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A07869 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          7869
 
                               2013-2014 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                      June 6, 2013
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced by M. of A. SWEENEY, BUTLER, STEC, DUPREY, MAGNARELLI -- read
          once and referred to the Committee on Environmental Conservation
 
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the  environmental  conservation law, in relation to
          providing for the settlement of a land dispute between the  state  and
          private  parties  with  regard  to  parcels in township 40, Totten and

          Crossfield Purchase, in the town of Long Lake, county of Hamilton
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1. Article 9 of the environmental conservation law is amended
     2  by adding a new title 19 to read as follows:
     3                                   TITLE 19
     4                        TOWNSHIP FORTY SETTLEMENT ACT
     5  Section 9-1901. Legislative purpose and intent.
     6          9-1903. Definitions.
     7          9-1905. List of disputed parcels.
     8          9-1907. Process for clearing title.
     9          9-1909. Attorney general to file suit.
    10          9-1911. Conveyances to the state.
    11          9-1913. Adirondack park agency jurisdiction.

    12          9-1915. Notarized statement.
    13  § 9-1901. Legislative purpose and intent.
    14    1. During the last one hundred  years,  both  the  state  and  private
    15  parties  have  claimed  title  to  identical portions of township forty,
    16  Totten and Crossfield Purchase, in the town  of  Long  Lake,  county  of
    17  Hamilton.    Indeed,  some  private parties have occupied and improved a
    18  number of such parcels to which the state  claims  title  and,  in  many
    19  cases,  both  the  state  and  private  parties  have paid taxes on such
    20  parcels. In the last several decades, the state and some private parties
    21  have commenced litigation,  at  significant  expense  and  with  limited
    22  success,  to establish their respective claims over disputed parcels. As

    23  a result of longstanding claims to disputed parcels, the  free  transfer
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD10057-03-3

        A. 7869                             2
 
     1  of  the parcels has been inhibited, thereby creating economic and social
     2  hardship in township forty which, in turn, has prevented both state  and
     3  private  parties  from  the  full  use and enjoyment of the parcels. The
     4  legislature  has determined that the judicial system is not an appropri-
     5  ate forum to resolve these longstanding title disputes and that a statu-
     6  tory solution is required.

     7    2. For these reasons and as authorized by the  provisions  of  section
     8  one of article fourteen of the state constitution, the legislature finds
     9  that  it  is in the public interest to comprehensively and expeditiously
    10  resolve these longstanding title disputes in a manner which is fair  and
    11  equitable. The legislature finds that it is in the best interests of the
    12  state,  the  county  of Hamilton, the town of Long Lake, and the private
    13  parties who claim title to portions of township forty to  resolve  these
    14  title  disputes  in  a  structured  and efficient manner that results in
    15  clarification of ownership interests, enhancement of  public  access  to
    16  forest preserve lands, and the quiet enjoyment of private property.

    17    3.  The  legislature  further  finds  that  resolution  of these title
    18  disputes shall be accomplished in a manner that ensures the integrity of
    19  the forest preserve in the Adirondack park and that  results  in  a  net
    20  benefit to the forest preserve when compared to the contested parcels.
    21    4.  The  legislature  further finds that the title disputes associated
    22  with township forty constitute a unique situation, found nowhere else in
    23  the state, and that consequently it is equitable and appropriate for the
    24  state to relinquish its claim of title to disputed  parcels  within  the
    25  township.  This relinquishment of claims to title shall not be deemed to
    26  set precedent for the relinquishment of claims to title with respect  to

    27  other lands owned by the state.
    28  § 9-1903. Definitions.
    29    For purposes of this title, the following terms shall have the follow-
    30  ing meanings:
    31    1. "County" means the county of Hamilton.
    32    2.  "Disputed parcel" means a parcel of land located in township forty
    33  to which both the state and a person claim title.
    34    3. "Person" means  any  individual,  firm,  partnership,  association,
    35  trust,  limited  liability company or corporation that claims title to a
    36  disputed parcel.
    37    4. "Town" means the town of Long Lake, in the county of Hamilton.
    38    5. "Township  forty"  means  township  forty,  Totten  and  Crossfield
    39  Purchase.
    40  § 9-1905. List of disputed parcels.

