Amended in Senate June 25, 2013

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

(Coauthor: Assembly Member Alejo)

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 authorize, under specified conditions, a county or a city and 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 5 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:

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, and may be cited, as the
8Urban 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, thebegin delete term “Urbanend delete
17begin insert following terms have the following meanings:end insert

begin insert

P3    1(a) “Urban” means an area within the boundaries of an
2urbanized area, as that term is used by the United States Census
3Bureau, that includes at least 50,000 people.

end insert

4begin insert(b)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insert“Urban end insertAgriculture Incentive Zone” means an area within
5a county or a city and county that is comprised of individual
6properties designated asbegin insert urbanend insert agriculture preserves by the county
7orbegin delete aend deletebegin insert theend insert city and county for farming purposes.



(a) begin insert(1end insertbegin insert)end insertbegin insertend insertA county or a city and county may, after a
9public hearing, establish by ordinance an Urban Agriculture
10Incentive Zone within its boundaries for the purpose of entering
11into enforceable contracts with landowners, on a voluntary basis,
12for the use of vacant, unimproved, or blighted lands for small-scale
13production of agricultural crops.

begin insert

14(2) A county or a city and county that has established an Urban
15Agriculture Incentive Zone within its boundaries may adopt rules
16and regulations for the implementation and administration of the
17Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone and of contracts related to that
18Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone. The county or city and county
19may impose a fee upon contracting landowners for the reasonable
20costs of implementing and administering contracts and the
21incentive zone.

end insert

22(b) Following the adoption of the ordinance as required by
23subdivision (a), a county or a city and county may enter into a
24contract with a landowner to enforceably restrict the use of the
25land subject to the contract to uses consistent with urban
26agriculture. Any contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall
27include, but is not limited to, all of the following provisions:

28(1) An initial term of not less than five years.

begin insert

29(2) Either of the following provisions:

end insert
begin delete

14 30(2)

end delete

31begin insert(A)end insert A restriction on property that is at least 0.10 acres and no
32more than 3.0 acres in size.

begin insert

33(B) A restriction on property that is larger than 3.0 acres in
34size if, prior to entering into the contract, the board of supervisors
35makes a determination that the agricultural development of the
36property would result in a net increase in revenue to the county,
37or city and county, resulting from an increase in property value
38of one or more adjacent properties.

end insert

39(3) A requirement that the entire property subject to the contract
40shall be dedicated toward agricultural use.

P4    1(4) A prohibition against commercial uses, except as those uses
2comply with the terms of the contract, on the property subject to
3the contract.

4(c) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall not
5prohibit the use of structures that support agricultural activity,
6including, but not limited to, toolsheds, greenhouses, produce
7stands, and instructional space.

8(d) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter that includes
9a prohibition on the use of pesticide or fertilizers on properties
10under contract shall permit those pesticides or fertilizers allowed
11by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic

13(e) Property subject to a contract entered into pursuant to this
14chapter shall be assessed pursuant to Section 402.1 of the Revenue
15and Taxation Code during the term of the contract.

16(f) A county shall not establish an Urban Agriculture Incentive
17Zone within any portion of a city or the city’s spheres of influence
18unless that city has adopted an ordinance that authorizes an Urban
19Agriculture Incentive Zone within the city’s boundaries or spheres
20of influence.


SEC. 2.  

Section 402.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is
22amended to read:



(a) In the assessment of land, the assessor shall consider
24the effect upon value of any enforceable restrictions to which the
25use of the land may be subjected. These restrictions shall include,
26but are not limited to, all of the following:

27(1) Zoning.

28(2) Recorded contracts with governmental agencies other than
29those provided in Sections 422 and 422.5.

30(3) Permit authority of, and permits issued by, governmental
31agencies exercising land use powers concurrently with local
32governments, including the California Coastal Commission and
33regional coastal commissions, the San Francisco Bay Conservation
34and Development Commission, and the Tahoe Regional Planning

36(4) Development controls of a local government in accordance
37with any local coastal program certified pursuant to Division 20
38(commencing with Section 30000) of the Public Resources Code.

39(5) Development controls of a local government in accordance
40with a local protection program, or any component thereof, certified
P5    1pursuant to Division 19 (commencing with Section 29000) of the
2Public Resources Code.

3(6) Environmental constraints applied to the use of land pursuant
4to provisions of statutes.

5(7) Hazardous waste land use restriction pursuant to Section
625240 of the Health and Safety Code.

7(8) A recorded conservation, trail, or scenic easement, as
8described in Section 815.1 of the Civil Code, that is granted in
9favor of a public agency, or in favor of a nonprofit corporation
10organized pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
11Code that has as its primary purpose the preservation, protection,
12or enhancement of land in its natural, scenic, historical, agricultural,
13forested, or open-space condition or use.

14(9) A solar-use easement pursuant to Chapter 6.9 (commencing
15with Section 51190) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the
16Government Code.

17(10) A contract entered into pursuant to the Urban Agriculture
18Incentive Zones Act (Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section
19 51040) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code).

20(b) There is a rebuttable presumption that restrictions will not
21be removed or substantially modified in the predictable future and
22that they will substantially equate the value of the land to the value
23attributable to the legally permissible use or uses.

24(c) Grounds for rebutting the presumption may include, but are
25not necessarily limited to, the past history of like use restrictions
26in the jurisdiction in question and the similarity of sales prices for
27restricted and unrestricted land. The possible expiration of a
28restriction at a time certain shall not be conclusive evidence of the
29future removal or modification of the restriction unless there is no
30opportunity or likelihood of the continuation or renewal of the
31restriction, or unless a necessary party to the restriction has
32indicated an intent to permit its expiration at that time.

33(d) In assessing land with respect to which the presumption is
34unrebutted, the assessor shall not consider sales of otherwise
35comparable land not similarly restricted as to use as indicative of
36value of land under restriction, unless the restrictions have a
37demonstrably minimal effect upon value.

38(e) In assessing land under an enforceable use restriction wherein
39the presumption of no predictable removal or substantial
40modification of the restriction has been rebutted, but where the
P6    1restriction nevertheless retains some future life and has some effect
2on present value, the assessor may consider, in addition to all other
3legally permissible information, representative sales of comparable
4lands that are not under restriction but upon which natural
5limitations have substantially the same effect as restrictions.

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

8(1) “Comparable lands” are lands that are similar to the land
9being valued in respect to legally permissible uses and physical

11(2) “Representative sales information” is information from sales
12of a sufficient number of comparable lands to give an accurate
13indication of the full cash value of the land being valued.

14(g) It is hereby declared that the purpose and intent of the
15Legislature in enacting this section is to provide for a method of
16determining whether a sufficient amount of representative sales
17information is available for land under use restriction in order to
18ensure the accurate assessment of that land. It is also hereby
19declared that the further purpose and intent of the Legislature in
20enacting this section and Section 1630 is to avoid an assessment
21policy which, in the absence of special circumstances, considers
22uses for land that legally are not available to the owner and not
23contemplated by government, and that these sections are necessary
24to implement the public policy of encouraging and maintaining
25effective land use planning. Nothing in this statute shall be
26construed as requiring the assessment of any land at a value less
27than as required by Section 401 or as prohibiting the use of
28representative comparable sales information on land under similar
29restrictions when this information is available.