Title: Gardner, Tom. "Florida's CARL Program: A Change in Procedure. December 1987. 3p.
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Title: Gardner, Tom. "Florida's CARL Program: A Change in Procedure. December 1987. 3p.
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Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
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Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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12/87

Florida's CARL Program: A Change in Procedure


by Tom Gardner



In 1979, the Florida Legislature enacted a law creating

within the Department of Natural Resources what is known as the
Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) Program. Its
predecessor, the 1972 Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL)

Program, was incorporated into the CARL Program and together they
provide for the purchase of lands for the public's use in a

recreational capacity as well as to enhance efforts to protect

and conserve environmentally critical parcels of land.

Recreational uses include the establishment of state parks,
recreation areas, public beaches and state forests. Other land

tracts are obtained through CARL, managed and utilized in a

manner supportive of present efforts regarding such issues as

water quality, fish and wildlife habitat management, the

restoration of lands and/or bodies of water to correct previous

environmental damage thereon, and the preservation of significant

archaeological or historical sites and lands containing unique

geologic features.
Over 490,000 acres of land have been purchased through the

CARL and EEL programs at a cost of approximately $360 million.

Almost all of this acreage has recreational potential directly

derived from the character of the land. Lands acquired through

the EEL program, however, because of that program's statutory

objectives, were primarily acquired to preserve the unique and
irreplaceable ecological features of those lands. Conversely,
over half of the lands acquired through the CARL program have
been, or soon will be, designated for intensive recreational use,

the rest having been added to the state's inventory of environ-









mentally sensitive lands to be managed accordingly. Also, some

82,304 acres are lands which adjoin, or are part of, a designated

Area of Critical State Concern.

A main element of the 1979 CARL legislation was the
designation as to who would be responsible for administering the
program. This responsibility is shared among three public

entities: the Land Acquisition Selection Committee, the Board of

Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, and the Division

of State Lands of the Department of Natural Resources. General-

ly, the Selection Committee chooses the properties to be acquired

and develops a priority list, the Division of State Lands nego-

tiates acquisition, and the Board of Trustees oversees activities

involving the CARL program and allocates money from the CARL

Trust Fund for these purchases.

For the past eight years, negotiations involving the CARL
program have been carried out in a manner such that there was no
binding commitment required of the owner of the property under

consideration prior to the time when appraisal activities were

initiated by the Division of State Lands. Earlier this year a

detailed examination of all steps involved in the CARL program,

prompted by discussions during a Governor and Cabinet Workshop on
land acquisitions, revealed the need to change this procedure.

Of the 59 acquisition projects currently on the CARL
priority list, the top 16 have a total tax assessed value of

approximately $100 million, which is the amount estimated to be

allocated to the CARL Trust Fund during the next two years. As
such, these 16 are the only projects which will be reviewed and
considered by the DNR staff now.

Our new procedure will require that a binding agreement be
obtained from the owners of those properties ranked from numbers
17 through 59 on the priority list. Those properties ranked from










positions 17 through 41 which have a total tax assessed value

of roughly $100 million would be purchased at a discounted rate

such that DNR would pay no more than 50% of the appraised value

of any given project. The remaining properties, ranked from

positions 42 through 59 on the priority list, would be purchased

at no more than 40% of their appraised value. No DNR staff

appraisal and acquisition activities will be initiated unless and

until an agreement meeting the above requirements is reached

between DNR and the property owners.
Upon the DNR's completion of the appropriate appraisal and

acquisition activities, should conditions develop such that a

property owner fails to fulfill the agreement with regard to the
purchase of any of those properties ranked below position 16,

excluding two projects tied to the Save Our Everglades program,

the DNR staff would recommend the projects) be removed from the

CARL list.
This change in procedure, we believe, will improve the

effectiveness and efficiency of the CARL program in that it will

provide an accelerated pace for the overall handling of, and
negotiations on, the various acquisition projects.





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