Amended in Assembly April 9, 2013

Amended in Assembly March 19, 2013

California Legislature—2013–14 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 551


Introduced by Assembly Member Ting

February 20, 2013


An act to add Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section 51040) to Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code, and to amend Section 402.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to local government.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 551, as amended, Ting. Local government: urban agriculture incentive zones.

(1) Existing law, the Williamson Act, authorizes a city or county to enter into 10-year contracts with owners of land devoted to agricultural use, whereby the owners agree to continue using the property for that purpose, and the city or county agrees to value the land accordingly for purposes of property taxation. Existing law authorizes the parties to a Williamson Act contract to mutually agree to rescind a contract under the act in order to simultaneously enter into an open-space easement for a certain period of years.

This bill would enact the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act and would authorize a county and a landowner to enter into a contract to enforceably restrict the use of vacant, unimproved, or otherwise blighted lands for small-scalebegin delete commercialend delete production of agricultural crops. The bill would require a contract entered into pursuant to these provisions to, among other things, be for a term of no less than 10 years and to enforceably restrict property that is at leastbegin delete 0.25end deletebegin insert 0.10end insert acres in size.

(2) Existing law requires the county assessor to consider, when valuing real property for property taxation purposes, the effect of any enforceable restrictions to which the use of the land may be subjected. Under existing law these restrictions include, but are not limited to, zoning, recorded contracts with governmental agencies, and various other restrictions imposed by governments.

This bill would also require the county assessor to consider, when valuing real property for property taxation purposes, property that is enforceably restricted by a contract entered into pursuant to the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section 51040)
2is added to Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code,
3to read:

4 

5Chapter  6.3. Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones
6

 

7

51040.  

This chapter shall be known, and my be cited, as the
8Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act.

9

51040.1.  

The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the
10public interest to promote sustainable urban farmbegin delete enterprises as a
11new small business sectorend delete
begin insert enterprise sectorsend insert in urban centers.

12The Legislature further finds and declares the small-scale, active
13production of marketable crops, including, but not limited to, foods,
14flowers, and seedlings, in urban centers is consistent with, and
15furthers, the purposes of this act.

16

51040.3.  

For purposes of this chapter, the term “Urban
17Agriculture Incentive Zone” means an area within a county that
18is comprised of individual properties designated as agriculture
19preserves by the county for farming purposes.

20

51042.  

(a) A county may, after a public hearing, establish by
21ordinance an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone within its
22boundaries for the purpose of entering into enforceable contracts
23with landowners, on a voluntary basis, for the use of vacant,
24unimproved, or otherwise blighted lands for small-scale
25begin delete commercialend delete production of agricultural crops.

P3    1(b) Following the adoption of the ordinance as required by
2subdivision (a), a county may enter into a contract with a landowner
3to enforceably restrict the use of the land subject to the contract
4to uses consistent with urban agriculture. Any contract entered
5 into pursuant to this chapter shall include, but is not limited to, all
6of the following provisions:

7(1) An initial term of not less than 10 years.

8(2) A restriction on property that is at leastbegin delete 0.25end deletebegin insert 0.10end insert acres in
9size.

10(3) A requirement that the entire property subject to the contract
11shall be dedicated toward agricultural use.

12(4) A prohibition against commercial uses, except as those uses
13comply with the terms of the contract, on the property subject to
14the contract.

15(c) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall not
16prohibit the use of structures that support agricultural activity,
17including, but not limited to toolsheds, greenhouses, produce
18stands, and instructional space, are permitted.

19(d) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter that includes
20a prohibition on the use of pesticide or fertilizers on properties
21under contract shall permit those pesticides or fertilizers allowed
22by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic
23Program.

24(e) Property subject to a contract entered into pursuant to this
25chapter shall be assessed pursuant to Section 402.1 of the Revenue
26and Taxation Code during the term of the contract.

27

SEC. 2.  

Section 402.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is
28amended to read:

29

402.1.  

