 9-15-77.
3-AL-b.23 – Negotiate State Land Lease (If Applicable)
If the competitive bidding process is not required, or no bid is made, or all bids are rejected, then the ADCNR or the state agency with property interest or both the ADCNR and the state agency with property interest may negotiate the sale or lease of the land. Ala. Code § 9-15-79.
The land may not be sold or leased for a price less than the highest bid, in the case that a bid is made, or the published minimum, whichever is highest. Ala. Code § 9-15-79.
3-AL-b.24 – Does the Governor Approve the Lease or Sale?
If the lease or sale is negotiated, then the Governor must approve the lease or sale. Ala. Code § 9-15-79.
3-AL-b.25 – State Land Lease
If the Governor approves the negotiated lease the ADCNR State Lands Division must close the sale or lease no later than 30 days after approval. Ala. Code § 9-15-79.
3-AL-b.26 – Pay Costs Associated with the Lease or Sale
The state agency must reimburse the ADCNR State Lands Division for the costs associated with administering the lease or sale from the proceeds of the final sale or lease. Ala. Code § 9-15-77.
3-AL-b.27 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)
Any person aggrieved by a final state agency decision may appeal the decision by filing an Application for Rehearing with ADCNR within 15 days of ADCNR issuing a final decision. Ala. Code § 41-22-17.
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