There are several steps required before new land may be added to the Conservation 20/20 Program. The following outlines the main phases of this process and provides links to further information and the forms required and used.
Willing sellers must submit a nomination form/application to the Division of County Lands to have their property evaluated. There is no fee to apply, and the landowner may withdraw the application at any time until (or if) the County and landowner enter into a contract for the County to buy the property. During the review process, the landowner may continue any marketing of the property. These provisions ensure that the landowner remains a willing seller throughout the review process, and that private property rights are not adversely affected.
On the nomination form, the owner must provide an asking price, and all owners of record must sign the form or provide signatures on separate forms. The owner(s) should answer as many questions on the second page of the form as they can. It is not mandatory, but highly encouraged that the owner(s) provide as many of the following documents available. This data will help avoid delays in the review process:
- Copy of Appraisal Report
- Copy of Boundary Survey
- Wetlands/Uplands Determination or Wetland jurisdictional map
- Copy of Title Policy or other title research verifying ownership and encumbrances
- Listed Species Survey
- Copy of all land development permits
Each property that is submitted to the program will go through a review before a decision is made whether to pursue it for acquisition. The Board of County Commissioners appointed a 15-member citizen advisory committee, named the Conservation Lands Acquisition and Stewardship Advisory Committee (CLASAC), to recommend which properties will be forwarded to secondary review. CLASAC conducts a minimum of four meetings in the review process: two full meetings and two sub-committee meetings.
The following paragraphs describe the initial and secondary review process and provide links to the initial and secondary review criteria. You are encouraged to nominate your property if you believe that your property could be eligible. Remember, there is no fee to apply, and your private property rights are not affected. The review process will take approximately 1-2 months for the initial screening and 1-2 months for the secondary review, depending upon the number of applications under review.
Properties must be researched by staff to determine how many review criteria the property will meet.
An initial review is conducted to screen out properties that are determined to be inappropriate for the program. This enables the landowner to know in a relatively short period of time if the property is either not going to be considered further or if it will move on to a more detailed review.
The initial review asks seven questions. In general, CLASAC will forward to secondary review properties that meet at least four of the seven criteria. However, exceptions are sometimes made for properties that can make important connections to existing conservation lands.
Based on the findings of the secondary review, CLASAC will recommend to the BOCC whether the property should be pursued for acquisition. The secondary review is weighed according to size and contiguity (maximum of 16 points); habitat for plants and animals (maximum of 14 points); significance for water resources (maximum of 14 points); and ease of management, recreation potential, and development status (maximum of 12 points). Although there is no minimum score to be eligible for acquisition, the higher the score, the more likely it is that the property will be selected.
Following the secondary review, the Board of County Commissioners is notified via memorandum from the Division of County Lands of properties CLASAC recommends be pursued for acquisition. If the Board does not raise any objections during a two-week review period, the Division of County Lands will commence with the negotiation process. The negotiation period can vary greatly, but can be completed in four months if no issues arise.
The Division of County Lands follows acquisition procedures as set forth in Florida Statute 125.355. Therefore, our files are confidential and unavailable for public disclosure during the negotiation process.