AN ACT TO IMPROVE THE OVERSIGHT AND MANAGEMENT OF STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LANDS, INCLUDING INITIATING A PROCESS TO INVENTORY CLAIMS ON STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LANDS.
Provides that the Department of Administration (Department) will modify the existing property database to include a field to indicate that an item listed includes submerged land. This must be completed no later than April 15, 2016, and a report on the completion of such is due to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations no later than the same date.
Provides that no structure can be placed on state-owned submerged lands after this act becomes law without an easement granted by the Department. Such easements will be recorded in the property database.
The Department will adopt rules specifying the process for obtaining utility easements on submerged lands. Rules will be adopted no later than April 15, 2016, and a report on the completion of such to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations is due no later than the same date.
The Department will develop and implement procedures with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for implementing GS 146-8. The Department and DENR will implement these procedures no later than April 15, 2016, and report on the completion of such to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations no later than the same date.
Amends GS Chapter 146 by adding a new section, GS 146-20.2 (Non-coastal submerged lands inventory), providing that DENR, the Division of Water Resources (Division), and the Department and Office of the Attorney General will inventory all state-owned submerged lands in non-coastal counties in order to determine the validity of the claims under this section. The provisions of this section do not apply to lands submerged under private ponds, irrigation ponds, or other waterways not owned by the state.
Provides that any person claiming any interest in a part of the bed lying under navigable waters of any non-coastal county, or any right of fishery in navigable waters, superior to the general public, must register the grant, charter, or other authorization with DENR or the Division. Such registration must be accompanied by a survey of the claimed area. Registering the claim does not imply the validity of the claim.
This Division will give notice of the claims process at least once per calendar year for three years, by way of publication in a newspaper of general circulation in all non-coastal counties of the state. Any rights not registered in accordance with this section by December 31, 2017, are null and void.
On or before September 1 of each year the Division will report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations on the number of claims registered, those resolved, the cost of resolving each claim, the number of unresolved claims, and projected completion date of the inventory process.
Appropriates $328,000 from the General Fund to the Division for fiscal year 2015-16 for the costs of this new section and three new personnel. Appropriates $550,000 for fiscal year 2016-17 from the General fund to the Division for the same costs and the addition of four new personnel. Effective July 1, 2015.
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