Change the state could do without
State lawmakers are on the verge of a technical change to a law that could have a major impact on the preservation of public land, including some parks, trails and other recreational land.
Under a bill approved by the House and awaiting action by the Senate, local governments would be able to sell off some public lands without the court approval now required under the Donated and Dedicated Property Act.
In cases where there is no record of a park being specifically dedicated for that purpose, for example, a city would be able to sell or otherwise transfer it to a new owner or purpose without judicial review.
The change could result in some public lands being conveyed or repurposed without giving opponents a voice in court.
It also would create uncertainty among donors of public lands about future uses. And, it potentially could chill the state's highly successful farmland preservation program.
Judicial review might be inconvenient for some local governments that want to sell properties, but judicial review is in the long-term public interest. The Senate should reject the change.