Contract Cancellations

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Senate Bill 574​​​ Effective January 1st, 2022​​​

Senate Bill 574 impacted several administrative processes involving the Williamson Act. This page has been updated to reflect changes to the cancellation process. For a general overview of all changes to the Williamson Act, see ​SB 574 Summary Sheet.

SB 574 removed the requirement that cancellation petitions be sent to the Department of Conservation (Department) for preliminary ​review and comment, thus removing the 30-day waiting period prior to local jurisdictions scheduling a public hearing. Further, Farmland Security Zone cancellations no longer require approval by the Department Director. Additionally, the number of notifications required to be sent to the Department have been reduced to the following:

  1. Assessor's Valuation and any recomputations if applicable

  2. Published notice of the decision 30 days after the tentative c​ancellation (please include the resolution and/or tentative certificate of cancellation if the published notice refers to, or otherwise relies on these documents to meet the requirements of the ​public notice as described in the government code section 51284 )

  3. Final Certificate of Cancellation

  4. Withdrawal of Certificate of Tentative Cancellation (If applicable)

​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). Cancellation of a Farmland Security Zone contract is subject to GC § 51297 , and requires additional findings compared with a standard Williamson Act contract.

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, or 25 percent for a Farmland Security Zone contract.

The Department has prepared two documents outlining the process of cancelling Williamson Act Contracts:

  1. Williamson Act Cancellation Process Guide for Local Governments
  2. Williamson Act General Cancellation Process

More Information

For further information on the Cancellation process:

  • Landowners should contact their local County/City government that holds the contract.  Local governments may have additional requirements beyond the government code.

In the Department'​​​​​​s continuing effort to migrate to a paperless environment, all documents and related materials can be submitted digitally to:

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

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Contract Cancellations

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