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Subject 391-1-8 PROCEDURES FOR CHANGE OF USE OR CONVEYANCE OF HERITAGE PRESERVES

Rule 391-1-8-.01 Definitions

As used in this Chapter, the term:

(a) "Board" means the Board of Natural Resources.
(b) "Change of use" means any use of all or part of a Heritage Preserve by a third party that is not part of the Department's management of the Heritage Preserve consistent with its dedicated uses and that either (i) lasts for more than sixty (60) days or (ii) will result in a permanent change to the topography of the Heritage Preserve or (iii) both.
(c) "Costs of complying with this Chapter" includes but is not limited to travel expenses, room rentals, transcription expenses, Board member per diem and copying charges.
(d) "Direct interest" means having a real property interest in the Heritage Preserve or having a managerial or operational interest in the Heritage Preserve pursuant to an agreement with the Department.
(e) "Commissioner" means Commissioner of Natural Resources.
(f) "Department" means the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
(g) "Heritage Preserve" means a parcel or parcels of land to which the state holds fee simple title or a lesser estate that is in the custody of the Department and that has been dedicated as a heritage area by the Governor.
(h) "Local government" means a municipality or county of this state that desires to acquire fee simple title to a Heritage Preserve.
(i) "State entity" means a state agency, department or authority with a direct interest in the use of a Heritage Preserve.
(j) "Third party" means a state agency, department or authority or a private entity, such as a utility company, that does not have a direct interest in the Heritage Preserve.

Rule 391-1-8-.02 Applicability and Scope of these Rules

(1) The Rules in this Chapter shall govern all requests to change the dedicated use or uses of all or part of a Heritage Preserve.
(2) The Rules in this Chapter shall govern all requests by a local government to acquire fee simple title to a Heritage Preserve.

Rule 391-1-8-.03 Petitions to Request a Change of Use

(1) Petitions for a change of use must be in writing and must be submitted in the manner required by Rule 391-1-8-.04.
(2) Only a state entity may submit a petition for a change of use. Any state entity petitioner other than the Department must consult with the Department prior to petitioning for a change of use.
(3) No third party may petition for a change of use. The Department, in its sole discretion, may file a petition for a change of use on behalf of a third party. The third party must consult with and obtain the support of the Division with operational responsibility for the affected Heritage Preserve and the Department's real estate office prior to requesting the Department file a petition on its behalf.

Rule 391-1-8-.04 Filing Petitions to Request a Change of Use

(1) An original and three copies of all petitions for a change of use must be filed on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper with the Board. A petition is filed on the date on which it is actually received by the Board.
(2) A petition must be submitted to the Board, c/o Commissioner, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, S.E., Suite 1252 East, Atlanta, Georgia 30334-9000 by mail or hand delivery.
(3) The office hours of the Commissioner are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except State legal holidays.
(4) All petitions must meet the requirements of Rule 391-1-8-.05 below.
(5) A copy of the petition must also be submitted to the Chief of Real Estate, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, S.E., Suite 1454 East, Atlanta, Georgia 30334-9000.
(6) The Commissioner may return any petition failing to comply with this Chapter to the petitioner without submitting it to the Board for consideration with a brief statement of why it is being returned.
(7) A petitioner may resubmit a petition at any time after it is returned as noncompliant by the Commissioner by filing a new petition that meets the requirements of this Chapter.

Rule 391-1-8-.05 Content of Petitions to Request a Change of Use

A petition for a change of use shall contain:

(a) A statement identifying the affected Heritage Preserve;
(b) A preliminary plat or map that shows the location of the affected Heritage Preserve, including the county(ies) and land lot(s) or district(s) of property and the location of the change of use area within the Heritage Preserve;
(c) A statement of the acreage that will be affected by the proposed change of use and how the impacted area currently functions within the Heritage Preserve;
(d) A statement of the purpose of the change of use;
(e) A statement describing in detail any mitigation that is proposed to offset the impact of the change of use on the Heritage Preserve;
(f) A statement of why the proposed change of use is an imperative and unavoidable necessity for which no other solution exists;
(g) The name and current mailing address of the petitioner and the name and telephone number of the petitioner's primary contact person;
(h) A statement that the petitioner, or the third party working through the Department, will be responsible for all costs of complying with this Chapter; and
(i) If the petitioner is not the Department, a written statement from the Department regarding its position on the merits of the petition.

