The Land Conservation Act
The California Land Conservation Act of 1965--commonly referred to as the Williamson Act--enables local governments to enter into contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting specific parcels of land to agricultural or related open space use. In return, landowners receive property tax assessments which are much lower than normal because they are based upon farming and open space uses as opposed to full market value. The Open Space Subvention Act of 1971 provided local governments an annual subvention of forgone property tax revenues from the state through the year 2009; these payment have been suspended in more recent years due to revenue shortfalls.
Legislation and Policy
Open Space Subventions FAQ
AB 1265 - Advisory Statement (PDF)
Recapture of Property Tax Loss
Equine Facilities Policy (PDF)
Data and Maps
Williamson Act Status Reports
The 2014 Status Report is the most recent available. Check out this page for reports dating back to 1989.
Land Conservation Act Maps (PDF)
Maps on program enrollment status, as provided by participating counties. The most recent data submitted has been posted.
Working with the LESA Model
Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) Model
evaluates agricultural characteristics of specific sites, as indicated in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines.