Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Authorization to Issue Driveway Licenses or Easements
for Certain Existing Driveways
August 21, 2014

I. Executive Summary: Staff is in the process of inventorying driveways that cross rights-of-way belonging to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and recommends that authority be delegated to the Executive Director to issue licenses or easements for existing driveways.

II. Discussion: Several state parks are accessed via Park Roads along which TPWD owns the right-of-way (ROW) on which the road is constructed. These ROW were acquired for the purpose of protecting the aesthetic and scenic values of the drive to the park. Adjacent to these ROW are privately owned lands. Over the years some of these landowners have installed driveways to provide access to their properties, crossing TPWD-owned land in the process.

Staff has developed guidance with is found in the current TPWD Damage and Fee Schedule, effective June, 2014. Except in extenuating circumstances, and where the provisions of Chapter 26 of the Parks & Wildlife Code are met, TPWD will not issue licenses or easements for any additional driveways. Nominal fees have been established for the issuance of licenses or easements for those driveways constructed prior to January 1, 2014. The estimated number of unpermitted driveways crossing TPWD lands is between 50 and 80. In order to facilitate the review, approval and processing of these “after the fact” licenses or easements, staff recommends that authority for issuance be delegated to the Executive Director.

III. Recommendation:

“The Commission adopts the Resolution attached as Exhibit A.”

Attachments – 3

  1. Exhibit A – Resolution
  2. Exhibit B – Location of Scenic State Park Roads in Texas
  3. Exhibit C – Excerpt from the TPWD Damage and Fee Schedule

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Regarding the Issuance of Driveway Licenses or Easements by the Executive Director for Certain Existing Driveways


Whereas, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (Department) operates approximately 1.4 million acres of state parks, state natural areas and wildlife management areas across Texas for the conservation of natural and cultural resources and the use and enjoyment of present and future generations; and,

Whereas, some of these site have access roads and scenic drives that were acquired and are owned and managed by the Department to help preserve the aesthetic character of the associated site; and,

Whereas, there are privately-owned lands adjacent to these sites and their access roads and scenic drives; and,

Whereas, over the years, some of these adjacent land owners have constructed private driveways across Department land in order to improve vehicular access to their private properties; and,

Whereas, the TPW Commission (Commission) has directed staff to control and limit further encroachments on Department lands, and to issue licenses or easements for driveways that existed on Department lands on or before January 1, 2014; and,

Whereas, the staff has adopted such policies and procedures, and proposes to begin the process of notifying local officials, title companies and landowners of the adopted policies and procedures, and to begin issuing licenses or easements per those policies and procedures for previously unpermitted driveways on Department lands; and,

Whereas, the number of such driveways involved renders it impractical for the Commission to review and take action in each individual case; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Section 11.301 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code that the issuance of licenses or easements for driveways that existed on Department lands prior to January 1, 2014 is in the best interest of TPWD; and,

Now, therefore, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to issue licenses or easements for existing driveways on TPWD lands at the discretion of the Executive Director subject to the conditions described herein and in the motion approved in this Resolution so long as the Executive Director complies with the requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26.

Adopted and approved this 21st day of August, 2014.

Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Chairman

Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

T. Dan Friedkin, Member, Chairman-Emeritus

Roberto De Hoyos, Member

Bill Jones, Member

James H. Lee, Member

Margaret Martin, Member

S. Reed Morian, Member

Dick Scott, Member

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit B

Location of Designated Scenic Park Roads in Texas

Location of Designated Scenic Park Roads in Texas

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit C

Excerpt from the June, 2014 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Damage and Fee Schedule
Pertaining to Driveways that Cross TPWD Lands
August 21, 2014


  • In general, TPWD may grant through access to adjacent landowners only in cases where TPWD acquisition of land has severed the landowner from historical or traditional access to a public road, and where no feasible and prudent alternative is apparent. TPWD is not authorized to grant driveway licenses or easements except in accordance with Chapter 26 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code and other applicable law, regulation and policy.
  • All new and after-the-fact driveway easements and licenses will be subject to and comply with the provisions of Chapter 26 of the Parks and Wildlife Code.
  • Where a license or easement for such access is granted, the terms will be the minimum necessary to provide one point of access to the historical tract. TPWD may dictate the route of the road and the width of the easement. In general, a driveway easement will be 15’ in width.
  • The TPW Commission may authorize staff to issue easements in cases where an easement exists by reason of TPWD’s acquisition of intervening land, such as historic “outlots” along Park Road (PR) 13 at Goose Island State Park. In all other cases, easements will be issued only upon authorization by the TPW Commission on a case-by-case basis.
  • TPWD staff may issue a revocable term access license in cases where chain of title and land use history suggest that an easement or right of access may legally exist, such as inholdings at Big Bend Ranch State Park with access from historical “ranch” roads.
  • New driveways, or widening or improving existing driveways, may require survey and mitigation for impacts to cultural resources, including archeological resources.
  • Compensatory mitigation for impacts to natural and/or cultural resources may be required by federal and/or state agencies, including TPWD, in addition to damages and fees required under the TPWD Damage and Fee Schedule.
  • In general, TPWD will not grant a license or easement for a road or driveway to service a tract that was subdivided after TPWD acquisition of the intervening land or corridor. In such cases, the subdividing landowner is responsible for providing access utilizing the original easement.
  • In general, TPWD will not agree to widen or reroute a road or driveway easement across TPWD land to facilitate subdivision, development, improvement or public dedication of the road.
  • TPWD will grant exceptions to its policies pertaining to driveways or service roads only where there is no feasible and prudent alternative AND where consideration for the license or easement will clearly result in a demonstrable net benefit to the values and purposes for which the impacted TPWD property was acquired and developed. An exchange of land and/or a conservation easement on land contiguous with the TPWD site may be considered in this regard. TPWD must approve in writing all driveway drainage and stream crossings. Structures such as culverts and bridges may be assessed at a higher damage and fee rate.
  • PR 1 (Bastrop to Buescher), PR 4 (Inks Lake to Longhorn Cavern), PR 11 (Palmetto), PR 13 (Goose Island) and PR 1836 (San Jacinto Battleground) are designated Scenic Corridors. All the guidelines for driveway licenses and easements across state park lands apply to driveways on Scenic Corridors, with special attention paid to aesthetic issues that might affect the scenic values of the park visitor experience. Segments of Scenic Corridors may be designated as “A” segments, having the highest integrity and being most critical to the park visitor experience, or “B” segments, deemed somewhat less critical to the visitor experience. PR 4 and PR 13 may have segments designated as B segments.
  • The fees in the table below are minimum fees and may be adjusted upward to account for aesthetic, operational, natural resource or cultural resource impacts, at the sole discretion of TPWD.
Driveway Easements and Licenses MINIMUM Damage and Fee Schedule
Type of Driveway Authorization Term Initial Fee Recurring Fee
Required by law Executive Director Perpetual N/A N/A
License Div. Director Case by case N/A N/A
Not required by law Division Director Perpetual $250 none
Residential easement; existing drive
Residential license; existing drive Division Director Perpetual revocable $250 none
New residential easement Commission Perpetual Case by case Case by case
New residential license Div. Director Max 10-year $2,000 $200/year
Commercial license (revocable) Commission Max 10-year $10,000 $1,000/month