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 city, county, or 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 and animal husbandry. 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 require the county assessor to value property that is enforceably restricted by a contract entered into pursuant to the Urban
Agriculture Incentive Zones Act at the rate based on the average
begin delete per acreend delete value of irrigated cropland in California, adjusted proportionally to reflect the acreage of the property under contract, as most recently published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. The bill would also require the State Board of Equalization to post the begin delete per acreend delete land
value as published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture on its Internet Web site within 30 days of publication, and to provide the rate to county assessors no later than January 1 of each assessment year.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Chapter 6.3 (commencing with Section 51040)
2is added to Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code,
This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the
4Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act.
The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the
6public interest to promote sustainable urban farm enterprise sectors
7in urban centers.
8The Legislature further finds and declares the small-scale, active
9production of marketable crops and animal husbandry, including,
10but not limited to, foods, flowers, and seedlings, in urban centers
11is consistent with, and furthers, the purposes of this act.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have
13the following meanings:
14(a) “Urban” means an area within the boundaries of an urbanized
15area, as that term is used by the United States Census Bureau, that
16includes at least
begin delete 50,000end delete people.
17(b) “Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone” means an area within
18a county or a city and county that is comprised of individual
19properties designated as urban agriculture preserves by the county
20or the city and county for farming purposes.
21(c) “Agricultural use” means farming in all its branches
22including, but not limited to, the cultivation and tillage of the soil,
23the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any
24agricultural or horticultural products, the raising of livestock, bees,
25fur-bearing animals, dairy-producing animals, and poultry,
26agricultural education, the sale of produce through field retail
27stands or farms stands as defined by Article 5 (commencing with
28Section 47030) of Chapter 10.5 of Division 17 of the Food and
29Agricultural Code, and any practices performed by a farmer or on
30a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with farming operations.
31For purposes of this chapter, the term “agricultural use” does not
32include timber production.
(a) (1) (A) A county or city and county may, after a
34public hearing, establish by ordinance an Urban Agriculture
35Incentive Zone within its boundaries for the purpose of entering
36into enforceable contracts with landowners, on a voluntary basis,
37for the use of vacant, unimproved, or blighted lands for small-scale
39(B) A city may, after a public hearing and approval from the
40board of supervisors of the county in which the city is located,
P4 1establish by ordinance an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone within
2its boundaries for the purpose of entering into enforceable contracts
3with landowners, on a voluntary basis, for the use of vacant,
4unimproved, or blighted lands for small-scale agricultural use.
5(2) Following the adoption of the ordinance pursuant to
6paragraph (1), a city, county, or city and county that has established
7an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone within its boundaries may
8adopt rules and regulations consistent with the city, county, or city
9and county’s zoning and other ordinances, for the implementation
10and administration of the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone and
11of contracts related to that Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone.
12(A) The city, county, or city and county may impose a fee upon
13contracting landowners for the reasonable costs of implementing
14and administering contracts.
15(B) The city, county,
or city and county shall impose a fee equal
16to the cumulative value of the tax benefit received during the
17duration of the contract upon landowners for cancellation of any
18contract prior to the expiration of the contract, unless the city,
19county, or city and county makes a determination that the
20cancellation was caused by extenuating circumstances despite the
21good faith effort by the landowner.
22(b) Following the adoption of the ordinance as required by
23subdivision (a), a city, county, or a city and county may enter into
24a contract 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.
29(2) A restriction on property that is at least 0.10 acres.
31(3) A requirement that the entire property subject to the contract
32shall be dedicated toward commercial or noncommercial
33 agricultural use.
34(4) A prohibition against any dwellings on the property while
36(5) A notification that if a landowner cancels a contract, a city,
37county, or city and county is required to assess a cancellation fee,
38pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).
39(c) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall not
40prohibit the use of structures that support agricultural activity,
P5 1including, but not limited to, toolsheds, greenhouses, produce
2stands, and instructional space.
3(d) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter that includes
4a prohibition on the use of pesticide or fertilizers on properties
5under contract shall permit those pesticides or fertilizers allowed
6by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic
12 13(e)end delete
14 Property subject to a contract entered into pursuant to this
15chapter shall be assessed pursuant to Section 422.7 of the Revenue
16and Taxation Code during the term of the contract.
15 17(f)end delete
18 A county or a city and county shall not establish an Urban
19Agriculture Incentive Zone within any portion of the spheres of
20influence of a city unless the legislative body of the city has
21consented to the establishment of the Urban Agriculture Incentive
21 23(g)end delete
24 A city, county, or city and county shall not establish an
25Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone in any area that is currently
26subject to, or has been subject to within the previous three years,
27a contract pursuant to the Williamson Act (Article 1 (commencing
28with Section 51200) of Chapter 7 of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title
Section 402.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is
31amended to read:
(a) In the assessment of land, the assessor shall consider
33the effect upon value of any enforceable restrictions to which the
34use of the land may be subjected. These restrictions shall include,
35but are not limited to, all of the following:
37(2) Recorded contracts with governmental agencies other than
38those provided in Sections 422, 422.5, and 422.7.
