Amended in Senate July 9, 2013

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 add Section 422.7 to, 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.

P3    1


For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have
2the following meanings:

3(a) “Urban” means an area within the boundaries of an urbanized
4area, as that term is used by the United States Census Bureau, that
5includes at least 50,000 people.

6(b) “Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone” means an area within
7a county or a city and county that is comprised of individual
8properties designated as urban agriculture preserves by the county
9or the city and county for farming purposes.



(a) (1) A county or a city and county may, after a
11public hearing, establish by ordinance an Urban Agriculture
12Incentive Zone within its boundaries for the purpose of entering
13into enforceable contracts with landowners, on a voluntary basis,
14for the use of vacant, unimproved, or blighted lands for small-scale
15production of agricultural crops.

16(2) A county or a city and county that has established an Urban
17Agriculture Incentive Zone within its boundaries may adopt rules
18and regulations for the implementation and administration of the
19Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone and of contracts related to that
20Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone.begin delete Theend delete

21begin insert(A)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertTheend insert county or city and county may impose a fee upon
22contracting landowners for the reasonable costs of implementing
23and administering contractsbegin delete and the incentive zoneend delete.

begin insert

24(B) The county or city and county may impose a fee upon
25landowners for cancellation of any contract as to all or any part
26of the subject land.

end insert

27(b) Following the adoption of the ordinance as required by
28subdivision (a), a county or a city and county may enter into a
29contract with a landowner to enforceably restrict the use of the
30land subject to the contract to uses consistent with urban
31agriculture. Any contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall
32include, but is not limited to, all of the following provisions:

33(1) An initial term of not less than five years.

begin delete

34(2) Either of the following provisions:

end delete
begin delete

31 35(A)

end delete

36begin insert(2)end insert A restriction on property that is at least 0.10 acresbegin delete and no
37more than 3.0 acres in sizeend delete

begin delete

38(B) A restriction on property that is larger than 3.0 acres in size
39if, prior to entering into the contract, the board of supervisors
40makes a determination that the agricultural development of the
P4    1property would result in a net increase in revenue to the county,
2or city and county, resulting from an increase in property value of
3one or more adjacent properties.

end delete

4(3) A requirement that the entire property subject to the contract
5shall be dedicated toward agricultural use.

6(4) A prohibition against commercial uses, except as those uses
7comply with the terms of the contract, on the property subject to
8the contract.

begin insert

9(5) A notification that if a landowner cancels a contract, a
10county or city and county may assess a cancellation fee, pursuant
11to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).

end insert

12(c) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall not
13prohibit the use of structures that support agricultural activity,
14including, but not limited to, toolsheds, greenhouses, produce
15stands, and instructional space.

16(d) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter that includes
17a prohibition on the use of pesticide or fertilizers on properties
18under contract shall permit those pesticides or fertilizers allowed
19by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic

21(e) Property subject to a contract entered into pursuant to this
22chapter shall be assessed pursuant to Sectionbegin delete 402.1end deletebegin insert 423end insert of the
23Revenue and Taxation Code during the term of the contract.

24(f) A county shall not establish an Urban Agriculture Incentive
25Zone within any portion of a city or the city’s spheres of influence
26unless that city has adopted an ordinance that authorizes an Urban
27Agriculture Incentive Zone within the city’s boundaries or spheres
28of influence.


SEC. 2.  

Section 402.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is
30amended to read:



(a) In the assessment of land, the assessor shall consider
32the effect upon value of any enforceable restrictions to which the
33use of the land may be subjected. These restrictions shall include,
34but are not limited to, all of the following:

35(1) Zoning.

36(2) Recorded contracts with governmental agencies other than
37those provided in Sections 422begin delete andend deletebegin insert,end insert 422.5begin insert, and 422.7end insert.

38(3) Permit authority of, and permits issued by, governmental
39agencies exercising land use powers concurrently with local
40governments, including the California Coastal Commission and
P5    1regional coastal commissions, the San Francisco Bay Conservation
2and Development Commission, and the Tahoe Regional Planning

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

7(5) Development controls of a local government in accordance
8with a local protection program, or any component thereof, certified
9pursuant to Division 19 (commencing with Section 29000) of the
10Public Resources Code.

11(6) Environmental constraints applied to the use of land pursuant
12to provisions of statutes.

13(7) Hazardous waste land use restriction pursuant to Section
1425240 of the Health and Safety Code.

15(8) A recorded conservation, trail, or scenic easement, as
16described in Section 815.1 of the Civil Code, that is granted in
17favor of a public agency, or in favor of a nonprofit corporation
18organized pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
19Code that has as its primary purpose the preservation, protection,
20or enhancement of land in its natural, scenic, historical, agricultural,
21forested, or open-space condition or use.

22(9) A solar-use easement pursuant to Chapter 6.9 (commencing
23with Section 51190) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the
24Government Code.

begin delete

25(10) A contract entered into pursuant to the Urban Agriculture
26Incentive Zones Act (Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section
27 51040) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code).

end delete

28(b) There is a rebuttable presumption that restrictions will not
29be removed or substantially modified in the predictable future and
30that they will substantially equate the value of the land to the value
31attributable to the legally permissible use or uses.

32(c) Grounds for rebutting the presumption may include, but are
33not necessarily limited to, the past history of like use restrictions
34in the jurisdiction in question and the similarity of sales prices for
35restricted and unrestricted land. The possible expiration of a
36restriction at a time certain shall not be conclusive evidence of the
37future removal or modification of the restriction unless there is no
38opportunity or likelihood of the continuation or renewal of the
39restriction, or unless a necessary party to the restriction has
40indicated an intent to permit its expiration at that time.

P6    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

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

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.

38begin insert

begin insertSEC. 3.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 422.7 is added to the end insertbegin insertRevenue and Taxation
end insert
begin insert, to read:end insert

begin insert
P7    1

begin insert422.7.end insert  

For purposes of this article, the term “open-space land”
2includes land subject to contract for an urban agricultural
3incentive zone, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 51040.3 of
4the Government Code. For purposes of this article, open-space
5land is enforceably restricted within the meaning of Section 8 of
6Article XIII of the California Constitution if it is subject to an
7urban agriculture incentive zone contract.

end insert


Title--Lines 2 and 3.


Corrected 7-11-13—See last page.     93