BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 551
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          AB 551 (Ting)
          As Amended  September 3, 2012 
          Majority vote
          |ASSEMBLY:  |75-0 |(May 29, 2013)  |SENATE: |39-0 |(September 9,  |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2013)          |
           Original Committee Reference:    AGRI.  

           SUMMARY  :  Allows a county or a city and county (county) to  
          establish by ordinance an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone  
          (UAIZ) for the purpose of supporting urban agriculture.  

           The Senate amendments  :

          1)Define urban to mean an area within the bounds of an urbanized  
            zone, as defined by the United States Census Bureau.

          2)Define Agriculture use to mean farming in all of it branches,  
            as specified. 

          3)Allow a county that establishes a UAIZ to establish  
            regulations for implementing and administering the UAIZ and  
            related UAIZ contacts, including assessing a fee to cover the  
            cost of the UAIZ program and cancelation fees for exiting a  
            contract early.

          4)Allow a city to create a UAIZ, with approval from the board of  

          5)Prohibit UAIZ to overlap with Williamson Act contracted land. 

          6)Require notification to landowners that canceling a UAIZ  
            contract may cause cancelation fees to be imposed. 

          7)Add a sunset date of January 1, 2019, on the authority to  
            approve new UAIZ contracts.  

          8)Make technical and conforming changes.  

           EXISTING LAW :  


                                                                 AB 551
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           1)Authorizes cities and counties to enter into agricultural land  
            preservation contracts with landowners who agree to restrict  
            the use of their land for a minimum of 10 years in exchange  
            for lower-assessed valuations for property tax purposes.

          2)Requires a county assessor to consider, when valuing real  
            property for property taxation purposes, the effect of any  
            enforceable restrictions upon the property.  These  
            restrictions include, but are not limited to, zoning,  
            contracts with governmental agencies, and various other  
            restrictions imposed by governments.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, the loss of revenue to the General Fund could  
          potentially be millions of dollars per year, due to lower  
          property tax revenues. There are also likely minor costs to the  
          Board of Equalization due to an annual report required by this  

           COMMENTS  :   According to the author, many properties in urban  
          areas lie undeveloped for many years due to various reasons.  
          These properties can blight the surrounding neighborhood.  This  
          bill seeks to create an incentive for the owners of these  
          properties to use their properties for urban agriculture in  
          order to create a green space and a local food source for the  

          The author states that by allowing a county to enter a contract  
          with the landowner, in which the property must be used for urban  
          agriculture in return for a lower property tax rate.  Supporters  
          state that by reducing the landowner's property tax rate,  
          property owned may be encouraged to convert the land to an urban  
          agricultural use.  The reduced tax rate could serve as an  
          incentive to lease the land for urban agriculture rather than  
          leaving the property unused.

          Supporters state that the opt-in approach taken by this bill  
          offers a conservative way to help expand urban agriculture  
          across the state. This bill will act as another tool in the box  
          for counties who are looking to create open space and small  
          scale economic opportunities in their jurisdiction.  

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Victor Francovich / AGRI. / (916)  


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