Amended in Assembly April 29, 2013

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.


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 authorizebegin insert, under specified conditions,end insert a county and a landowner to enter into a contract to enforceably restrict the use of vacant, unimproved, or otherwise blighted lands for small-scale 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 least 0.10 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 Zonesbegin insert Actend insert.

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


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


5Chapter  6.3. Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones




This chapter shall be known, andbegin delete myend deletebegin insert mayend insert be cited, as
8the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act.



The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the
10public interest to promote sustainable urban farm enterprise sectors
11in 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.



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.



(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,
P3    1unimproved, or otherwise blighted lands for small-scale production
2of agricultural crops.

3(b) Following the adoption of the ordinance as required by
4subdivision (a), a county may enter into a contract with a landowner
5to enforceably restrict the use of the land subject to the contract
6to uses consistent with urban agriculture. Any contract entered
7 into pursuant to this chapter shall include, but is not limited to, all
8of the following provisions:

9(1) An initial term of not less than 10 years.

10(2) A restriction on property that is at least 0.10 acres in size.

11(3) A requirement that the entire property subject to the contract
12shall be dedicated toward agricultural use.

13(4) A prohibition against commercial uses, except as those uses
14comply with the terms of the contract, on the property subject to
15the contract.

16(c) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall not
17prohibit the use of structures that support agricultural activity,
18including, but not limited tobegin insert,end insert toolsheds, greenhouses, produce
19stands, and instructional spacebegin delete, are permittedend delete.

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

25(e) Property subject to a contract entered into pursuant to this
26chapter shall be assessed pursuant to Section 402.1 of the Revenue
27and Taxation Code during the term of the contract.

begin insert

28(f) A county shall not establish an Urban Agriculture Incentive
29Zone within any portion of a city or the city’s spheres of influence
30unless that city has adopted an ordinance that authorizes an Urban
31Agriculture Incentive Zone within the city’s boundaries or spheres
32of influence.

end insert

SEC. 2.  

Section 402.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is
34amended to read:



(a) In the assessment of land, the assessor shall consider
36the effect upon value of any enforceable restrictions to which the
37use of the land may be subjected. These restrictions shall include,
38but are not limited to, all of the following:

39(1) Zoning.

P4    1(2) Recorded contracts with governmental agencies other than
2those provided in Sections 422 and 422.5.

3(3) Permit authority of, and permits issued by, governmental
4agencies exercising land use powers concurrently with local
5governments, including the California Coastal Commission and
6regional coastal commissions, the San Francisco Bay Conservation
7and Development Commission, and the Tahoe Regional Planning

9(4) Development controls of a local government in accordance
10with any local coastal program certified pursuant to Division 20
11(commencing with Section 30000) of the Public Resources Code.

12(5) Development controls of a local government in accordance
13with a local protection program, or any component thereof, certified
14pursuant to Division 19 (commencing with Section 29000) of the
15Public Resources Code.

16(6) Environmental constraints applied to the use of land pursuant
17to provisions of statutes.

18(7) Hazardous waste land use restriction pursuant to Section
1925240 of the Health and Safety Code.

20(8) A recorded conservation, trail, or scenic easement, as
21described in Section 815.1 of the Civil Code, that is granted in
22favor of a public agency, or in favor of a nonprofit corporation
23organized pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
24Code that has as its primary purpose the preservation, protection,
25or enhancement of land in its natural, scenic, historical, agricultural,
26forested, or open-space condition or use.

27(9) A solar-use easement pursuant to Chapter 6.9 (commencing
28with Section 51190) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the
29Government Code.

30(10) A contract entered into pursuant to the Urban Agriculture
31Incentive Zones Act (Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section
32 51040) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code).

33(b) There is a rebuttable presumption that restrictions will not
34be removed or substantially modified in the predictable future and
35that they will substantially equate the value of the land to the value
36attributable to the legally permissible use or uses.

37(c) Grounds for rebutting the presumption may include, but are
38not necessarily limited to, the past history of like use restrictions
39in the jurisdiction in question and the similarity of sales prices for
40restricted and unrestricted land. The possible expiration of a
P5    1restriction at a time certain shall not be conclusive evidence of the
2future removal or modification of the restriction unless there is no
3opportunity or likelihood of the continuation or renewal of the
4restriction, or unless a necessary party to the restriction has
5indicated an intent to permit its expiration at that time.

6(d) In assessing land with respect to which the presumption is
7unrebutted, the assessor shall not consider sales of otherwise
8comparable land not similarly restricted as to use as indicative of
9value of land under restriction, unless the restrictions have a
10demonstrably minimal effect upon value.

11(e) In assessing land under an enforceable use restriction wherein
12the presumption of no predictable removal or substantial
13modification of the restriction has been rebutted, but where the
14restriction nevertheless retains some future life and has some effect
15on present value, the assessor may consider, in addition to all other
16legally permissible information, representative sales of comparable
17lands that are not under restriction but upon which natural
18limitations have substantially the same effect as restrictions.

19(f) For the purposes of this section the following definitions

21(1) “Comparable lands” are lands that are similar to the land
22being valued in respect to legally permissible uses and physical

24(2) “Representative sales information” is information from sales
25of a sufficient number of comparable lands to give an accurate
26indication of the full cash value of the land being valued.

27(g) It is hereby declared that the purpose and intent of the
28Legislature in enacting this section is to provide for a method of
29determining whether a sufficient amount of representative sales
30information is available for land under use restriction in order to
31ensure the accurate assessment of that land. It is also hereby
32declared that the further purpose and intent of the Legislature in
33enacting this section and Section 1630 is to avoid an assessment
34policy which, in the absence of special circumstances, considers
35uses for land that legally are not available to the owner and not
36contemplated by government, and that these sections are necessary
37to implement the public policy of encouraging and maintaining
38effective land use planning. Nothing in this statute shall be
39construed as requiring the assessment of any land at a value less
40than as required by Section 401 or as prohibiting the use of
P6    1representative comparable sales information on land under similar
2restrictions when this information is available.