(1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) With the increasing pressures on the natural areas of this state and on open space suitable for recreational use, the state must develop creative techniques to maximize the use of acquisition and management funds.
(b) The state’s conservation and recreational land acquisition agencies should be encouraged to augment their traditional, fee simple acquisition programs with the use of alternatives to fee simple acquisition techniques. In addition, the Legislature finds that generations of private landowners have been good stewards of their land, protecting or restoring native habitats and ecosystems to the benefit of the natural resources of this state, its heritage, and its citizens. The Legislature also finds that using alternatives to fee simple acquisition by public land acquisition agencies will achieve the following public policy goals:
1. Allow more lands to be brought under public protection for preservation, conservation, and recreational purposes with less expenditure of public funds.
2. Retain, on local government tax rolls, some portion of or interest in lands which are under public protection.
3. Reduce long-term management costs by allowing private property owners to continue acting as stewards of their land, when appropriate.
Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that public land acquisition agencies develop programs to pursue alternatives to fee simple acquisition and to educate private landowners about such alternatives and the benefits of such alternatives. It is also the intent of the Legislature that a portion of the shares of Florida Forever bond proceeds be used to purchase eligible properties using alternatives to fee simple acquisition.
(2) All applications for alternatives to fee simple acquisition projects shall identify, within their acquisition plans, projects that require a full fee simple interest to achieve the public policy goals, together with the reasons full title is determined to be necessary. The state agencies and the water management districts may use alternatives to fee simple acquisition to bring the remaining projects in their acquisition plans under public protection. For purposes of this section, the phrase “alternatives to fee simple acquisition” includes, but is not limited to, purchase of development rights; obtaining conservation easements; obtaining flowage easements; purchase of timber rights, mineral rights, or hunting rights; purchase of agricultural interests or silvicultural interests; fee simple acquisitions with reservations; creating life estates; or any other acquisition technique that achieves the public policy goals listed in subsection (1). It is presumed that a private landowner retains the full range of uses for all the rights or interests in the landowner’s land which are not specifically acquired by the public agency. The lands upon which hunting rights are specifically acquired pursuant to this section shall be available for hunting in accordance with the management plan or hunting regulations adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, unless the hunting rights are purchased specifically to protect activities on adjacent lands.
(3) When developing the acquisition plan pursuant to s. 259.105, the Acquisition and Restoration Council may give preference to those less than fee simple acquisitions that provide any public access. However, the Legislature recognizes that public access is not always appropriate for certain less than fee simple acquisitions. Therefore, any proposed less than fee simple acquisition may not be rejected simply because public access would be limited.
(4) The Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and each water management district shall implement initiatives for using alternatives to fee simple acquisition and to educate private landowners about such alternatives. The Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the water management districts may enter into joint acquisition agreements to jointly fund the purchase of lands using alternatives to fee simple techniques.
(5) The Legislature finds that the lack of direct sales comparison information has served as an impediment to successful implementation of alternatives to fee simple acquisition. It is the intent of the Legislature that, in the absence of direct comparable sales information, appraisals of alternatives to fee simple acquisitions be based on the difference between the full fee simple valuation and the value of the interests remaining with the seller after acquisition.
(6) The public agency that has been assigned management responsibility shall inspect and monitor any less than fee simple interest according to the terms of the purchase agreement relating to such interest.
(7) For less than fee simple acquisitions pursuant to s. 570.71, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall comply with the acquisition procedures set forth in s. 570.715.