Florida State Land Right-of-Way (3-FL-b)
The Division of State Lands has the authority to grant easements over state property to public utilities pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 253.002(1). Florida defines “public utility” to include “every person, corporation, partnership, association, or other legal entity and their lessees, trustees, or receivers supplying electricity or gas (natural, manufactured, or similar gaseous substance) to or for the public within this state.” Fla. Stat. § 366.02(1).
State Land Right-of-Way Process
3-FL-b.1 to 3-FL-b.8 – Is the Project on Lands Leased or Managed by an Entity other than TIITF?
If the proposed project is on state lands under lease, sublease, management or other use by an entity other than TIITF the developer should contact that managing state entity. The developer must obtain permission from the authorized managing entity for the State Land Easement (Easement) prior to submitting an application to TIITF. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.018(3)(d)(1). The authorized managing entity may process and grant an Application for a State Land Easement if:
- The managing entity and the lease, sublease, etc. provides for the granting of an Easement related to the functional use of the property; and
The authorized managing entity determines the requested Easement is for the benefit of the authorized managing entity. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.018(3)(d)(3).
If the authorized managing entity has authority to and does grant an Easement, the authorized entity must send a copy of the Easement granted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.018(3)(d)(3).
3-FL-b.9 to 3-FL-b.12 – Contact Florida Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund (TIIFT)
The developer should contact the Florida Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund (TIITF) regarding the proposed activities on state owned-lands. Prior to submitting an Application for a State Land Easement to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands the developer must first obtain a written authorization from TIITF approving the proposed activities. If after review TIITF approves the proposed activities the developer may submit an Application for a State Land Easement to the Division of State Lands. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.019(1).
3-FL-b.13 – Application for a State Land Easement
Uplands are lands that are “above the mean high-water line or ordinary high-water line title to which is vested in the TIITF.” Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.018(51). A developer cannot “commence any excavation, construction, or other activity involving the use of sovereign or other lands of the state, the title to which is vested in TIITF, until the person has received the required lease, license, easement, or other form of consent authorizing the proposed use.” Fla. Stat. § 253.77(1). An easement is “a nonpossessory interest in uplands created by a grant or agreement, which confers upon the applicant (developer) the limited right, liberty and privilege to use uplands for a specific purpose, term and fee.” Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.017 (19).
The developer must affix the Authorization Letter from the TIITF or the authorized entity to its written statement describing how the proposed easement conforms to the management plan or land use plan. Florida Department of Environmental Protection Application for the Use of State Owned Uplands. Further, the developer must include the non-refundable Application fee as well as a written commitment to pay an easement fee based on the appraised market value of the proposed easement. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.019(4)(d)
3-FL-b.14 to 3-FL-b.16 – Review Application Materials for Completeness
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands reviews the Application materials for administrative and technical completeness. Should it be found deficient, the Division of State Lands will provide notice to the applicant (developer) requesting additional information. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.019(2). The developer must provide the additional information requested within 90 days upon receipt of notice. If the developer does not respond within 90 days the Application is deemed deactivated. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.019(2).
3-FL-b.17 to 3-FL-b.19 – Publish Public Notice
Upon receiving a completed Application, the TIITF provides notice of the Application to the public and also mails a copy of the notice to all individuals who have requested to be on a mailing list as well as to each owner of land lying within 500 feet of the land proposed for a State Land Easement. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.019(3)(a). The public notice must include:
- The name and address of the applicant (developer);
- A brief description of the proposed activity and any mitigation;
- The location of the proposed activity, including whether it is located adjacent to an Outstanding Florida Water (surface waters located within national parks, preserves, memorials, wildlife refuges, state park systems and wilderness areas pursuant to Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 62-302-700(2)) or an aquatic preserve;
- A map identifying the location of the proposed activity subject to the Application;
- A diagram of the limits of the proposed activity; and
- A name or number identifying the Application and the office where the Application can be inspected.
Interested parties may comment on the Application. The Division of State Lands reviews and considers all comments and objections received during the public notice and comment period. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.019(3)(b).
3-FL-b.20 – Hold Informal Public (If Applicable)
The Division of State Lands may hold an informal public hearing in the county where the developer’s property is located if there is an objection raised that demonstrates that the proposed activity would impact the local public or that the activity itself may impact the state land’s management of conservation and protection of natural resources, the Division of State Lands holds an informal public hearing. The Division of State Lands must hold the public hearing in the county where the developer’s property is located. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.019(3)(b).
3-FL-b.21 to 3-FL-b.24 – Review Application for Approval
The Division of State Lands reviews the Application for approval. The Division of State Lands must then issue a notice of its intended agency action to both, the developer and all those who have requested a copy of the decision for that specific Application. Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.019(3)(c).
3-FL-b.25 – Appeal Decision (Optional)
A developer or interested party, such as owners of landowners within the work areas known to be involved or potentially impacted by the proposed work, may appeal the Division of Lands’ decision, within 30 days of having issued the decision. Fla. Stat. § 120.68(2)(a); Fla. R. App. P. 9.190(b).
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- Florida - Fla. Stat. §§ 366.01 - 366.95, Public Utilities
- Florida - Fla. Stat. §§ 253.01 - 253.87, State Lands
- Florida — Fla. Stat. §§ 120.50 – 120.81, Administrative Procedure Act
- Florida — Fla. R. App. P. §§ 9.190 et seq., Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure
- Florida - Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.019, Procedures to Obtain Authorization (2017)
- Florida - Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.018, Policies, Standards, and Criteria for Evaluating, Approving or Denying Requests to Use Uplands (2017)
- Florida - Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 18-2.017, Definitions (2016)
- Florida – Fla. Admin. Code Ann. § 62-302-700 (2017)