Policy Limiting Use of Eminent Domain Adopted by TPW Commission

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AUSTIN— The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted a policy Thursday limiting its use of eminent domain.

The policy, adopted during the commission’s August meeting, limits the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) from taking private property for park sites except under exceptional and unusual circumstances, mainly property previously dedicated to public use as a park.

“Given its significant potential impact on private landowners, our commissioners chose to limit TPWD’s use of eminent domain to ensure it will be used exceedingly sparingly and only under specified circumstances,” said Commission Chairman Arch “Beaver” Aplin III. “The policy is clear — TPWD will not use eminent domain to condemn residences, farms or ranches.”

Parks and Wildlife Code (section 21.103) authorizes TPWD to acquire park sites through condemnation with payment of fair market value compensation to the landowner.