Land Conservation (Williamson) Act
effective January 1, 2003
Assembly Bill 1997 (Thomson, Chapter 613, Statutes of 2002)
Land Conservation (GC§66474.4)
Existing law requires a city or county to deny approval of a tentative map or parcel map if the land is subject to a Williamson Act contract and the resulting parcels following the subdivision do not meet the presumed minimum parcel sizes of 10 acres for prime land and 40 acres for non prime land. Exceptions are made under specified circumstances.
AB 1997 applies the same provisions to lands subject to an open-space easement, an agricultural conservation easement or a conservation easement. For easements entered into on or after January 1, 2003, terms of the easement addressing allowable land division shall prevail.
Assembly Bill 137 (Reyes, Chapter 188, Statutes of 2002)
Williamson Act Contract Protest: Record of Filing (GC§§51243.5 and 56754)
Existing law authorizes a LAFCO to request, and the Department of Conservation to provide, advice and assistance regarding LAFCO obligation to determine whether an annexing city may exercise its option to not succeed to the county’s contract.
AB 137 requires LAFCO to address concerns raised by the Department of Conservation in any hearing that considers a proposed annexation and a city’s decision to not succeed to a contract. Specifically, LAFCO must find that substantial evidence exists as specified in this section to allow the city not to succeed to a contract.
Existing law allows a city to exercise the option to not succeed to a Williamson Act contract provided; 1) the contract was executed prior to January 1, 1991, 2) the contracted area was within one mile of the city boundaries and 3) the city filed a protest of record identifying the affected contract and the subject parcel.
AB 137 also provides that a city may exercise its option to not succeed to a contract provided; 1) the contract was entered into between January 1, 1968 and December 31, 1968, 2) the land being annexed was within one mile of the city’s boundary when the contract was executed and 3) LAFCO determined that the city may exercise its option to not succeed to the contract prior to January 1, 2002.
Senate Bill 1515 (Machado, Chapter 174, Statutes of 2002)
Mello-Roos Community Facilities District (GC§53312.8)
Existing law allows local agencies to finance certain public capital improvements and services through a community facilities districts and special taxes. Various benefits are afforded to landowners who voluntarily restrict their property under open-space easements, Williamson Act contracts, Farmland Security Zone contracts and agricultural conservation easements.
SB 1515 provides that enforceably restricted lands may not be included or annexed to community facilities districts that provide non-agricultural services unless the landowner consents to the inclusion or annexation. Additionally, landowners that consent to inclusion or annexation to a community facilities district are prohibited from terminating the affected easement or canceling the affected contract until the Mello-Roos liens are released.
Senate Bill 1864 (Costa, Chapter 616, Statutes 2002)
Lot Line Adjustments (GC§51257)
Existing law provides that in order to facilitate a lot line adjustment, parties to a Williamson Act contract may mutually agree to rescind the contract and simultaneously enter into a new contract provided that specified findings are made by the board or council.
SB 1864 extends the termination date of the lot line adjustment provisions to January 1, 2004.
Assembly Bill 2370 (Thomson, Chapter 614, Statutes of 2002)
Local Agency Formation Commission: Sphere of Influence (GC§ 56426.5)
Existing law prohibits local agency formation commissions from approving a change to a local government or a special district that would result in the annexation of land protected by a Farmland Security Zone contract unless the land is within the pre-existing urban limit line, is needed for a public improvement or the landowner consents to the annexation.
AB 2370 offers protection to agricultural lands by prohibiting a local agency formation commission from approving a change to a city’s sphere of influence if it would result in annexation of land subject to a Williamson Act contract, unless it finds specified circumstances exist.
AB 2370 prohibits local agency formation commissions from approving a change to a local government or a special district if the change would result in annexation of lands protected under a Farmland Security Zone contract or a Williamson Act contract, unless the facilities or services provided benefit the land uses allowed under contract and the landowner consents to the change of the sphere of influence. A local agency formation commission may approve such change of organization only if it can make specified findings.