Subject 391-3-18 RULES FOR CERTIFICATION OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE PROPERTY
The purpose of these rules is to establish the procedures for certification of environmentally sensitive tracts of property. Chapter 5 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) requires that the Department of Natural Resources certify environmentally sensitive property for purposes of ad valorem taxation. Six categories of environmentally sensitive property are listed including: steep mountain slopes, wetlands, significant groundwater recharge areas, undeveloped barrier islands, habitats containing endangered or threatened species, and river corridors. These rule also are designed to complement the Department of Revenue's rules for Conservation Use Property (560-11-4). The rules of the Department of Revenue concerning requirements, maintenance of the land in its natural condition, covenants, and breach of covenants shall be applicable to lands designated as environmentally sensitive.
All terms used in this paragraph shall be interpreted in accordance with the definitions as set forth in Chapter 5, of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated.
|(a)||"Department" means the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.|
|(b)||"FEMA" means the Federal Emergency Management Agency.|
|(c)|| "Habitat (for endangered or threatened
species)" means any area verified by the Department as:
|(d)||"Natural condition" means the flora, fauna, soil, and water conditions that would develop on a specific tract of land if all human interference were to be removed. The tract of land must have been undistributed for a sufficient period of time for natural processes to dominate the tract. This period of time will vary among environments. The natural environment for specific areas are described in Georgia Geologic Survey Bulletin 114, "The Natural Environments Of Georgia." Habitats may require human management of the tract in order to maintain the conditions for which the land was deemed to be environmentally sensitive.|
|(e)|| "Owner" or "owners" means:
|(f)||"Quadrangle map" means a 1:24,000 scale, 7.5 minute topographic map published by the U.S. Geologic Survey.|
|(g)||"Qualified consultant" means any individuals or company that have been so certified by the Department of Natural Resources.|
|(h)||"Registered forester" means any persons holding a valid and current registration as a Forester pursuant to O.C.G.A. Sec. 12-6-90et seq.|
|(i)||"Registered land surveyor" means any person holding a valid and current registration as a Land Surveyor pursuant to O.C.G.A. Sec. 43-15-1et seq.|
|(j)||"Slope" means the ratio of the difference in elevation between two points on the ground, separated by 500 feet or more, and the horizontal distance between those two points.|
|(k)||"Tax map" means a map, prepared by local governments, that shows the locations of tracts of land within the jurisdiction, and the legal ownership and zoning, if any, of such tracts.|
|(l)||"Wetlands" means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.|
The six categories of environmentally sensitive lands are the follows:
|(a)|| Steep Mountain Slopes.
Any area that:
|(b)||Wetlands. Any area delineated as a wetlands by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under their jurisdiction, pursuant to Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act, as amended; or any area shown on a 1:24,000 scale, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wetland Inventory Map as being a wetland; or any area shown on a 1:24,000 scale, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Landcover Database maps as being a wetlands; that meets the definition of a wetland (as defined in 391-3-19-.02 (1) ); and meets the definition of "natural conditions" (as defined in 391-3-18-.02 (d) ) shall be considered to be a wetland for the purpose of this legislation.|
|(c)||Significant Ground-water Recharge Areas. Any area shown on the most recent edition of Georgia Geologic Survey Hydrologic Atlas 18 to be a significant ground-water recharge area, and that meets the definition of "natural conditions" (as defined in 391-3-18-.02 (d) ) shall be treated as a significant ground-water recharge area for the purpose of this legislation.|
|(d)||Underdeveloped Barrier Islands. Any area identified in the U.S. Department of Interior's Report to Congress: Coastal Barrier Resources System", Volume 13, Georgia, and meets the definition of "natural conditions" (as defined in 391-3-18-.02 (d) ) shall be treated as an undeveloped barrier island for the purposes of this legislation.|
|(e)||Habitats for Endangered or Threatened Species. Any area that meets the definition of a "habitat" for endangered or threatened species (as defined in 391-3-18-.02 (c) ) and meets the definition of "natural conditions" (as defined 391-3-18-.02 (d) ) shall be treated as a habitat for endangered and threatened species for the purposes of this legislation.|
|(f)||River Corridors. Any areas, proximal and perennial streams, shown on a published FEMA flood insurance map to be in the 100-year floodplain and that meet the definition of "natural conditions" (as defined in 391-3-18-.02 (d) ) shall be treated as a river corridors for the purpose of this legislation.|
|(1)|| Steep Mountain
Significant Ground-Water Recharge Areas.
|(4)|| Undeveloped Barrier Islands.
|(5)|| Endangered or
|(6)|| River Corridors.
|(7)||Overlapping Areas. On any tract of land that contains more than one category of environmentally sensitive land, a map must be prepared jointly by a registered land surveyor and a qualified consultants showing the areas of overlap of the individuals categories of environmentally sensitive land. These multiple categories and any zones of overlap should be plotted on a county tax map.|
|(8)||Land Surveyor's Seal. Any report prepared by a registered land surveyor for the purpose of qualifying an area of land as environmentally sensitive, must bear the land surveyor's seal and, if applicable, a statement that the area are approximately and that the information provided is not prepared from an on-the-ground survey and may not be used for sale, conveyance or recording. An on-the-ground survey is not required for certification.|
|(9)|| Certification of Qualified Consultants.