The Division of State Lands (DSL), as staff to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida (BOT), is Florida’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship. DSL’s role goes far beyond just acquiring lands for protection. It provides oversight for the management of activities on more than 12 million acres of public lands including lakes, rivers and islands. These public lands help ensure Florida’s residents and visitors have the opportunity to truly appreciate Florida’s unique landscapes.
The BOT owns approximately 3.3 million acres of uplands (3.1 million acres of conservation lands and 0.2 million acres of non-conservation lands). In addition, there are 0.5 million acres of conservation easements. Most of this land is actively used by state agencies for recreation or conservation purposes, and is protected by the Florida Constitution to preserve Florida’s natural and cultural resources.
Why identify and surplus public land?
Occasionally, state-owned land is determined to be no longer needed by the state. The Division of State Lands’ mission statement stresses that we are the “Public Land Stewards,” and we take great pride in making sure that before any lands are considered for surplus that they are not needed for conservation purposes or public use. Lands will be made available for public ownership only after careful review and analysis.
How can the public locate surplus land for sale?
If property is cleared through the disposition process and becomes surplus, it will be placed on the Division of State Lands sales list and could be sold to the public. It would be listed on the State Lands' website.
Q. What are the reasons for surplusing specific properties?
A parcel that was purchased as part of a larger acquisition, and that is not needed to achieve the purpose of the larger land purchase.
Example: A landowner sells the state 500 acres of land, 450 of which is known conservation land, while the other 50 has no conservation value. The landowner will sell the 450 acres of resource land only if the state also purchases the other 50 acres. The 50 acres would likely ultimately be considered surplus; however, it may show as 50 acres of conservation land, purely for the fact it was purchased using conservation funds, even though there is no conservation value.
Parcels thought to be needed for state government to meet its future needs or was purchased for a specific purpose, which are no longer needed.
Example: A building may be purchased for anticipated growth of an agency, but the growth doesn’t occur, such as Highway Safety & Motor Vehicle offices that will not be needed and are listed for potential disposition.
Example: Closure of a facility, especially hospitals or correctional facilities, such as Sunland Hospital in Tallahassee.
Parcels donated to the state or that came into state ownership as a result of the Murphy Act that are not needed for public purposes.
What are the benefits of surplussing property?
When public land is sold to private entities, these parcels are put on county tax rolls and generate revenue for local governments.
DEP staff always works to obtain the best possible price for all properties sold.
Once any lands are selected for surplus and sold, the proceeds go into either the fund from which the lands were acquired or the Internal Improvement Trust Fund for the protection and conservation of public lands. Money does not go into the state’s general revenue.
What is the surplus process
State property owned by the BOT must go through a specific process before it can be disposed, pursuant to statute and rule. Steps vary depending on whether the property is conservation land or non-conservation land.
Before any property can be offered to the public it must first be offered to state agencies for lease. If there is no state agency interest, the property is made available to the public. BOT must approve the sale of any property more than $500,000 and any sale between $100,000 and $500,000 that is to be sold for less than market value.
Conservation land must first go to the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) before any other steps can be taken. If ARC approves of the disposition of the property, it follows the same process as non-conservation land for noticing. All conservation land, no matter the size or value, must be approved by the BOT and determined to be no longer needed for conservation purposes before a sale can be finalized.
What is the disposition report?
The Disposition of State Lands and Facilities Annual Report is produced per section 216.0153, Florida Statutes, and requires DEP to submit to the Governor, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by Oct. 1 of each year a list of state-owned property recommended for disposition.
The report is a result of great interagency collaboration between not only Department of Management Services and DEP, but also nearly 50 state agencies, offices and departments, state universities and community colleges to survey and catalog their facilities and property. Property will continue to be evaluated for possible surplus throughout the year and findings updated annually on Oct. 1.
In 2013, section 216.0152, Florida Statute, was revised, part of which incorporated the Disposition of State Lands and Facilities annual report as part of the DMS and DEP Facilities Inventory Report due Oct. 1 of each year.
Where is the disposition report located?
It is available on the Division of State Lands website: Disposition of State Lands and Facilities Annual Report.
What does the report identify/outline?
Each annual report provides an update to the previous annual report. It lists state-owned properties that have the potential for disposition (including vacant land and land with facilities); have been sold; or have been placed under management leases since the previous report.
The report encompasses four different types of state-owned property with potential for disposition:
Candidate for Disposition - Identifying Activities – This includes properties that have been identified by the current manager as no longer needed and unmanaged properties that may be available for surplus pending a completed review.
Candidate for Disposition - Government Noticing Activities – This includes parcels that are in the noticing process or noticing has been completed and responses are being reviewed and evaluated.
Disposition - Process Review Activities – This includes property in premarketing evaluations and approvals, available for sale to the public, actively being marketed for sale or available for exchange only.
Disposition - In Process – This includes property that is currently under contract.
October 5, 2023 - 10:04am
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.