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Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Action
Disposition of Real Estate – Brazoria County
Approximately 355-Acre Dredge Placement Area at Bryan Beach
March 20, 2019

I.      Executive Summary: In 2005, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) attempted to transfer approximately 862 acres of land comprising the former Bryan Beach State Park (Property) to the City of Freeport (City).  A 355-acre portion of the land was a dredge spoil placement area used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to dispose of material dredged from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.  Due to a deed requirement that the Property must be used for park purposes or revert to TPWD, the dredge spoil area never transferred to the City. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) would like to purchase the spoil area for continuing dredge spoil placement.  Consistent with the intent of the 2005 transfer, TPWD would like to correct any title defects in the remaining 507 acres of land in favor of the City.

II.     Discussion: In the early 20th century, the Brazos River was diverted into a new channel six miles upstream from the Gulf of Mexico. The original channel now forms the Port of Freeport. The “New River” enters the Gulf of Mexico at a remote stretch of beach known as Bryan Beach. In the mid-1970s, TPWD purchased a number of tracts totaling approximately 862 acres between the New River, the Gulf, and the Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) for their very high biological value and potential for recreation. The Property became known as Bryan Beach State Park. In 1986, TPWD entered into an agreement with to TXDOT, the state sponsor of the GIWW, to transfer jurisdiction for 30 years over the north 355 acres of the Property (Agreement), known as Placement Area 88 (PA 88). The Agreement effectively acknowledged the fact that PA 88 had been used for the placement of spoil dredged from the GIWW for decades prior to TPWD’s acquisition. The Agreement expired in 2016.

In the years following TPWD acquisition of the Property, it proved impossible for existing staff from Galveston Island State Park to monitor and manage the remote park. In 2005, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorized transfer of the Property to the City of Freeport, through a deed that requires the Property be used for public park purposes and that ownership of any portion of the land not used for public park purposes automatically reverts to TPWD.  The Property, except for PA 88, is open to the public for recreation and while the City does not provide any onsite park services, the City patrols the Property and maintains trashcans and signage near the beach.

The USACE is preparing for another cycle of dredging in the GIWW. In the course of preparing for this cycle, TXDOT discovered that the Agreement expired, determined that the Deed Without Warranty conveying the Property to the City did not legally convey all the Property, and concluded that PA 88 is still owned by TPWD. TXDOT would like to acquire fee simple ownership of PA 88. The City of Freeport would like clear ownership of the remaining 507 acres of Property. City, TXDOT, and TPWD representatives have discussed the Property issues and propose that TXDOT purchase PA 88 from TPWD and the three parties work together to resolve outstanding title issues of the remaining Property in favor of the City by TPWD deeding any remaining interest in the Property to the City.

III.   Recommendation: The staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the Resolution attached as
Exhibit A.”

Attachments – 4

  1. Exhibit A – Resolution
  2. Exhibit B – Location Map
  3. Exhibit C – Vicinity Map
  4. Exhibit D – Site Map

Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Regarding the
Disposition of Approximately 355 Acres in Brazoria County

Resolution

Whereas, In the mid-1970s, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) acquired a number of tracts of land totaling approximately 862 acres on and adjacent to Bryan Beach in south Brazoria County for conservation of coastal habitat and public access for recreation (the Land); and,

Whereas, The Land, also known as Bryan Beach State Park, proved impractical to develop and operate as a traditional state park, and, in 2005, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) authorized the transfer of the Land to the City of Freeport (City) with a provision that any or all of the Land not used for public park purposes would revert to TPWD; and,

Whereas, The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) is the state sponsor of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW); and,

Whereas, The Land included approximately 355 acres known to TXDOT as Placement Area 88 (PA 88), used since the early 20th century for the deposition of dredge spoil from maintenance of the GIWW; and,

Whereas, In 1986, TPWD entered into a “Transfer of Jurisdiction” agreement with TXDOT, that expired in 2016, for the continued operation of PA 88 as a dredge placement area; and,

Whereas, TXDOT desires to acquire fee ownership of PA 88 to assure its continued availability as a dredge placement area in support of the operation of the GIWW; and,

Whereas, PA 88 has not been and cannot be used for public park purposes; and,

Whereas, Deed research sponsored by TXDOT indicates that TPWD still owns some of the Land; and,

Whereas, The City desires that title be free and clear to the remaining approximately 507 acres of the Land with the provision that the Land be used for public park purposes; and,

Whereas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission finds that as required by Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapter 26, notices of today’s hearing of this matter were published at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation which is published at least six days a week in the community nearest to the Land in which such newspapers are published (Brazosport Facts in Brazoria County), with the last day of publication being not less than one week or more than two weeks before the date of today’s hearing and that such notices specified the date and time at which the Commission would hear testimony regarding the proposed disposition; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapter 26, that there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use or taking of PA 88 for continued use as a dredge placement area; and,

Whereas, the Commission affirms, in accordance with Section 13.008 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, that the Commission authorized transfer of the balance of the Land to the City of Freeport in 2005; and,

Now, therefore, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to divest its interest in the Land by selling PA 88 to TXDOT at appraised value and to convey the remaining interest in the Land to the City of Freeport for the purposes and subject to the conditions described herein and in the motion approved in this Resolution. 

Adopted and approved this 20th day of March, 2019.

signature


Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit B

Location Map for Bryan Beach in Brazoria County

Location Map for Bryan Beach in Brazoria County


Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit C

Vicinity Map for Bryan Beach Six Miles South of Freeport

Vicinity Map for Bryan Beach Six Miles South of Freeport


Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit D

Site Map for Bryan Beach Showing Location of Dredge Compartment PA 88

Site Map for Bryan Beach Showing Location of Dredge Compartment PA 88