The state's first eminent domain suit to acquire lands under the Conservation and Recreational Lands (CARL) program was filed Thursday by Attorney General Bob Butterworth. The suit seeks to acquire 1,015 acres of Lake County property ranked first on the state's CARL priority list.
Butterworth said preservation of the property is critical because it contains a corridor for the Florida black bear and other threatened animals. He said the current owners plan to develop the property for residential use, which would threaten its ecological survival. The tract is 26 miles northwest of Orlando.
The suit is the first under a 1989 law giving the governor and Cabinet authority to condemn lands for conservation and recreational use.
The petition for condemnation was filed in Lake County Circuit Court against title holder Wekiva Park Estates Inc. of West Palm Beach and Timothy S. Brumlik, a convicted felon who holds a purchase contract on the property, the attorney general said.
The property is part of a 14,857-acre tract designated as the state's top priority for acquisition.
State may buy thrift property
TALLAHASSEE _ State officials are considering large-scale real estate acquisitions around Florida after the savings and loan collapse.
The land was acquired by the federally created Resolution Trust Corp. (RTC) after the government began taking over insolvent savings and loans. The state's acquisitions from the RTC could include bargain-priced office buildings as well as environmentally sensitive land.
There's a hitch, of course: The state is practically broke itself because of the recession. But state government might actually save money if it could buy office buildings for a fraction of their value and move out of leased office space around the state.
Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay has been meeting with legislative leaders this week as part of an effort to set up a process for evaluating the RTC holdings.