39(3) Permit authority of, and permits issued by, governmental
40agencies exercising land use powers concurrently with local
P6 1governments, including the California Coastal Commission and
2regional coastal commissions, the San Francisco Bay Conservation
3and Development Commission, and the Tahoe Regional Planning
5(4) Development controls of a local government in accordance
6with any local coastal program certified pursuant to Division 20
7(commencing with Section 30000) of the Public Resources Code.
8(5) Development controls of a local government in accordance
9with a local protection program, or any component thereof, certified
10pursuant to Division 19 (commencing with Section 29000) of the
11Public Resources Code.
12(6) Environmental constraints applied to the use of land pursuant
13to provisions of statutes.
14(7) Hazardous waste land use restriction pursuant to
1525240 of the Health and Safety Code.
16(8) A recorded conservation, trail, or scenic easement, as
17described in Section 815.1 of the Civil Code, that is granted in
18favor of a public agency, or in favor of a nonprofit corporation
19organized pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
20Code that has as its primary purpose the preservation, protection,
21or enhancement of land in its natural, scenic, historical, agricultural,
22forested, or open-space condition or use.
23(9) A solar-use easement pursuant to Chapter 6.9 (commencing
24with Section 51190) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the
26(b) There is a rebuttable presumption that restrictions will not
27be removed or substantially modified in the predictable future and
28that they will substantially equate the value of the land to the value
29attributable to the legally permissible use or uses.
30(c) Grounds for rebutting the presumption may include, but are
31not necessarily limited to, the past history of like use restrictions
32in the jurisdiction in question and the similarity of sales prices for
33restricted and unrestricted land. The possible expiration of a
34restriction at a time certain shall not be conclusive evidence of the
35future removal or modification of the restriction unless there is no
36opportunity or likelihood of the continuation or renewal of the
37restriction, or unless a necessary party to the restriction has
38indicated an intent to permit its expiration at that time.
39(d) In assessing land with respect to which the
40unrebutted, the assessor shall not consider sales of otherwise
P7 1comparable land not similarly restricted as to use as indicative of
2value of land under restriction, unless the restrictions have a
3demonstrably minimal effect upon value.
4(e) In assessing land under an enforceable use restriction wherein
5the presumption of no predictable removal or substantial
6modification of the restriction has been rebutted, but where the
7restriction nevertheless retains some future life and has some effect
8on present value, the assessor may consider, in addition to all other
9legally permissible information, representative sales of comparable
10lands that are not under restriction but upon which natural
11limitations have substantially the same effect as restrictions.
12(f) For the purposes
of this section the following definitions
14(1) “Comparable lands” are lands that are similar to the land
15being valued in respect to legally permissible uses and physical
17(2) “Representative sales information” is information from sales
18of a sufficient number of comparable lands to give an accurate
19indication of the full cash value of the land being valued.
20(g) It is hereby declared that the purpose and intent of the
21Legislature in enacting this section is to provide for a method of
22determining whether a sufficient amount of representative sales
23information is available for land under use restriction in order to
24ensure the accurate assessment of that land. It is also hereby
25declared that the further purpose and intent of the Legislature in
26enacting this section and Section 1630 is to avoid an assessment
27policy which, in the absence of special circumstances, considers
28uses for land that legally are not available to the owner and not
29contemplated by government, and that these sections are necessary
30to implement the public policy of encouraging and maintaining
31effective land use planning. This statute shall not be construed as
32requiring the assessment of any land at a value less than as required
33by Section 401 or as prohibiting the use of representative
34comparable sales information on land under similar restrictions
35when this information is available.
Section 422.7 is added to the Revenue and Taxation
37Code, to read:
(a) For purposes of this section, the term “open-space
39land” includes land subject to contract for an urban agricultural
40incentive zone, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 51040.3
P8 1of the Government Code. For purposes of this section, open-space
2land is enforceably restricted within the meaning of Section 8 of
3Article XIII of the California Constitution if it is subject to an
4urban agriculture incentive zone contract.
5(b) (1) Open-space land subject to contract for an urban
6agricultural incentive zone pursuant to Section 52010.3 shall be
7valued for assessment at the rate based on the average
begin delete per acreend delete
8 value of irrigated cropland in California, adjusted
9proportionally to reflect the acreage of the property under contract,
10as most recently published by the National Agricultural Statistics
11Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.
12(2) Notwithstanding the published rate, the valuation resulting
13from the section shall not exceed the lesser of either the valuation
14that would have resulted by a calculation under Section 110, or
15the valuation that would have resulted by a valuation under Section
16110.1, as though the property was not subject to an enforceable
17restriction in the base year.
18(c) The State Board of Equalization shall post the
begin delete per acreend delete
19 land value as published by the National Agricultural
20Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture
21on its Internet Web site within 30 days of publication, and shall
22provide the rate to county assessors no later than January 1 of each