Contract Cancellations

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Cancelling a Williamson Act Contract

A Williamson Act contract cancellation is an option under limited circumstances and conditions set forth in Government Code (GC) § 51280 et seq. In such cases, landowners may petition a board/council for Williamson Act contract cancellation. The board/council may grant tentative cancellation only if it makes required statutory findings (GC § 51282(a)).

If the required findings are met, the landowner is required to pay a cancellation fee equal to 12.5 percent of the cancellation valuation (unrestricted fair market value) of the property (GC § 51283(b)).

Cancelling a Farmland Security Zone Contract

Cancellation of a FSZ contract is subject to GC § 51297 and requires additional findings compared with a Williamson Act contract, which includes approval of the FSZ cancellation findings by the Director of the Department of Conservation.  The cancellation fee for a Farmland Security Zone Contract is 25 percent of the cancellation valuation (unrestricted fair market value) of the property.

More Information

For further information on the Cancellation process:

  • Landowners should contact their local County/City government they hold the contract with.  Local goverments may have additional requirements beyond the government code.

In the Departments continuing effort to migrate to a paperless environment, all cancellation petitions and related materials can be submitted digitially to:

David Shabazian, Director
Department Of Conservation
c/o Division of Land Resource Protection​

​​Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Contract Cancellations:

The Department of Conservation’s Role in Contract Cancellations

The cancellation petition, set forth in GC § 51284.1, must be submitted to the Department of Conservation when the city/county accepts the petition as complete.  A cancellation petition is consider to be complete once the city/county has either done a preliminary review and deemed the petition data and findings to be acceptable or they have finished their own environmental review and set of findings to forward on to the Department.  The Department shall then review the proposed cancellation petition and provide comments to advise the board or council on the findings required in GC § 51282 (WA) or § 51297 (FSZ). 

Williamson Act Contracts

Before taking action on the proposed cancellation, the board/council shall consider the Department's comments.  Tentative cancellation is either approved or denied by the council/board.  Per GC § 51283.4, once all contingencies of the tentative cancellation approval are met, the city/county is required to record the Certificate of Final Cancellation and send the cancellation payment to the State Controller and copies of the recorded documents to the Department.

Please see the general cancellation outline for information on the cancellation process.

Farmland Security Zone Contracts  

With respect to Farmland Security Zone cancellations, once a city/county approves the tentative cancellation resolution, a signed and recorded copy, along with the council/board's record of decision supporting the findings for FSZ cancellation, is sent back to the Director of the Department of Conservation for review.  The Director of the Department of Conservation will review the record of the tentative cancellation provided by the County, and may approve the cancellation for a FSZ only if he finds both of the following:

  • That there is substantial evidence in the record supporting the decision.
  • That no beneficial public purpose would be served by the continuation of the contract.

Please see the Farmland Security Zone page for information specific to FSZ cancellations.​

Back to Top