Bill S4689-2013

Authorizes the legislature to settle the land dispute between the state and private parties in township 40, Totten and Crossfield Purchase in Long Lake (Second Passage)

Authorizes the legislature to settle the land dispute between the state and private parties in township 40, Totten and Crossfield Purchase in the town of Long Lake, county of Hamilton, such lands being in the state forest preserve (second passage).

Details

Actions

  • Jun 27, 2013: DELIVERED TO SECRETARY OF STATE
  • Jun 19, 2013: returned to senate
  • Jun 19, 2013: passed assembly
  • Jun 19, 2013: ordered to third reading rules cal.474
  • Jun 19, 2013: substituted for a7684
  • Jun 12, 2013: referred to environmental conservation
  • Jun 12, 2013: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Jun 12, 2013: PASSED SENATE
  • Jun 11, 2013: ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1283
  • Jun 11, 2013: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • May 29, 2013: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • May 6, 2013: OPINION REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • Apr 19, 2013: TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR OPINION
  • Apr 18, 2013: REFERRED TO JUDICIARY

Meetings

Votes

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4689

TITLE OF BILL: CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing an amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the constitution, in relation to disputed title in township 40, Totten and Crossfield Purchase, in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton county

PURPOSE: Passage of this resolution constitutes second passage of a measure to be put on the ballot at a general election to amend Article XIV, Section IV of the Constitution, authorizing resolution of 100 year old competing claims of title between the State and private parties in Township Forty, Totten and Crossfield Purchase (Raquette Lake), in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County (Township Forty).

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of this bill amends Article XIV, Section I of the Constitution to authorize the settlement, according to terms determined by the legislature, of title disputes in Township forty, in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton county, to resolve competing claims of title between the state and private parties. Prior to the settlement, land purchased without the use of state-appropriated funds shall be conveyed to the state for inclusion in the forest preserve within the Adirondack Park. The property to be conveyed would have to be determined by the Legislature to provide a net benefit to the forest preserve as compared to the township 40 lands subject to such settlement.

§ 2 of the bill provides that the act is effective upon second passage of an identically worded concurrent resolution and subsequent voter approval at a general election.

JUSTIFICATION: The goal of this resolution is to achieve second legislative passage of a concurrent resolution authorizing a vote in a general election on amending Article XIV, Section 1 of the Constitution to resolve, in an equitable manner, a 100 year dispute between the State of New York and private parties involving legal title to more than 200 parcels of land in Township Forty. Voter approval of the constitutional amendment proposal would then be required.

Litigation over this matter has resulted in a mix of court decisions, with some favorable to the State and some favorable to the occupants. However, litigation over Township 40 title is extremely complex and time consuming because there are fifty intermingled chains of title in the Township and it is difficult to develop proof on what may or may not have happened more than 100 years ago, prior to the State's acquisition of its chain of title. For instance, it cannot now be established with any reasonable degree of certainty whether tax sales that occurred more than 100 years ago complied with applicable legal requirements, or whether a current occupant's distant predecessor in title may have acquired title through adverse possession against the State's distant predecessor in title 100 years ago.

To implement this resolution, a companion bill would need to be enacted establishing the process for resolving the competing claims of title. That proposal lists the parcels which are in dispute and

provides that the State will relinquish its claim to those parcels once the Town of Long Lake (Town)applies payments from those claiming title to contested parcels towards the acquisition of land for inclusion in the Forest Preserve that provides a net benefit to the Forest Preserve when compared to the disputed parcels. This conveyance would be subject to legislative approval. The "replacement land" requirement would ensure that the overall integrity of the Forest Preserve is not diminished and in fact is enhanced. Currently, the public has no opportunity to recreate on the contested parcels because they are currently occupied by private camps, primary residences and private businesses.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: S. 7660 Passed Senate; A. 10642 Passed Assembly

In 2008, a concurrent resolution (A.11734 and S 8658-A) authorizing a constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot to resolve Township 40 title disputes received first passage by the legislature but did not receive second passage. Legislation to implement such an amendment has not previously been introduced.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