    41    The following parcels of land, identified by the county's two thousand
    42  twelve  assessment  rolls  and  the county's online mapping system as of
    43  October, two thousand twelve, and any subsequent conveyances  therefrom,
    44  are  the disputed parcels that are the subject of the provisions of this
    45  title:
    46    37.016-1-1.100
    47    37.016-1-1.210
    48    37.016-1-1.220
    49    37.016-1-2
    50    37.016-1-3
    51    37.016-1-4.110
    52    37.016-1-4.120
    53    37.016-1-4.131
    54    37.016-1-4.132
    55    37.016-1-4.140
    56    37.016-1-4.150

        A. 7869                             3
 
     1    37.016-1-4.160
     2    37.016-1-4.200

     3    37.016-1-4.300
     4    37.016-1-5
     5    37.016-1-6
     6    37.016-1-8.100
     7    37.016-1-10
     8    37.018-1-1
     9    44.000-1-18
    10    44.000-1-19
    11    44.000-1-20
    12    44.000-1-22
    13    44.000-1-26.100
    14    44.000-1-26.111
    15    44.000-1-26.112
    16    44.000-1-26.121
    17    44.000-1-27.112
    18    44.000-1-27.113
    19    44.000-1-27.120
    20    44.000-1-27.211
    21    44.000-1-27.212
    22    44.000-1-27.220
    23    44.000-1-28
    24    44.000-1-3
    25    44.000-1-4.111
    26    44.000-1-4.121
    27    44.000-1-4.200
    28    44.000-1-8

    29    44.000-1-9
    30    44.000-1-10
    31    44.000-1-11
    32    44.000-2-32.100
    33    44.000-2-33.100
    34    44.000-3-1
    35    44.000-3-10
    36    44.000-3-11
    37    44.000-3-12
    38    44.000-3-13
    39    44.000-3-14
    40    44.000-3-15
    41    44.000-3-16
    42    44.000-3-17
    43    44.000-3-2.100
    44    44.000-3-2.200
    45    44.000-3-3
    46    44.000-3-4
    47    44.000-3-5
    48    44.000-3-6
    49    44.000-3-7
    50    44.000-3-8
    51    44.000-3-9.100
    52    44.000-4-1.100
    53    44.000-4-1.200
    54    44.000-4-1.300
    55    44.014-1-10

    56    44.014-1-11.100

        A. 7869                             4
 
     1    44.014-1-12
     2    44.014-1-13
     3    44.014-1-2
     4    44.014-1-3.100
     5    44.014-1-3.200
     6    44.014-1-4.200
     7    44.014-1-5
     8    44.014-1-6
     9    44.014-1-7
    10    44.014-1-8
    11    44.014-1-9
    12    44.014-2-1
    13    44.015-1-1
    14    44.015-1-2
    15    44.015-1-3
    16    44.015-1-4
    17    44.015-1-5
    18    44.015-1-6
    19    44.015-1-7
    20    44.015-1-8
    21    44.015-1-9
    22    44.018-1-1.110
    23    44.018-1-10
    24    44.018-1-11

    25    44.018-1-12
    26    44.018-1-13
    27    44.018-1-14
    28    44.018-1-15
    29    44.018-1-17
    30    44.018-1-18
    31    44.018-1-19
    32    44.018-1-2
    33    44.018-1-20
    34    44.018-1-21
    35    44.018-1-22.111
    36    44.018-1-22.112
    37    44.018-1-22.114
    38    44.018-1-22.115
    39    44.018-1-22.116
    40    44.018-1-22.120
    41    44.018-1-22.200
    42    44.018-1-23.111
    43    44.018-1-23.112
    44    44.018-1-23.120
    45    44.018-1-23.130
    46    44.018-1-23.200
    47    44.018-1-23.311
    48    44.018-1-23.312
    49    44.018-1-23.320
    50    44.018-1-27.110