Rule 391-1-8-.06 Processing of Change of Use Petitions

(1) Upon receipt of a petition for a change of use, the Commissioner will deliver a copy of the petition to the Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
(2) The Department will schedule public hearings in the county or counties in which the affected portion of the Heritage Preserve is located within ninety (90) days of the filing of the petition.
(3) Each public hearing will be conducted as follows:
(a) The date, time and location of the public hearing will be posted on the Department's web site and at the regular meeting place of the Board at least thirty (30) days prior to the public hearing;
(b) The date, time and location of the public hearing will be given to the legal organ in which notices of sheriff's sales are published in the county in which the public hearing is to be held;
(c) At least one Board member will be physically present at the public hearing;
(d) A Board member shall conduct the public hearing with assistance from the Department's staff and will establish reasonable rules for its conduct;
(e) If technologically possible, Board members may attend the public hearing by telephone conference call;
(f) A transcript of the public hearing will be made;
(g) Any member of the public attending the public hearing may submit a written or oral statement; and
(h) Any member of the public unable to attend the public hearing may submit a written statement for the Board's consideration to the Board c/o Commissioner at the address in Rule 391-1-8-.04(2) on or before the date of the public hearing.
(4) The Department shall provide all Board members with a copy of all written statements and the transcript(s).
(5) The Board Chair shall place consideration of the petition on the agenda of a regularly scheduled Board meeting in a timely manner.
(6) After due consideration of all testimony from the public hearing, any written comments, the Department's position and any additional public comments provided at the Board meeting, the Board shall make a finding as to whether the proposed change of use is an imperative and unavoidable necessity for which no other solution exists. The Board shall submit a recommendation to the General Assembly for its consideration by sending a resolution to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate with a copy to the Governor either supporting or objecting to the proposed change of use. The Board resolution may partially support or object to the petition and may include any additional recommendations the Board finds appropriate.

Rule 391-1-8-.07 Conveyance of Heritage Preserves to Local Governments

(1) A local government that desires to acquire fee simple title to a Heritage Preserve shall:
(a) Consult with the Division within the Department with operational responsibility for the Heritage Preserve; and
(b) If the Division with operational responsibility for the Heritage Preserve supports the conveyance of fee simple title of the Heritage Preserve to the local government, the local government will work with the Division and the Department's real estate office to draft a perpetual conservation easement consistent with the best and most important uses established in the document dedicating the Heritage Preserve and any other conservation values or restrictions identified by the Department as applicable to the property; and
(c) The local government will work with the State Properties Commission to determine the good and valuable consideration to the State for the conveyance.
(2) Once the local government and the Department agree upon the form of the conservation easement, the Department shall submit a written request to the Board to approve the conveyance of the Heritage Preserve to the local government by removing the heritage preserve dedication from the property and conveying the property to the local government subject to the grant of a perpetual conservation easement to the State of Georgia.
(a) With the exception of historic homes located on three acres or less of real property and designated by the Secretary of the Interior as National Historic Landmarks, the written request from the Department to the Board shall include the following information:
1. A statement identifying the Heritage Preserve and setting forth the reasons the Department supports the removal of the heritage preserve and the subsequent conveyance of the property to the local government;
2. An adopted resolution by the local governing body approving the proposed conveyance;
3. An adopted resolution by the local governing body acknowledging that it is prohibited from assigning any interest it may acquire in the property to a private individual or entity;
4. An adopted resolution by the local governing body agreeing that it will not enter into an operational agreement with a third party that conveys a real property interest;
5. A statement from the local government explaining its intended uses for the property; and
6. A copy of the draft conservation easement.
(b) For historic homes located on three acres or less of real property and designated by the Secretary of the Interior as National Historic Landmarks, the written request from the Department to the Board shall include the following information:
1. A statement identifying the Heritage Preserve and setting forth the reasons the Department supports the removal of the heritage preserve and the subsequent conveyance of the property to the local government;
2. An adopted resolution by the local governing body approving the proposed conveyance;
3. A statement from the local government explaining its intended uses for the property; and
4. A copy of the draft conservation easement.
(3) Upon receipt of the Department's written request to convey a Heritage Preserve to a local government, the Board will hold a public hearing at a regularly scheduled Board meeting. The public hearing will be conducted consistent with the Board's routine meeting procedures for receiving public comments.
(4) If the Board determines that the removal of the heritage preserve dedication from the property and its conveyance to the local government subject to a conservation easement is in the best interest of the State, the Board shall adopt a resolution removing the heritage preserve dedication effective the date the Governor signs the quitclaim deed conveying the property to the local government. The Board shall then follow its regular procedures relating to the disposition of real property and the acquisition of a conservation easement.
(5) If the Board determines that the removal of the heritage preserve dedication from the property is not in the best interest of the State, the Board shall not remove the heritage preserve dedication and the Heritage Preserve shall not be conveyed to the local government.
(6) If the General Assembly and the State Properties Commission approve the conveyance of the property to the local government, the Department will file with the Secretary of State and the office of the clerk of the superior court of the county or counties in which the property is located a notice of the removal of the heritage preserve dedication simultaneously with the recording of the conservation easement in the real property records of the county or counties in which the property is located.
(7) The local government shall pay all costs associated with the disposition of real property that the Department routinely requires the grantee to pay and all costs associated with the acceptance of a conservation easement that the Department routinely requires the grantor to pay.
(8) The Department and the local government may independently negotiate the terms and conditions of a transfer of all or part of the personal property located at the Heritage Preserve from the Department to the local government.