EFFECTIVE DATE: That the foregoing amendment be submitted to the people for approval at the general election to be held in the year 2013 in accordance with the provisions of the election law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4689 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 18, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. LITTLE, FARLEY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing an amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the constitution, in relation to disputed title in township 40, Totten and Crossfield Purchase, in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton county Section 1. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That section 1 of arti- cle 14 of the constitution be amended to read as follows: Section 1. The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the state from constructing, completing and maintaining any highway heretofore specifically authorized by constitutional amendment, nor from constructing and maintaining to federal standards federal aid interstate highway route five hundred two from a point in the vicinity of the city of Glens Falls, thence northerly to the vicinity of the villages of Lake George and Warrensburg, the hamlets of South Horicon and Pottersville and thence northerly in a generally straight line on the west side of Schroon Lake to the vicinity of the hamlet of Schroon, then continuing northerly to the vicinity of Schroon Falls, Schroon River and North Hudson, and to the east of Makomis Mountain, east of the hamlet of New Russia, east of the village of Elizabethtown and continu- ing northerly in the vicinity of the hamlet of Towers Forge, and east of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain and continuing northerly to the vicinity of the village of Keeseville and the city of Plattsburgh, all of the afore- said taking not to exceed a total of three hundred acres of state forest preserve land, nor from constructing and maintaining not more than twen- ty-five miles of ski trails thirty to two hundred feet wide, together with appurtenances thereto, provided that no more than five miles of such trails shall be in excess of one hundred twenty feet wide, on the EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD89117-01-3 S. 4689 2 north, east and northwest slopes of Whiteface Mountain in Essex county, nor from constructing and maintaining not more than twenty-five miles of ski trails thirty to two hundred feet wide, together with appurtenances thereto, provided that no more than two miles of such trails shall be in excess of one hundred twenty feet wide, on the slopes of Belleayre Moun- tain in Ulster and Delaware counties and not more than forty miles of ski trails thirty to two hundred feet wide, together with appurtenances thereto, provided that no more than eight miles of such trails shall be in excess of one hundred twenty feet wide, on the slopes of Gore and Pete Gay mountains in Warren county, nor from relocating, reconstructing and maintaining a total of not more than fifty miles of existing state highways for the purpose of eliminating the hazards of dangerous curves and grades, provided a total of no more than four hundred acres of forest preserve land shall be used for such purpose and that no single relocated portion of any highway shall exceed one mile in length. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the state may convey to the village of Saranac Lake ten acres of forest preserve land adjacent to the boundaries of such village for public use in providing for refuse disposal and in exchange therefore the village of Saranac Lake shall convey to the state thirty acres of certain true forest land owned by such village on Roaring Brook in the northern half of Lot 113, Township 11, Richards Survey. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the state may convey to the town of Arietta twenty-eight acres of forest preserve land within such town for public use in providing for the extension of the runway and landing strip of the Piseco airport and in exchange therefor the town of Arietta shall convey to the state thirty acres of certain land owned by such town in the town of Arietta. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval of the tracts to be exchanged prior to the actual transfer of title, the state, in order to consolidate its land holdings for better management, may convey to International Paper Company approximately eight thousand five hundred acres of forest preserve land located in townships two and three of Totten and [Crossfield's] CROSSFIELD Purchase and township nine of the Moose River Tract, Hamilton county, and in exchange therefore Inter- national Paper Company shall convey to the state for incorporation into the forest preserve approximately the same number of acres of land located within such townships and such County on condition that the legislature shall determine that the lands to be received by the state are at least equal in value to the lands to be conveyed by the state. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval of the tracts to be exchanged prior to the actual transfer of title and the conditions herein set forth, the state, in order to facil- itate the preservation of historic buildings listed on the national register of historic places by rejoining an historic grouping of build- ings under unitary ownership and stewardship, may convey to Sagamore Institute Inc., a not-for-profit educational organization, approximately ten acres of land and buildings thereon adjoining the real property of the Sagamore Institute, Inc. and located on Sagamore Road, near Raquette Lake Village, in the Town of Long Lake, county of Hamilton, and in exchange therefor; Sagamore Institute, Inc. shall convey to the state for incorporation into the forest preserve approximately two hundred acres of wild forest land located within the Adirondack Park on condi- tion that the legislature shall determine that the lands to be received by the state are at least equal in value to the lands and buildings to be conveyed by the state and that the natural and historic character of the lands and buildings conveyed by the state will be secured by appro- S. 4689 3 priate covenants and restrictions and that the lands and buildings conveyed by the state will reasonably be available for public visits according to agreement between Sagamore Institute, Inc. and the state. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions the state may convey to the town of Arietta fifty acres of forest preserve land within such town for public use in providing for the extension of the runway and landing strip of the Piseco airport and providing for the maintenance of a clear zone around such runway, and in exchange therefor, the town of Arietta shall convey to the state fifty-three acres of true forest land located in lot 2 township 2 Totten and Crossfield's Purchase in the town of Lake Pleasant. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval prior to actual transfer of title, the state may convey to the town of Keene, Essex county, for public use as a cemetery owned by such town, approximately twelve acres of forest preserve land within such town and, in exchange therefor, the town of Keene shall convey to the state for incorporation into the forest preserve approximately one hundred forty-four acres of land, together with an easement over land owned by such town including the riverbed adjacent to the land to be conveyed to the state that will restrict further development of such land, on condition that the legislature shall determine that the proper- ty to be received by the state is at least equal in value to the land to be conveyed by the state. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval prior to actual transfer of title, because there is no viable alternative to using forest preserve lands for the siting of drinking water wells and necessary appurtenances and because such wells are necessary to meet drinking water quality standards, the state may convey to the town of Long Lake, Hamilton county, one acre of forest preserve land within such town for public use as the site of such drinking water wells and necessary appurtenances for the municipal water supply for the hamlet of Raquette Lake. In exchange therefor, the town of Long Lake shall convey to the state at least twelve acres of land located in Hamilton county for incorporation into the forest preserve that the legislature shall determine is at least equal in value to the land to be conveyed by the state. The Raquette Lake surface reservoir shall be abandoned as a drinking water supply source. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval prior to actual transfer of title, the state may convey to National Grid up to six acres adjoining State Route 56 in St. Lawrence County where it passes through Forest Preserve in Township 5, Lots 1, 2, 5 and 6 that is necessary and appropriate for National Grid to construct a new 46kV power line and in exchange therefore National Grid shall convey to the state for incorporation into the forest preserve at least 10 acres of forest land owned by National Grid in St. Lawrence county, on condition that the legislature shall determine that the property to be received by the state is at least equal in value to the land conveyed by the state. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING PROVISIONS, THE LEGISLATURE MAY AUTHOR- IZE THE SETTLEMENT, ACCORDING TO TERMS DETERMINED BY THE LEGISLATURE, OF TITLE DISPUTES IN TOWNSHIP FORTY, TOTTEN AND CROSSFIELD PURCHASE IN THE TOWN OF LONG LAKE, HAMILTON COUNTY, TO RESOLVE LONGSTANDING AND COMPET- ING CLAIMS OF TITLE BETWEEN THE STATE AND PRIVATE PARTIES IN SAID TOWN- SHIP, PROVIDED THAT PRIOR TO, AND AS A CONDITION OF SUCH SETTLEMENT, LAND PURCHASED WITHOUT THE USE OF STATE-APPROPRIATED FUNDS, AND SUITABLE FOR INCORPORATION IN THE FOREST PRESERVE WITHIN THE ADIRONDACK PARK, S. 4689 4 SHALL BE CONVEYED TO THE STATE ON THE CONDITION THAT THE LEGISLATURE SHALL DETERMINE THAT THE PROPERTY TO BE CONVEYED TO THE STATE SHALL PROVIDE A NET BENEFIT TO THE FOREST PRESERVE AS COMPARED TO THE TOWNSHIP FORTY LANDS SUBJECT TO SUCH SETTLEMENT. S 2. RESOLVED (if the Assembly concur), That the foregoing amendment be submitted to the people for approval at the general election to be held in the year 2013 in accordance with the provisions of the election law.

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