    51    44.018-1-27.200
    52    44.018-1-28.100
    53    44.018-1-3
    54    44.018-1-4
    55    44.018-1-5
    56    44.018-1-6.100

        A. 7869                             5
 
     1    44.018-1-8.100
     2    44.018-1-8.200
     3    44.018-1-8.300
     4    44.018-1-9
     5    44.018-3-1
     6    44.018-3-2
     7    44.018-3-2.100
     8    52.006-1-13
     9    52.006-1-18
    10    52.006-1-19.100
    11    52.006-1-19.200
    12    52.006-1-19.300
    13    52.006-1-20
    14    52.006-1-22
    15    52.006-1-23
    16    52.006-1-24
    17    52.006-1-25
    18    52.006-1-26

    19    52.006-1-27
    20    52.006-2-1
    21    52.006-2-10
    22    52.006-2-11
    23    52.006-2-12
    24    52.006-2-13
    25    52.006-2-14
    26    52.006-2-15
    27    52.006-2-16
    28    52.006-2-17
    29    52.006-2-18
    30    52.006-2-19.100
    31    52.006-2-19.200
    32    52.006-2-2.121
    33    52.006-2-2.122
    34    52.006-2-2.123
    35    52.006-2-2.124
    36    52.006-2-2.200
    37    52.006-2-20
    38    52.006-2-21.111
    39    52.006-2-21.112
    40    52.006-2-22.110
    41    52.006-2-22.120
    42    52.006-2-23.111
    43    52.006-2-23.112
    44    52.006-2-23.113

    45    52.006-2-23.114
    46    52.006-2-23.115
    47    52.006-2-23.116
    48    52.006-2-23.117
    49    52.006-2-23.118
    50    52.006-2-23.119
    51    52.006-2-23.120
    52    52.006-2-24./1
    53    52.006-2-24.100
    54    52.006-2-25.100
    55    52.006-2-26.100
    56    52.006-2-26.200

        A. 7869                             6
 
     1    52.006-2-27
     2    52.006-2-28.111
     3    52.006-2-28.112
     4    52.006-2-28.113
     5    52.006-2-28.114
     6    52.006-2-28.120
     7    52.006-2-28.200
     8    52.006-2-29
     9    52.006-2-3
    10    52.006-2-4
    11    52.006-2-5

    12    52.006-2-6
    13    52.006-2-7
    14    52.006-2-8.100
    15    52.006-2.8.200
    16    52.006-2-9
    17    52.011-1-1
    18    52.011-1-10.100
    19    52.011-1-10.200
    20    52.011-1-11
    21    52.011-1-2.111
    22    52.011-1-2.112
    23    52.011-1-2.114
    24    52.011-1-2.120
    25    52.011-1-2.200
    26    52.011-1-4.200
    27    52.011-1-5
    28    52.011-1-6
    29    52.011-1-7.100
    30    52.011-1-8
    31    52.011-1-9.110
    32    52.011-1-9.120
    33    52.011-1-9.211
    34    52.011-1-9.212
    35    52.011-1-9.220
    36    52.011-1-9.230
    37    52.011-1-9.300

    38    The disputed parcels identified in this section are not intended to be
    39  legal descriptions, but are intended to identify disputed parcels by tax
    40  lot number only.
    41  § 9-1907. Process for clearing title.
    42    1.    Within  thirty  days  of the effective date of this section, the
    43  department shall submit a written request to the county tax assessor for
    44  a certified list, to be prepared from the most current tax roll, of  the
    45  names  and  addresses  of  all  persons  who claim title to the disputed
    46  parcels listed in section 9-1905  of  this  title.  The  assessor  shall
    47  prepare  such  a list within seven days after receiving the department's
    48  request, and include on the list the names and addresses of all  persons

    49  on  the most current tax roll and the names and addresses of all persons
    50  who, not less than seven days prior to the date on  which  the  assessor
    51  received the department's request, notified the assessor that they claim
    52  title  to  a  disputed  parcel. The department shall be entitled to rely
    53  upon the information contained in the certified list, and failure by the
    54  department to give notice to  any  person  claiming  title  who  is  not
    55  included on the list or is not at the address included on the list shall
    56  not  invalidate  any  proceeding  or  actions  authorized by this title.

