Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

02/02/2005 03:30 PM RESOURCES

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SB 55 Out of Committee
Moved SB 69 Out of Committee
                    SB  55-AGRICULTURAL LAND                                                                                  
CHAIR WAGONER announced SB 55 to be up for consideration.                                                                       
MS. AMY SEITZ,  staff to Senator Wagoner, sponsor of  SB 55, said                                                               
the reason it  was introduced is to resolve a  problem that dates                                                               
back to the  1964 earthquake and involves the  Ross Miller family                                                               
who  has property  in Hope.  They owned  a 27-acre  homestead and                                                               
were also  leasing 15  acres of Forest  Service land,  which they                                                               
were using as pastureland. In the  '64 earthquake they lost 18 of                                                               
their  27  acres  and were  compensated  through  the  Earthquake                                                               
Exchange Program  by receiving only  one acre of land.  The state                                                               
determined that that wasn't really  fair and decided to turn over                                                               
the agricultural  rights to  the 15 acres  that the  Millers were                                                               
leasing. At that time, the  fee simple title probably should have                                                               
been  turned over  to  them,  but it  wasn't.  The Department  of                                                               
Natural  Resources  (DNR)  is not  interested  in  the  remaining                                                               
rights  to the  property and  is in  favor of  selling it  to the                                                               
Millers. However, without SB 55 that can't be done.                                                                             
SB 55 makes  a small statutory change allowing  the Department of                                                               
Natural Resources  to turn over  the remaining rights  to certain                                                               
state-owned lands. There  are three requirements the  land has to                                                               
meet. It  can't be  more than  15 acres  and has  to be  used for                                                               
agricultural   purposes.  Secondly,   the  state   has  to   have                                                               
originally  acquired  the land  from  the  National Forest  under                                                               
Section  6(a) of  the Alaska  Statehood Act.  Thirdly, the  owner                                                               
would have to pay the fair  market value for the remaining rights                                                               
to the land.  The statutory change would be  repealed in December                                                               
3:40:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. FRANK MILLER thanked Senator  Wagoner for sponsoring the bill                                                               
for his family  saying it would bring closure  to a long-standing                                                               
problem. He thought  it was fair to pay the  state for full title                                                               
to the land.                                                                                                                    
MR. CHUCK  GRAHAM, husband of  Linda Graham, said he  is speaking                                                               
on her  behalf. She is a  principal in the 15  acres and supports                                                               
SB 55 as a solution to a very long-standing dilemma.                                                                            
3:41:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  ERICA MILLER,  Frank Miller's  daughter, said  she currently                                                               
lives on the Hope property and supports SB 55.                                                                                  
3:42:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ROSWITHA MILLER supported SB 55.                                                                                            
3:42:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DONALD LINTLEMAN, Delta Junction, supported SB 55.                                                                          
3:43:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS said he had no  objection, but if the land should                                                               
originally have been  transferred at the time  of the earthquake,                                                               
for justice's  sake, it should  be sold to  them at the  value it                                                               
was then.                                                                                                                       
3:44:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WAGONER said that the  Division of Lands believes it should                                                               
be reimbursed at fair market value today.                                                                                       
3:44:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  JANET BURLESON  BAXTER, Legislative  Liaison, Department  of                                                               
Natural  Resources  (DNR), said  the  department  doesn't have  a                                                               
statutory mechanism  to offer that  kind of opportunity  absent a                                                               
legislative fix, which it doesn't object to.                                                                                    
3:45:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEN STEVENS said the  Millers had been involved with this                                                               
property for  a number  of years,  but Section  2 allows  only 24                                                               
months for  other people to qualify.  He asked if that  is enough                                                               
3:46:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BAXTER replied  that a  similar  bill was  researched a  few                                                               
years  ago  to  see  if   other  people  might  qualify  and  the                                                               
department doesn't anticipate others. She  would have to get back                                                               
to him with the reasoning behind the effective date.                                                                            
3:46:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  said he didn't want  to change the bill,  but on                                                               
page 1,  line 12, he  asked what the  impact would be  of raising                                                               
the amount of land to 50 acres.                                                                                                 
3:46:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BAXTER  said she  didn't know,  but the  bill is  designed to                                                               
address the  Miller family's concern  specifically. It is  a very                                                               
small  area  of  land  and  the  appraisal  for  the  agriculture                                                               
interest would not be too much relatively speaking.                                                                             
3:47:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS  brought up the  question that the  Millers would                                                               
have to get an appraisal for  the fee simple rights separate from                                                               
the agricultural  rights and finding  a comparable would  be very                                                               
difficult. "I'm  just thinking that  justice is best  served when                                                               
we  do what  we  should  do, not  what  is  necessarily the  most                                                               
expedient thing."                                                                                                               
3:48:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WAGNER said the Millers  started this process some time ago                                                               
and just want  to get it done  and over with so  the property can                                                               
be divided among members of the family.                                                                                         
3:49:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS  moved  to  pass   SB  55  from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations.  There were no objections  and it was                                                               
so ordered.  There being no  further business to come  before the                                                               
committee, Chair Wagoner adjourned the meeting at 3:50:08 PM.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects