Title: Proposing a revision of Florida Statutes Sec. 253.12(8)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00052650/00001
 Material Information
Title: Proposing a revision of Florida Statutes Sec. 253.12(8)
Alternate Title: Statement from law firm of Dixon, Bradford, Williams, McKay & Kimbrell, relating to Mangrove Land, Monroe County, and Title problems, proposing a revision of Florida Statutes Sec. 253.12(8) relating to conveyances of sovereignty lands by the Trustees of
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
General Note: Box 5, Folder 11 ( SF MEAN ANNUAL FLOOD ), Item 14
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00052650
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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LAW OFFICES

DIXON, BuAn()I), WILIIAMS, MIKI(AY & KIMllUI.L,
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION
JAMES A. DIXON PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION JOHN G McKAY
A. LEE BRADFORD '1886-1951)
REGINALD L. WILLIAMS H. REID DJARNETTE
JOHN G. MCKAY. JR (1897-1964
CHARLES A KIMBRELL
WARREN D. HAMANN
JOSEPH F. JENNINGS.
JAMES A. DIXON. JR.
JOS. W. WOMACK NINTH FLOOR
PAUL A. CARLSON DADE FEDERAL SAVINGS BUILDING
CARL K. HOFFMANN 101 EAST FLAGLER STREET
A. H. TOOTHMAN
WILLIAM H. JOBES. JR. MIAMI, FLORIDA 33131
JAMES F. CROWDER. JR. CABLE ADDRESS MYAMMA"
JAMES H. WALSH
BARRY G. SEIDEL TELEPHONE 377-1561
DcBLOIS MILLEDGE. JR
WALTER S. HOLLAND
MALCOLM W. WELDON
FREDERICK B. HART
KENNETH F. CLAUSSEN
R. L. EDWARDS April 11, 1969
ROBERT L. BELL






MANGROVE LAND, MONROE COUNTY AND TITLE PROBLEMS:


Practically all of the land in Monroe County has titles
which derive from deeds from the Trustees of the Internal Improve-
ment Fund to private individuals dated between the years 1880 and
1910. The Monroe County Tax Assessor advises that up to 60% of
this land is mangrove land. The deeds to all except full quarter-
quarter sections were by Government lot as determined by the
Government Surveys made in the Florida Keys during the 1870's.

It is an acknowledged fact that when these surveys were
made in mangrove areas, they surveyed the tree fringe of the man-
grove line.

After private owners purchased the land, they have an-
nually paid taxes on this land.

When the original Randall Bulkhead Law was passed,
Monroe County was specifically exempted from the provisions of
the act by Section 253.135 (3) of the Florida Statutes which
states:

"(3) The provisions of 253.122 through 253.128,
inclusive, shall not apply to any county in this
state having a meandered shore line, including main-
land and islands, greater in length than eight hun-
dred and fifty statute miles, and having within its
boundaries meandered islands greater in number than
two hundred". [This definition applies to Monroe
County and only Monroe County in Florida.]

There seemed to be no problem in Monroe County until
about the Spring of 1968. Permits for the purchase of submerged












Page 2 -



land outside the mangrove fringe were granted by the Trustees of
the Internal Improvement Fund on almost a summary basis. With
increased pressure in the interest of conservation, the Trustees
put on a moratorium on the sale of submerged lands and asked all
counties and municipalities to review their bulkhead lines with
a view toward bringing them further landward.

At the same time, the Trustees appointed an Inter-Agency
Advisory Committee. The reports are that this Committee was
heavily conservationist minded, that there were four conserva-
tionists and two development people on the Committee, and that
almost all of the votes were 4 to 2. This Committee recommended
to the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund that it adopt
a resolution establishing the mean high water mark as the point
at which bulkhead lines should be set unless there were strong
reasons for moving the line seaward.

Sovereignty. land is usually defined as land-under navi-
gable waters and the navigable waters description has been liberally
interpreted to mean anything that you can row a skiff over. Sover-
eignty lands are also sometimes described as those lands lying
below the mean high water line. This latter description would, of
necessity, include practically all mangrove except that small per-
centage which is known as black mangrove.

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to set
the mean high water line through mangrove, and in Monroe County,
it would be a prohibitively expensive process. There is further
the inequitable situation of thousands of tax payers having paid
taxes for more than fifty years to be told that because their land
is mangrove and subject to tidal flow, the deeds which were issued
by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund were void inso-
far as they referred to mangrove land and it is kind of just "too
bad" that they have paid all these taxes, and "too bad" that when
they purchased the land, that they paid "X" dollars an acre, but
that because of a new position of the Trustees of the Internal
Improvement Fund, or a new legislative position, they no longer
own the property.

In 1913, to a limited degree, and to a further degree in
1915 and 1917, the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund
specifically received authority to deed sovereignty lands to pri-
vate owners. However, the legislature indicated an intention
that private owners could acquire sovereignty lands when they
passed the original Butler Act in 1856 which act permitted any
upland owner to fill to the nearest channel and thereby acquire
title to the sovereignty lands which were filled.





DIXON. BRADFORD, WILLIAMS. McKAY & KIMBRELL, P. A., ATTORNEYS AT LAW. MIAMI, FLORIDA













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It would seem then that tax payers who, with their pre-
decessors in title, have owned land for in excess of fifty years
by reason of a Government lot deed from the Trustees and who
have paid taxes on this land for this period of time should have
their titles confirmed to the Government meander line or to the
mangrove tree fringe and this is, in fact, what has very recently
been done by the Florida Supreme Court on March 26, 1969. A copy
of this Opinion is attached.

Accordingly, it is urged that Section 253.12 (8), Florida
Statutes, be amended as follows: (Underlining reflects amendment)

S253.12 (8). All Conveyances of sovereignty lands
or fill material therein heretofore made by the
Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of
Florida subsequent to the enactment of chapter 791,
acts of 1856, chapter 6451, acts of 1913, chapter
7304, acts of 1917, and chapter 57-362, as amended,
are hereby ratified, confirmed and validated in all
respects.

































^ tIIA &A~ C lt~-AV A. IMRDf IP A ATTORNEYS AT LAW. MIAMI. FLORIDA _________




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