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Nov 04

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The GAP Analysis: NGOs Coming for Your Private Property

GAP Analysis for Hays County

Greenprint for Hays County

The GAP analysis represents the first step in locking up one half of America into wildlands for the highly questionable purpose for protecting nature from man.

The Gap analysis is a tool used in wildlife conservation to identify “gaps” in conservation lands, utilizing three types of data:  vegetative cover, animal distribution, and property ownership.  The GAP analysis also measures the level of stewardship by classifying the type of ownership or “protection” of land, private ownership being considered the least protected.  GAP analysts do not recognize land being held by private citizens as protected.

There is very little federal or state controlled land in the state of Texas.  The first step in creating a Wildlife Corridor is having “buy in” at the local level and having local officials such as county commissioners do the bidding for the federal government.   Without local support, federal programs do not stand a chance constitutionally.  The only way these lands can be taken is through condemnation, conservation easements, or uncompensated regulation.

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), such as Envision Central Texas, receive federal money through grants to lobby state and local officials for consideration and implementation of these plans into state and county documents such as park plans or master plans.  Their ultimate goal is for the land to be in a trust, or federal and state hands, etc., again believing that an entity whether it is government or a corporation can best handle land stewardship rather than individuals.  NGOs realize that there is very little that they can do to control people’s private property so they lobby the state legislature to enact legislation such as in Section 232 of the local government code.  This specific legislation has given county commissioners authority to control land use in unincorporated areas through subdivision regulations.  Using these subdivision regulations through Section 232, commissioners in Hays County are urged, according to Envision Central Texas, “to encourage cluster development through the adoption of a conservation subdivision ordinance, and to create incentives to attract commercial and residential developers to desired corridors as part of a County Master Plan or a conservation subdivision ordinance.”  Other regulations come in the form of strict on-site sewage facilities regulations in regards to minimum lot size requirements and also through water controls of all sorts, i.e., use of private water wells and the adoption of watershed protection plans.  These will be the tools that extreme environmentalists and NGOs who are promoting the Wildlands Corridor use to further their agenda.  Many of these people are serving as local county commissioners and on city councils.  Is it really necessary to promote these land use controls when less than 7 percent of the land is even inhabited, and 77 percent of the people live in less than 3 percent of the land mass in the United States?

Recognition to “protect land” or obtain it according to Envision Central Texas is to “identify funding through a variety of local, state, federal, and private resources to acquire and maintain lands identified through the Greenprint, the local GAP analysis report for respective counties or regions. Recommendations include harnessing sales tax revenue for conservation purposes; utilizing local bond options by building on the successes of past issues; and using FEMA land acquisition dollars once the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan is updated.”   Envision Central Texas discusses what a high percentage of communities have adopted park bonds for preservation, but I would argue that when people voted on these bonds, they envisioned spaces with benches and swings, not a corridor that is prohibitive to human beings. 

What right does local government hold to survey private property for the good of the community?  Our Constitution guarantees no community rights; in fact, the only rights that are granted are individual rights and liberties.  One could argue the fact that these lands being evaluated through GAP analysis and by NGOs is actually a violation of our right to privacy!

A large amount of land has been designated  ”high importance” to be protected in order to obtain a corridor of wildernesses.  Many people who are fighting to obtain these corridors for ecosystems believe that connecting the corridors for species to travel is the only way to protect the species.  What stands in their way of obtaining their objectives?  Your private property rights!!!

Possible Solutions                         

Rejection of any GAP analysis or greenprints in state, county,or local documents.

Demand reasonable minimum lot size requirements in regards to OSSF (septics).

Maintain strong individual property rights in being able to access water for personal uses through the use of water wells in unincorporated areas.

Reverse portions of Section 232 and the subdivision regulations which enable county commissioners to have more land use control and decisions in unincorporated areas.

Reject “regional plans” and government alliances with NGOs.

Be creative, be active, be strong!

 

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