Negotiated Sale of an Unimproved Tract of Land

B-152223: Nov 6, 1963

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The legal opinion of the Comptroller General was requested concerning the legal aspects of a proposed negotiated sale of an unimproved tract of land at Porterville, California. The land has been declared excess by the Department of the Agriculture, and it is proposed to sell the land to the successful bidder for the construction of a building on the site to be leased to the Government as office and storage space for the Forest Service headquarters serving the Sequoia National Forest.

It is our view that no proper basis has been stated for determining the land to be "excess property" or "surplus property" within the meaning of those terms as defined in Section 3(e) and 3(g) of the Property Act. On the contrary, it appears that the transaction described evidences a need for the tract as a site for the proposed building to be used by the Forest Service and in this connection Section 203 (e) (6) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act applies only to disposal of property which is surplus to the needs and the discharge of the responsibilities of all Federal agencies.