(a) In the assessment of land, the assessor shall consider
30the effect upon value of any enforceable restrictions to which the
31use of the land may be subjected. These restrictions shall include,
32but are not limited to, all of the following:

33(1) Zoning.

34(2) Recorded contracts with governmental agencies other than
35those provided in Sections 422 and 422.5.

36(3) Permit authority of, and permits issued by, governmental
37agencies exercising land use powers concurrently with local
38governments, including the California Coastal Commission and
39regional coastal commissions, the San Francisco Bay Conservation
P4    1and Development Commission, and the Tahoe Regional Planning
2Agency.

3(4) Development controls of a local government in accordance
4with any local coastal program certified pursuant to Division 20
5(commencing with Section 30000) of the Public Resources Code.

6(5) Development controls of a local government in accordance
7with a local protection program, or any component thereof, certified
8pursuant to Division 19 (commencing with Section 29000) of the
9Public Resources Code.

10(6) Environmental constraints applied to the use of land pursuant
11to provisions of statutes.

12(7) Hazardous waste land use restriction pursuant to Section
1325240 of the Health and Safety Code.

14(8) A recorded conservation, trail, or scenic easement, as
15described in Section 815.1 of the Civil Code, that is granted in
16favor of a public agency, or in favor of a nonprofit corporation
17organized pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
18Code that has as its primary purpose the preservation, protection,
19or enhancement of land in its natural, scenic, historical, agricultural,
20forested, or open-space condition or use.

21(9) A solar-use easement pursuant to Chapter 6.9 (commencing
22with Section 51190) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the
23Government Code.

24(10) A contract entered into pursuant to the Urban Agriculture
25Incentive Zones Act (Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section
26 51040) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code).

27(b) There is a rebuttable presumption that restrictions will not
28be removed or substantially modified in the predictable future and
29that they will substantially equate the value of the land to the value
30attributable to the legally permissible use or uses.

31(c) Grounds for rebutting the presumption may include, but are
32not necessarily limited to, the past history of like use restrictions
33in the jurisdiction in question and the similarity of sales prices for
34restricted and unrestricted land. The possible expiration of a
35restriction at a time certain shall not be conclusive evidence of the
36future removal or modification of the restriction unless there is no
37opportunity or likelihood of the continuation or renewal of the
38restriction, or unless a necessary party to the restriction has
39indicated an intent to permit its expiration at that time.

P5    1(d) In assessing land with respect to which the presumption is
2unrebutted, the assessor shall not consider sales of otherwise
3comparable land not similarly restricted as to use as indicative of
4value of land under restriction, unless the restrictions have a
5demonstrably minimal effect upon value.

6(e) In assessing land under an enforceable use restriction wherein
7the presumption of no predictable removal or substantial
8modification of the restriction has been rebutted, but where the
9restriction nevertheless retains some future life and has some effect
10on present value, the assessor may consider, in addition to all other
11legally permissible information, representative sales of comparable
12lands that are not under restriction but upon which natural
13limitations have substantially the same effect as restrictions.

14(f) For the purposes of this section the following definitions
15apply:

16(1) “Comparable lands” are lands that are similar to the land
17being valued in respect to legally permissible uses and physical
18attributes.

19(2) “Representative sales information” is information from sales
20of a sufficient number of comparable lands to give an accurate
21indication of the full cash value of the land being valued.

22(g) It is hereby declared that the purpose and intent of the
23Legislature in enacting this section is to provide for a method of
24determining whether a sufficient amount of representative sales
25information is available for land under use restriction in order to
26ensure the accurate assessment of that land. It is also hereby
27declared that the further purpose and intent of the Legislature in
28enacting this section and Section 1630 is to avoid an assessment
29policy which, in the absence of special circumstances, considers
30uses for land that legally are not available to the owner and not
31contemplated by government, and that these sections are necessary
32to implement the public policy of encouraging and maintaining
33effective land use planning. Nothing in this statute shall be
34construed as requiring the assessment of any land at a value less
35than as required by Section 401 or as prohibiting the use of
36representative comparable sales information on land under similar
37restrictions when this information is available.



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