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SB-649 Open-space subventions: farmland security zone contracts.(1999-2000)

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SB649:v94#DOCUMENT

Senate Bill No. 649
CHAPTER 1019

An act to amend Sections 16142 and 51296 of, and to add Section 16142.1 to, the Government Code, relating to open-space subventions, and making an appropriation therefor.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  October 10, 1999. Approved by Governor  October 10, 1999. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 649, Costa. Open-space subventions: farmland security zone contracts.
(1) Existing law requires the Controller to pay subventions to local governments at specified rates per acre to replace property tax revenues lost by reason of the required reductions in assessments of property restricted to use as open space. Those amounts are continuously appropriated from the General Fund to the Controller for that purpose.
This bill would include within those provisions, subject to a 10-year limit on those payments and a $100,000 annual cap applicable until 2005, certain land as to which a notice of nonrenewal of a use restriction has been served if the land was previously assessed at a specified rate applicable to land subject to a farmland security zone contract. The bill would increase the amount to be paid with respect to land subject to a farmland security zone contract or for which such a notice of nonrenewal was served in a county that has adopted farmland security zones.
(2) Existing law provides procedures for cancellation or nullification of contracts for the establishment of agricultural preserves and for the rescission of those contracts in order to place the land under a farmland security zone contract.
This bill would impose additional specified requirements for the cancellation of farmland security zone contracts, thereby creating a state-mandated local program by imposing new duties on local agencies. (3) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Appropriation: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 16142 of the Government Code is amended to read:

16142.
 (a) The Secretary of the Resources Agency shall direct the Controller to pay annually out of the funds appropriated by Section 16140, to each eligible county, city, or city and county, the following amounts for each acre of land within its regulatory jurisdiction that is assessed pursuant to Section 423, 423.3, 423.4, or 423.5, or 426 if it was previously assessed under Section 423.4, of the Revenue and Taxation Code:
(1) Five dollars ($5) for prime agricultural land, as defined in Section 51201.
(2) One dollar ($1) for all land, other than prime agricultural land, which is devoted to open-space uses of statewide significance, as defined in Section 16143.
(b) The amount per acre in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) may be increased by the Secretary of the Resources Agency to a figure which would offset any savings due to a more restrictive determination by the secretary as to what land is devoted to open-space use of statewide significance.
(c) The amount per acre in subdivision (a) shall only be paid for 10 years from the date that the land was first assessed pursuant to Section 426 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, if it was previously assessed under Section 423.4 of that code.

SEC. 2.

 Section 16142.1 is added to the Government Code, to read:

16142.1.
 (a) In lieu of the payments made pursuant to Section 16142, in a county that has adopted farmland security zones pursuant to Section 51296, the Secretary of the Resources Agency shall direct the Controller to pay annually out of the funds appropriated by Section 16140, to each eligible county, city, or city and county, the following amount for each acre of land within its regulatory jurisdiction that is assessed pursuant to Section 423.4 or 426 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, if it was previously assessed under Section 423.4 of that code:
Eight dollars ($8) for land that is within, or within three miles of the boundaries of the sphere of influence of, each incorporated city.
(b) The amount per acre in subdivision (a) shall only be paid for 10 years from the date that the land was first assessed pursuant to Section 426 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, if it was previously assessed under Section 423.4 of that code. The appropriation authorized by this subdivision shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per year until 2005.

SEC. 3.

 Section 51296 of the Government Code is amended to read:

