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H.343

Introduced by   Representatives Adams of Hartland and Shaw of Derby

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Property tax; use value taxation; requirement for public recreational use of enrolled land

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to require land enrolled in current use to be made available for public recreational use.

AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC RECREATIONAL USE OF ENROLLED CURRENT USE LANDS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  32 V.S.A. § 3755(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Managed forest land shall be eligible for use value appraisal under this subchapter only if:

(1)  the land is subject to a forest management plan, or subject to a conservation management plan in the case of lands certified under 10 V.S.A. § 6306(b), signed by the owner of a tract which complies with section subdivision 3752(9) of this title, filed with and approved by the department of forests, parks and recreation by October 1, which provides for continued conservation management or forest crop production on the tract for at least ten years.  During a period of use value appraisal under this subchapter, a conservation or forest management plan for at least ten years, including the

12-month period beginning April 1 of the year for which use value appraisal is sought, signed by the owner, shall be on file with the department in such a manner and in such form as is prescribed by the department.  Upon the expiration of a ten year ten‑year plan, the owner shall file a new plan for at least the next succeeding ten years to remain in the program.

(A)  The department may approve a forest management plan which provides for the maintenance and enhancement of the tract's wildlife habitat where clearly consistent with timber production and with minimum acceptable standards for forest management as established by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation.

(B)  The department, upon giving due consideration to resource inventories submitted by applicants, may approve a conservation management plan, consistent with conservation management standards, so as to include appropriate provisions designed to preserve:  areas with special ecological values; fragile areas; rare or endangered species; significant habitat for wildlife; significant wetlands; outstanding resource waters; rare and irreplaceable natural areas; areas with significant historical value; public water supply protection areas; areas that provide public access to public waters; open or natural areas located near population centers, or historically frequented by the public.  In approving a plan, the department shall give due consideration to: the need for restricted public access where required to protect the fragile nature of the resource; public accessibility where restricted access is not required; facilitation of appropriate, traditional public usage; opportunities for traditional or expanded use for educational purposes and for research.; and

(2)  a management report of whatever activity has occurred, signed by the owner, has been filed with the department of forests, parks and recreation by February 1 of the year following the year when the management activity occurred; and

(3)  there has not been filed with the director an adverse inspection report by the department stating that the management of the tract is contrary to the forest or conservation management plan, or contrary to the minimum acceptable standards for forest or conservation management.  The report of conformance with any management plan shall be on a form prescribed by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation in consultation with the commissioner of taxes and shall include a detachable section signed by all the owners that shall contain the federal tax identification numbers of all the owners.  The section containing federal tax identification numbers shall not be made available to the general public, but shall be forwarded to the commissioner of taxes within 30 days after receipt and used for tax administration purposes.  If any owner shall satisfy the department that he or she was prevented by accident, mistake or misfortune from filing a management plan which is required to be filed on or before October 1 or an annual conformance report which is required to be filed on or before February 1 of the year following the year when the management activity occurred, the department may receive that management plan or annual conformance report at a later date; provided, however, no management plan shall be received later than December 31 and no annual conformance report shall be received later than March 1; and

(4)  the owner allows public access to the enrolled land, to the extent not in conflict with conservation management standards, for traditional and lawful nonmotorized recreational uses, including boating, fishing, trapping, snowshoeing, skiing, bird watching, hiking, biking, hunting, including training and using hunting dogs, equestrian uses, and other traditional forms of recreational use.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us