LAND SELECTION CRITERIA
document has been developed to provide the Alachua County Board of
The Alachua County Forever Program
was created pursuant to voter referendum “to acquire, improve and manage
environmentally significant lands to protect water resources, wildlife habitats
and natural areas suitable for resource-based recreation.” Pursuant to Chapter
310 of the Code of Alachua County, the Alachua County Board of
The following Guiding Principles were adopted by the BoCC through Resolution 02-017:
1. Certain administrative and operating expenses of the program may be borne by the General Fund. There are competing needs for County services using the General Fund and the services and benefits of land conservation to the community must be considered in the context of those other public needs. Additional sources of program support may need to be developed to support the operating costs, e.g. user fees.
2. Commercial Pooled Paper should be used to initially acquire properties until the appropriate time to issue the ACF Bonds. All costs directly related to the acquisition of a project, whether or not it is successfully consummated, are reimbursable from the Bonds.
3. The ACF program will use the existing contracts where appropriate and develop new contracts or the internal capacity where there is a deficiency in expertise or resources in the community.
4. The BoCC recognizes the great value of using ACF funds to leverage partnerships in the protection of the county’s sensitive lands. The County has the fiduciary responsibility for ACF funds and therefore will require BoCC approval prior to any application being made regarding committing funds in such partnerships.
5. The BoCC is aware that there are long term stewardship costs associated with projects selected but no funding source other than the General Fund Reserves has been identified. To minimize stewardship expenses while the Program is in this initial acquisition phase, staff will use a strategy of “no loss of conservation values” stewardship. The initial stewardship program will reflect this strategy. As the program matures and other funding sources materialize, the stewardship program may be enhanced.
6. Any stewardship of ACF sites shall be consistent with the ACF’s primary goal of preserving, restoring and enhancing environmental values. A stewardship plan will be developed within 12 months of acquisition and made available for public comment prior to BoCC approval.
7. Every effort must be made to maintain the public’s confidence and trust so that this Program may be sustained.
At their Land Conservation
Section 5a of Resolution 02-017 reads in part:
“An Active Acquisition List, consisting of the Priority List and the Bargain-Share List, will be maintained and regularly modified by the BoCC based on the following criteria and other factors deemed significant by the decision-making bodies:
i. Final site scores using the site scoring criteria.
ii. Negotiated sale price relative to appraised value.
iii. Availability of matching funds.
iv. Urgency of purchase based on imminent threat of loss.
v. Contribution of the project to regional conservation efforts.
vi. Contribution of the project to protecting habitats and species under-represented in
vii. Contribution of the project to addressing unmet social, human, or resource-based recreation goals.
viii. Estimated management costs that may be borne by the County.
The Board of County Commissioners may remove a project from the list if acquisition of the project no longer furthers the purposes of the Alachua County Forever Program, but may not add a project to the list outside of the established process. The Board of County Commissioners may also direct staff to pursue matching funds from outside agencies or private parties for any project listed in the Active Acquisition List.”
The BoCC has two decision points in the Alachua County Process where these criteria should be applied. The first is when selecting projects from the Priority Pool for the Active Acquisition List, and the second is when a contract is brought to them for approval. At both points, the criteria could be used to evaluate the extent to which the potential project, or deal, would enhance the portfolio of protected lands.
Not all the criteria are applicable at each point. The criterion ii could only be used when considering the approval of a contract since only at that time is the negotiated sale price known. Likewise, criteria v, vi, and vii may become more important as the Alachua County Forever portfolio is being built and these criteria measure the additional marginal utility of each new acquisition.
With each Priority Pool recommendation, or contract approval request, the BoCC should review the composition of the Active Acquisition List, and the current portfolio to determine if the new additions will enhance the County’s efforts. It is envisioned that BoCC and community priorities may evolve over the lifetime of the Program, and these criteria should be applied in accordance with the direction of the BoCC.
If, for example, after a couple of acquisitions, the BoCC finds that the portfolio of protected lands is comprised mostly of wetlands with very few uplands or sandhill properties have been acquired, the BoCC may act so that no additional wetlands are acquired until some of the under-represented habitats are brought into protection.
Project Selection Criteria