        A. 7869                             7
 
     1  Within thirty days after receipt of the certified list from  the  asses-

     2  sor,  the  department  shall send, by first class mail, a letter to each
     3  person included on the list, informing the person that a  constitutional
     4  amendment  has  been  adopted  and legislation enacted that authorizes a
     5  resolution of title  issues  on  disputed  parcels  in  township  forty,
     6  including  the  disputed  parcel  to  which  the person claims ownership
     7  rights.  The department shall send a  separate  letter  to  each  person
     8  claiming  title to each disputed parcel.  Such letter shall describe the
     9  process for resolving title set forth in  this  title  and  state  that,
    10  until  such  time  as  the state is estopped from asserting its claim of
    11  title to the disputed parcel  pursuant  to  subdivision  seven  of  this

    12  section,  any  person claiming title to the disputed parcel shall assume
    13  all the risk with respect to subdividing or  adding  new  structures  or
    14  improvements to the disputed parcel. The department shall provide a copy
    15  of each such letter to the attorney general.  The department shall also,
    16  within  thirty days after receipt of the list from the assessor, publish
    17  written notice of the process to clear title, including a  list  by  tax
    18  lot number of the parcels listed in section 9-1905 of this title, in the
    19  state  register,  the  environmental  notice bulletin and a newspaper of
    20  general circulation in township forty.
    21    2. Within ninety days of  the  receipt  of  the  department's  letter,

    22  pursuant to subdivision one of this section, for each disputed parcel, a
    23  person shall provide to the department, with copies to the office of the
    24  attorney  general  and  the  town, a separate notarized statement as set
    25  forth in section 9-1915 of this title, notifying the department either:
    26    a.  that he or she will participate in the process set forth  in  this
    27  title  to  resolve  title to the disputed parcel or parcels, and, if so,
    28  whether he or she intends to provide as a gift to the state a  specified
    29  portion  of  a  disputed  parcel  in fee simple without reservations for
    30  inclusion in the forest preserve or a conservation easement to the  town
    31  restricting  development  over  all or a specified portion of a disputed

    32  parcel, with a secondary right of enforcement in the state; or
    33    b. that he or she declines to participate in the  process  established
    34  by this title to resolve title to disputed parcels.
    35    3.  With respect to a parcel or conservation easement which the person
    36  intends to provide as a gift to the state or the town, respectively,  as
    37  specified  in  paragraph  a of subdivision two of this section, the town
    38  shall provide the person with an assessed value of the proposed  convey-
    39  ance,  with  a copy to the department, within one hundred twenty days of
    40  the town's receipt of a copy of the notification concerning such gift.
    41    4. Within twelve months of the date of the letters sent by the depart-

    42  ment pursuant to subdivision one of this section, all  persons  who  are
    43  participating in the process set forth in this title to resolve title to
    44  disputed  parcels  shall convey to the state any land which such persons
    45  expressed an intent to so convey pursuant to paragraph a of  subdivision
    46  two of this section, convey to the town any conservation easements which
    47  such persons expressed an intent to so convey pursuant to paragraph a of
    48  subdivision  two  of  this  section, and make payment to the town in the
    49  amount due pursuant to subdivision five of this section.
    50    5.   Within twelve months of the date  of  the  letters  sent  by  the
    51  department  pursuant to subdivision one of this section, persons partic-

    52  ipating in the process set forth in  this  title  to  resolve  title  to
    53  disputed  parcels  shall  pay  the  town an amount that approximates the
    54  state's administrative costs in resolving the disputed parcels  situated
    55  within  township  forty. The payment amount for each individual disputed
    56  parcel shall be the sum of: (a) a flat rate of two thousand dollars  per

