Amended in Assembly May 24, 2013

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

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(Coauthor: Assembly Member Alejo)

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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, under specified conditions, a countybegin insert or a city and countyend insert 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 thanbegin delete 10end deletebegin insert 5end insert 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 Zones Act.

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

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

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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 may 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 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.

16

51040.3.  

For purposes of this chapter, the term “Urban
17Agriculture Incentive Zone” means an area within a countybegin insert or a
18city and countyend insert
that is comprised of individual properties
19designated as agriculture preserves by the countybegin insert or a city and
20countyend insert
for farming purposes.

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51042.  

(a) A countybegin insert or a city and countyend insert may, after a public
2hearing, establish by ordinance an Urban Agriculture Incentive
3Zone within its boundaries for the purpose of entering into
4enforceable contracts with landowners, on a voluntary basis, for
5the use of vacant, unimproved, orbegin delete otherwiseend delete blighted lands for
6small-scale production of agricultural crops.

7(b) Following the adoption of the ordinance as required by
8subdivision (a), a countybegin insert or a city and countyend insert may enter into a
9contract with a landowner to enforceably restrict the use of the
10land subject to the contract to uses consistent with urban
11agriculture. Any contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall
12include, but is not limited to, all of the following provisions:

13(1) An initial term of not less thanbegin delete 10end deletebegin insert fiveend insert years.

14(2) A restriction on property that is at least 0.10 acresbegin insert and no
15more than 3.0 acresend insert
in size.

16(3) A requirement that the entire property subject to the contract
17shall be dedicated toward agricultural use.

18(4) A prohibition against commercial uses, except as those uses
19comply with the terms of the contract, on the property subject to
20the contract.

21(c) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall not
22prohibit the use of structures that support agricultural activity,
23including, but not limited to, toolsheds, greenhouses, produce
24stands, and instructional space.

25(d) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter that includes
26a prohibition on the use of pesticide or fertilizers on properties
27under contract shall permit those pesticides or fertilizers allowed
28by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic
29Program.

30(e) Property subject to a contract entered into pursuant to this
31chapter shall be assessed pursuant to Section 402.1 of the Revenue
32and Taxation Code during the term of the contract.

33(f) A county shall not establish an Urban Agriculture Incentive
34Zone within any portion of a city or the city’s spheres of influence
35unless that city has adopted an ordinance that authorizes an Urban
36Agriculture Incentive Zone within the city’s boundaries or spheres
37of influence.

38

SEC. 2.  

Section 402.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is
39amended to read:

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402.1.  

(a) In the assessment of land, the assessor shall consider
2the effect upon value of any enforceable restrictions to which the
3use of the land may be subjected. These restrictions shall include,
4but are not limited to, all of the following:

5(1) Zoning.

6(2) Recorded contracts with governmental agencies other than
7those provided in Sections 422 and 422.5.

8(3) Permit authority of, and permits issued by, governmental
9agencies exercising land use powers concurrently with local
10governments, including the California Coastal Commission and
11regional coastal commissions, the San Francisco Bay Conservation
12and Development Commission, and the Tahoe Regional Planning
13Agency.

14(4) Development controls of a local government in accordance
15with any local coastal program certified pursuant to Division 20
16(commencing with Section 30000) of the Public Resources Code.

17(5) Development controls of a local government in accordance
18with a local protection program, or any component thereof, certified
19pursuant to Division 19 (commencing with Section 29000) of the
20Public Resources Code.

21(6) Environmental constraints applied to the use of land pursuant
22to provisions of statutes.

23(7) Hazardous waste land use restriction pursuant to Section
2425240 of the Health and Safety Code.

25(8) A recorded conservation, trail, or scenic easement, as
26described in Section 815.1 of the Civil Code, that is granted in
27favor of a public agency, or in favor of a nonprofit corporation
28organized pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
29Code that has as its primary purpose the preservation, protection,
30or enhancement of land in its natural, scenic, historical, agricultural,
31forested, or open-space condition or use.

32(9) A solar-use easement pursuant to Chapter 6.9 (commencing
33with Section 51190) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the
34Government Code.

35(10) A contract entered into pursuant to the Urban Agriculture
36Incentive Zones Act (Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section
37 51040) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code).

38(b) There is a rebuttable presumption that restrictions will not
39be removed or substantially modified in the predictable future and
P5    1that they will substantially equate the value of the land to the value
2attributable to the legally permissible use or uses.

3(c) Grounds for rebutting the presumption may include, but are
4not necessarily limited to, the past history of like use restrictions
5in the jurisdiction in question and the similarity of sales prices for
6restricted and unrestricted land. The possible expiration of a
7restriction at a time certain shall not be conclusive evidence of the
8future removal or modification of the restriction unless there is no
9opportunity or likelihood of the continuation or renewal of the
10restriction, or unless a necessary party to the restriction has
11indicated an intent to permit its expiration at that time.

12(d) In assessing land with respect to which the presumption is
13unrebutted, the assessor shall not consider sales of otherwise
14comparable land not similarly restricted as to use as indicative of
15value of land under restriction, unless the restrictions have a
16demonstrably minimal effect upon value.

17(e) In assessing land under an enforceable use restriction wherein
18the presumption of no predictable removal or substantial
19modification of the restriction has been rebutted, but where the
20restriction nevertheless retains some future life and has some effect
21on present value, the assessor may consider, in addition to all other
22legally permissible information, representative sales of comparable
23lands that are not under restriction but upon which natural
24limitations have substantially the same effect as restrictions.

25(f) For the purposes of this section the following definitions
26apply:

27(1) “Comparable lands” are lands that are similar to the land
28being valued in respect to legally permissible uses and physical
29attributes.

30(2) “Representative sales information” is information from sales
31of a sufficient number of comparable lands to give an accurate
32indication of the full cash value of the land being valued.

33(g) It is hereby declared that the purpose and intent of the
34Legislature in enacting this section is to provide for a method of
35determining whether a sufficient amount of representative sales
36information is available for land under use restriction in order to
37ensure the accurate assessment of that land. It is also hereby
38declared that the further purpose and intent of the Legislature in
39enacting this section and Section 1630 is to avoid an assessment
40policy which, in the absence of special circumstances, considers
P6    1uses for land that legally are not available to the owner and not
2contemplated by government, and that these sections are necessary
3to implement the public policy of encouraging and maintaining
4effective land use planning. Nothing in this statute shall be
5construed as requiring the assessment of any land at a value less
6than as required by Section 401 or as prohibiting the use of
7representative comparable sales information on land under similar
8restrictions when this information is available.



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