PA 17-238—sHB 7278

Government Administration and Elections Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONVEYANCE OF CERTAIN PARCELS AND EASEMENTS OF STATE LAND, THE REDEVELOPMENT OF PROPERTY IN THE TOWN OF PRESTON AND A REQUIREMENT TO APPRAISE CERTAIN MUNICIPAL PROPERTY PRIOR TO SALE

SUMMARY: This act does the following:

1. authorizes conveyances of Department of Transportation (DOT) property in Fairfield, New Haven, and Norwalk;

2. amends prior conveyances of state property in Bloomfield, East Hartford, Haddam, and Killingly;

3. requires the Military Department to grant two easements in Enfield; and

4. amends a prior transfer of state property in Hartford.

The act also requires municipalities to have certain real property that includes or is part of a watershed, or has a well or reservoir, appraised to determine its fair market value before selling it. It exempts, from state statutes establishing procedural requirements for modifying a redevelopment plan or transferring real property, certain actions taken by a redevelopment agency in Preston to redevelop property formerly owned by the state. Under the act, the redevelopment agency may also approve agreements granting certain property tax benefits.

Lastly, the act repeals a conveyance, passed in 2014, from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to Barkhamsted of a 2.6-acre parcel, including improvements, for a senior and community center and related purposes ( 15).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except the provision on watershed and reservoir property sales is effective July 1, 2017, and applicable to sales occurring on or after September 1, 2017.

2, 4 & 6-9 — NEW CONVEYANCES

As described in Table 1, the act authorizes several conveyances of state property from DOT to the towns listed and for the purposes and costs noted.

Table 1: New Conveyances

Section

Town

Description/Purpose

Cost

2

Fairfield

7.23 acres for recreation and open space

Administrative costs

4

Norwalk

.251 acre and any improvements; no purpose specified

Fair market value, as determined by averaging the appraisals of two independent appraisers selected by the DOT commissioner, and administrative costs

6

New Haven

11 parcels totaling 7.93 acres for open space

Administrative costs

7

New Haven

.58 acre; no purpose specified

Fair market value, as determined by averaging the appraisals of two independent appraisers selected by the DOT commissioner, and administrative costs

8

New Haven

Two parcels totaling .12 acre for open space; DOT retains a 20-foot easement for rail access safety

Administrative costs

9

New Haven

.195 acre for open space

Administrative costs

Each conveyance is subject to the State Properties Review Board's (SPRB) approval within 30 days after the board receives the agency's proposed agreement. Each property remains under DOT's care and control until the conveyance is completed.

Except as noted below, the conveyances revert to the state if the recipient (1) does not use the property for the specified purposes, (2) does not retain ownership of the entire property, or (3) leases all or part of it. The Norwalk parcel and the .58-acre New Haven parcel are not subject to reversion ( 4 & 7). For these two parcels, the act requires the DOT commissioner to transfer any funds the department receives to the state treasurer for deposit in the Special Transportation Fund (STF).

1, 3, 10 & 11 — AMENDED CONVEYANCES

East Hartford ( 1)

The act amends a conveyance, passed in 2015, of eight parcels (totaling 9.98 acres) from DOT to East Hartford for economic development purposes. It expands the parcels' permitted use to include municipal purposes and allows the town to sell or lease the parcels for these purposes. (Existing law allows it to take these actions for economic development purposes.)

The act subjects any such lease or sale to requirements in existing law that (1) the transaction be for fair market value, as determined by the average of the appraisals of two independent appraisers selected by the DOT commissioner, and (2) any funds received by East Hartford be transferred to the state treasurer for deposit in the STF.

Killingly ( 3)

The act amends a conveyance, first passed in 1995, of a .78-acre parcel and buildings from the former Department of Public Works (DPW) (now the Department of Administrative Services (DAS)) to Killingly. It (1) requires the town to use the parcel and buildings for economic development purposes and (2) allows the town to sell them for these purposes. Under prior law, the town had discretion to determine their use and was prohibited from selling them.

The act requires that (1) any sale of the parcel and buildings be for $150,000 and (2) the funds Killingly receives from the sale be transferred to the state treasurer for deposit in the General Fund.

Bloomfield ( 10)

The act amends a conveyance, first passed in 1993, of 15 properties from the former Connecticut Housing Authority to a municipal housing authority in Bloomfield. Under prior law, each of these properties (1) had to be used to provide housing for persons and families of low and moderate income and (2) reverted to the state if they were used for another purpose.

The act specifies that Bloomfield has, and is deemed to have had, full authority to convey two of these properties for any purpose. It requires that the property deeds reflect the removal of any previously recorded use restrictions.

The act requires Bloomfield to purchase property comparable to the two above properties for affordable housing purposes. If the purchased property is not used for affordable housing, then it must be conveyed to the state. The act also requires (1) that any deed for the purchased property include provisions to carry out these requirements and (2) Bloomfield to provide a copy of the deed to the Department of Housing (DOH) commissioner.