        A. 7869                             8
 
     1  parcel;  and  (b)  an  amount  equal  to the total assessed value of the
     2  parcel, including  structures  and  improvements  situated  thereon,  as
     3  determined by the two thousand twelve town assessment, less the assessed
     4  value  of any portion of such parcel conveyed to the state in fee or any

     5  conservation easement conveyed to the town, pursuant to paragraph  a  of
     6  subdivision  two of this section, divided by the total assessed value of
     7  all disputed parcels, including  structures  and  improvements  situated
     8  thereon as determined by the two thousand twelve town assessment, multi-
     9  plied    by  two  hundred  thousand dollars. The town shall use all such
    10  payments to acquire land for inclusion in the forest  preserve  pursuant
    11  to subdivision six of this section.
    12    6.    Within  eighteen  months  of the date of the letters sent by the
    13  department pursuant to subdivision one of this section,  the  department
    14  shall identify lands for the town to acquire for inclusion in the forest

    15  preserve.  Subject  to  legislative approval, such lands shall provide a
    16  net benefit to the forest preserve as compared to the  disputed  parcels
    17  to which the state is estopped from asserting a claim pursuant to subdi-
    18  vision  seven  of this section. The town shall use all payments acquired
    19  pursuant to subdivision five of this section for the acquisition of such
    20  lands. Such lands shall be conveyed  from  the  owner  directly  to  the
    21  state.  Title to land to be conveyed to the state pursuant to this title
    22  and  the deed to the state shall be approved by the attorney general, as
    23  to form and manner of execution and recordability, before the deed shall
    24  be accepted on behalf of the state.

    25    7.  The commissioner shall cause to be prepared an accurate survey map
    26  showing the boundaries of all disputed land to which the state  will  be
    27  releasing and extinguishing its right, title and interest and record the
    28  survey map in the Hamilton county clerk's office. The commissioner shall
    29  also cause legal descriptions of such boundaries to be prepared from the
    30  map.  Except  for  those  parcels  the  title to which will be litigated
    31  pursuant to section 9-1909 of this title, upon legislative  approval  of
    32  the  lands  to  be  provided to the state pursuant to subdivision six of
    33  this section, the completion  of  the  conveyances  to  the  state,  and
    34  certification  by  the  commissioner  that  each  respective  person has

    35  complied with all applicable terms and conditions  of  this  title,  and
    36  notwithstanding the provisions of the public lands law, the commissioner
    37  shall  be  authorized  to  release  and  extinguish all right, title and
    38  interest of the state in the disputed parcels that  are  located  within
    39  these  surveyed boundaries, without reservation and exception. The legal
    40  descriptions shall be approved by the commissioner and incorporated into
    41  the release and extinguishment document.  The  commissioner  shall  send
    42  notice of the state's release and extinguishment of rights to a disputed
    43  parcel  by  separate  letter  to each person for each parcel of land the
    44  title to which has been settled pursuant to this title, and upon release

    45  and extinguishment of rights, the state shall be estopped from asserting
    46  any claim of title to disputed parcels based upon (a) facts  or  actions
    47  that  occurred prior to the effective date of this title, and (b) deeds,
    48  tax sales or other documents that predate the  effective  date  of  this
    49  title.    The  commissioner  shall also cause to be prepared an accurate
    50  survey map, to be recorded in the county clerk's  office,  and  a  legal
    51  description  from the survey map, for each individual parcel of land the
    52  claimant of which has filed a notice pursuant to paragraph b of subdivi-
    53  sion two of this section or has not complied in a  timely  fashion  with
    54  the  requirements of subdivisions two, four or five of this section. The

    55  department shall provide a copy of such survey and legal description  to

        A. 7869                             9
 
     1  the  office of the attorney general to assist in the litigation required
     2  by section 9-1909 of this title.
     3  § 9-1909. Attorney general to file suit.
     4    The  attorney  general, within twenty-four months of either a person's
     5  failure to comply with the requirements of subdivision  two  of  section
     6  9-1907  of  this  title  with respect to a particular disputed parcel, a
     7  person's filing of a notice of nonparticipation pursuant to paragraph  b
     8  of  subdivision  two  of  section 9-1907 of this title with respect to a
     9  particular disputed parcel, a person's  failure  to  make  the  required

    10  conveyance  required by subdivision four of section 9-1907 of this title
    11  with respect to a particular disputed parcel, or a person's  failure  to
    12  make  the  required  payment  required  by subdivisions four and five of
    13  section 9-1907 of this title  with  respect  to  a  particular  disputed
    14  parcel,  shall  commence  an action in a court of competent jurisdiction
    15  pursuant to the real property actions and proceedings law  to  determine
    16  title to such parcel.  Nothing contained in this title shall be applica-
    17  ble  to  such action.   Failure by the attorney general to commence such
    18  action within such time frame shall not subsequently prevent the  attor-
    19  ney  general  from  commencing  such  an  action or create a presumption

    20  against the state's claim of title.
    21  § 9-1911. Conveyances to the state.
    22    Nothing in this title shall be interpreted as at any  time  preventing
    23  any  person  claiming a disputed parcel from offering to convey any such
    24  parcel, any portion of such parcel, or any interest in  such  parcel  to
    25  the  state  on  such terms and conditions as the owner finds acceptable,
    26  provided the state may, solely in  its  discretion,  decide  whether  to
    27  accept any such offer.
    28  § 9-1913. Adirondack park agency jurisdiction.
    29    Nothing  in  this  title shall be interpreted as altering or affecting
    30  the regulatory jurisdiction of the Adirondack park agency over any  land
    31  located within township forty.

    32  § 9-1915. Notarized statement.
    33    The format for the notarized statement described in subdivision two of
    34  section 9-1907 of this title shall be as follows:
    35  NOTARIZED  STATEMENT  RELATING  TO THE SETTLEMENT OF COMPETING CLAIMS OF
    36  TITLE
    37  TOWNSHIP FORTY, TOTTEN AND CROSSFIELD PURCHASE
    38  TOWN OF LONG LAKE, COUNTY OF HAMILTON
    39  Name(s):
    40  Mailing address(es):
    41  Telephone number(s):
    42  Tax parcel number:
    43  Circle either 1 or 2; if you circle 1, you must also circle a or b:
    44    1. I (we) elect to participate in the process to resolve title  issues
    45  regarding the above-referenced parcel as authorized by title nineteen of
    46  article nine of the environmental conservation law.

    47    a.  I (we) intend to reduce my (our) payment by gifting to the state a
    48  specified portion of a disputed parcel in fee simple without reservation
    49  for inclusion in the forest preserve or a conservation easement  to  the
    50  town  restricting  development  over  all  or  a  specified portion of a
    51  disputed parcel, with a secondary right of  enforcement  in  the  state.
    52  The intended gift is described in the attached document.
    53    b.  I  (we)  do  not intend to reduce my (our) payment to the state by
    54  gifting any portion of the parcel to the state or by gifting a conserva-
    55  tion easement over any portion of the parcel to the town; or

        A. 7869                            10
 

     1    2. I (we) elect to not participate in the special process  to  resolve
     2  title  issues  regarding  the  above-referenced  parcel as authorized by
     3  title nineteen of article nine of the environmental conservation law.  I
     4  (we)  understand  that:  within twenty-four months of my (our) filing of
     5  this notice, the attorney general shall commence an action in a court of
     6  competent  jurisdiction  to  determine  title to such parcel; nothing in
     7  title nineteen of article nine of  the  environmental  conservation  law
     8  shall  be  applicable  to  such  litigation; and failure by the attorney
     9  general to commence such action within such twenty-four month time frame
    10  shall not subsequently prevent the attorney general from commencing such

    11  an action or create a presumption against the state's claim of title.
    12  Signature
    13  (Notarization)
    14    § 2. This act shall take effect on the  same  date  and  in  the  same
    15  manner  as a "CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing
    16  an amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the constitution, in relation
    17  to disputed title in township 40, Totten and Crossfield Purchase, in the
    18  town of Long Lake, Hamilton county," takes  effect  in  accordance  with
    19  section 1 of article 19 of the constitution.
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