Under the act, if Bloomfield fails to meet these requirements by January 1, 2018, then it must place in escrow the greater of the (1) current fair market value of the two conveyed properties or (2) conveyed properties' fair market value as of June 13, 1993. If Bloomfield does meet the requirements by January 1, 2019, then the escrowed funds must be transferred to the DOH commissioner for a grant to an agency she designates and used to acquire or create housing for people or families of moderate income. Once the funds are transferred, Bloomfield is deemed to have met the act's requirements.

Haddam ( 11)

The act amends a conveyance, first passed in 2005, of four parcels from the former DPW (now DAS) to Haddam. It adds to the conveyance a (1) .6-acre parcel and (2) 10-foot easement to drain to the .6-acre parcel, a smaller nearby parcel, and a drainage area. As under existing law for the previously conveyed property, the new parcel and easement must (1) be conveyed for administrative costs; (2) be used for municipal, recreational, and economic development purposes; and (3) revert to the state if Haddam does not (a) use the property and easement for the specified purposes or (b) retain ownership of the entire property and easement. The new conveyance and easement are subject to SPRB's approval within 30 days after receiving a proposed agreement from DAS.

5 — ENFIELD EASEMENTS

The act requires the Military Department to convey to Enfield a (1) .195-acre temporary easement, for $851, until the completion of the town's roadway reconstruction project, and (2) .017-acre permanent easement, for administrative costs. Enfield must use the easements to upgrade the drainage system associated with the roadway project.

The easements are subject to the following:

1. the state's right to (a) traverse the easements to access state lands and (b) place and maintain utilities, including electrical, water, sanitary sewer, telecommunications, and gas;

2. any rights and easements regarding the easements that the state deems necessary to meet its governmental obligations; and

3. SPRB's approval within 30 days after receiving a proposed agreement from the Military Department.

The easements revert to the state if the town (1) does not use them for the specified purpose, (2) does not retain ownership of the easements, or (3) leases all or part of them.

12 — HARTFORD TRANSFER

SA 14-23 ( 10) allowed the DAS commissioner to transfer to the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) custody and control of a parcel in Hartford. CRDA had to use it for housing or economic development purposes.

The act instead requires DAS to subdivide and then convey to the authority two parcels in Hartford, which total four acres, for administrative costs. The act specifies the manner in which DAS must subdivide the parcels and requires it to convey the parcels within 90 days after the DAS commissioner determines that a sufficient number of parking spaces (i.e., 300, or another number the commissioner determines to be sufficient) have been secured at an alternate location. The act allows parking on the conveyed parcels to continue temporarily until the commissioner makes the above determination. It specifies that the second of the conveyed parcels (totaling 2.7 acres) cannot be permanently used for parking.

As under existing law, CRDA must use the parcels for housing and economic development purposes. The act allows CRDA to begin marketing and permitting the parcels before the DAS commissioner's replacement parking determination. Under the act, the parcels revert to the state if the authority does not develop them within 10 years after the conveyance.

13 — WATERSHED AND RESERVOIR PROPERTY SALES

The act requires municipalities to have certain real property that includes or is part of a watershed, or has a well or reservoir, appraised to determine its fair market value before selling it. The act applies to such property with an assessed value of more than $250,000, or whose value has not been assessed by the town.

At least 60 days before the sale, the municipality must publish the appraisal on its website. If there is no website, publication must be done in whatever manner the municipality deems practicable. Under the act, a “municipality” is a town, consolidated town and city, or consolidated town and borough.

14 — PRESTON

Existing law allows municipal legislative bodies to create a redevelopment agency for the purpose of producing a redevelopment plan for certain property in the municipality. The law prescribes the agency's powers and duties, including procedures for modifying the plan or transferring real property.

The act exempts from these requirements certain actions taken by a redevelopment agency formed by Preston to redevelop property formerly owned by the state, through an agreement with the redeveloper that has been approved by the town's legislative body. It allows the redevelopment agency to take the following actions:

1. approve, after a public hearing, modifications that substantially change the redevelopment plan previously approved by the legislative body and described in the agreement with the redeveloper, subject to the agreement's requirements, and

2. make part of the redevelopment area any embedded or immediately adjacent parcels of real property acquired by the redeveloper for redevelopment purposes in accordance with the plan.

The act also specifies that the redevelopment agency need not consent to the transfer by the redeveloper of real property described in the redevelopment plan, if the transfer (1) is for redevelopment purposes in accordance with the plan and (2) satisfies the conditions applicable to the transfer as stated in the agreement.

The act allows Preston's legislative body, by approving the agreement with the redeveloper, to authorize the redevelopment agency to approve agreements fixing real property tax assessments for property described in the agreement with the redeveloper. The agency may do so (1) within limits established by the agreement and without further action by the legislative body and (2) if permitted by state law on (a) tax exemptions and abatements for state property acquired by a municipality and (b) fixed assessments.

The act also specifies that the redevelopment agency's existence cannot be discontinued before the agreement with the redeveloper expires.