51296.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that it is desirable to expand options available to landowners for the preservation of agricultural land. It is therefore the intent of the Legislature in enacting this article to encourage the creation of longer term voluntary enforceable restrictions within agricultural preserves.
(b) A landowner or group of landowners may petition the board to rescind a contract or contracts entered into pursuant to this chapter in order to simultaneously place the land subject to that contract or those contracts under a new contract designating the property as a farmland security zone. A landowner or group of landowners may also petition the board to create a farmland security zone for the purpose of entering into farmland security zone contracts pursuant to this section.
(1) Before approving the rescission of a contract or contracts entered into pursuant to this chapter in order to simultaneously place the land under a new farmland security zone contract, the board shall create a farmland security zone, pursuant to the requirements of Section 51230, within an existing agricultural preserve.
(2) No land shall be included in a farmland security zone unless expressly requested by the landowner. Any land located within a city’s sphere of influence shall not be included within a farmland security zone, unless the creation of the farmland security zone within the sphere of influence has been expressly approved by resolution by the city with jurisdiction within the sphere of influence.
(3) If more than one landowner requests the creation of a farmland security zone and the parcels are contiguous, the county shall place those parcels in the same farmland security zone.
(4) A contract entered into pursuant to this section shall be for an initial term of no less than 20 years. Each contract shall provide that on the anniversary date of the contract or on another annual date as specified by the contract, a year shall be added automatically to the initial term unless a notice of nonrenewal is given pursuant to Section 51245.
(5) Upon termination of a farmland security zone contract, the farmland security zone designation for that parcel shall simultaneously be terminated.
(c) Both of the following shall apply to land within a designated farmland security zone:
(1) The land shall be eligible for property tax valuation pursuant to Section 423.4 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any special tax approved by the voters for urban-related services on or after January 1, 1999, on the land or any living improvement shall be levied at a reduced rate unless the tax directly benefits the land or the living improvements.
(d) Notwithstanding any provision of the Cortese-Knox Local Government Reorganization Act of 1985 (Division 3 (commencing with Section 56000)), a local agency formation commission shall not approve a change of organization or reorganization that would result in the annexation of land within a designated farmland security zone to a city. However, this subdivision shall not apply under any of the following circumstances:
(1) If the farmland security zone is located within a designated, delineated area that has been approved by the voters as a limit for existing and future urban facilities, utilities, and services.
(2) If annexation of a parcel or a portion of a parcel is necessary for the location of a public improvement, as defined in Section 51290.5, except as provided in subdivision (f) or (g) of this section.
(3) If the landowner consents to the annexation.
(e) Notwithstanding any provision of the Cortese-Knox Local Government Reorganization Act of 1985 (Division 3 (commencing with Section 56000)), a local agency formation commission shall not approve a change of organization or reorganization that would result in the annexation of land within a designated farmland security zone to a special district that provides sewers, nonagricultural water, or streets and roads, unless the facilities or services provided by the special district benefit land uses that are allowed under the contract and the landowner consents to the change of organization or reorganization.
(f) Notwithstanding Article 5 (commencing with Section 53090) of Chapter 1 of Division 2 of Title 5, a school district shall not render inapplicable a county zoning ordinance to the use of land by the school district if the land is within a designated farmland security zone.
(g) Notwithstanding any provision of law, a school district shall not acquire any land that is within a designated farmland security zone.
(h) The board shall not approve any use of land within a designated farmland security zone based on the compatible use provisions contained in subdivision (c) of Section 51238.1.
(i) This section shall only apply to land that is designated on the Important Farmland Series maps, prepared pursuant to Section 65570 as predominantly one or more of the following:
(1) Prime farmland.
(2) Farmland of statewide significance.
(3) Unique farmland.
(4) Farmland of local importance.
If the proposed farmland security zone is in an area that is not designated on the Important Farmland Series maps, the land shall qualify if it is predominantly prime agricultural land, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 51201.
(j) Nonrenewal of a farmland security zone contract shall be pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 51240), except as otherwise provided in this article.
(k) A petition for cancellation of a farmland security zone contract created under this article may be filed only by the landowner with the city or county within which the contracted land is located. The city or county may grant a petition only in accordance with the procedures provided for in Article 5 (commencing with Section 51280) and only if all the following requirements are met:
(1) The city or county shall make both of the findings specified in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 51282, based on substantial evidence in the record. Subdivisions (b) to (e), inclusive, of Section 51282 shall apply to the findings made by the city or county.
(2) In its resolution tentatively approving cancellation of the contract, the city or county shall find all of the following:
(A) That no beneficial public purpose would be served by the continuation of the contract.
(B) That the uneconomic nature of the agricultural use is primarily attributable to circumstances beyond the control of the landowner and the local government.
(C) That the landowner has paid a cancellation fee equal to 25 percent of the cancellation valuation calculated in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 51283.
(3) The Director of Conservation approves the cancellation. The director may approve the cancellation after reviewing the record of the tentative cancellation provided by the city or county, only if he or she finds both of the following:
(A) That there is substantial evidence in the record supporting the decision.
(B) That no beneficial public purpose would be served by the continuation of the contract.
(4) A finding that no authorized use may be made of a remnant contract parcel of five acres or less left by public acquisition pursuant to Section 51295, may be substituted for the finding in paragraph (1).
(l) All of the provisions of Article 6 (commencing with Section 51290) shall apply to farmland security zones created pursuant to this article except as specifically provided in this article.
(m) No state agency, as defined in Section 65934, or local agency, as defined in Section 65930, shall require any land to be placed under a farmland security zone contract as a condition of the issuance of any entitlement to use or the approval of a legislative or adjudicative act involving, but not limited to, the planning, use, or development of real property, or a change of organization or reorganization, as defined in Section 56021 or 56073. No contract shall be executed as a condition of an entitlement to use issued by an agency of the United States government.
(n) Subdivisions (d) and (e) shall not apply during the three-year period preceding the termination of a farmland security zone contract.
(o) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of a board to rescind a portion or portions of a Williamson Act contract or contracts for the purpose of immediately enrolling the land in a farmland security zone contract so long as the remaining land is retained in a Williamson Act contract and the board determines that its action would improve the conservation of agricultural land within the county where the rescission occurs. The creation of multiple contracts under this subdivision does not constitute a subdivision of the land.

SEC. 4.

 Subdivision (k) of Section 51296 of the Government Code, as amended by Section 3 of this act, shall apply to any farmland security zone contract entered into prior to the effective date of this act, except as follows:
(a) If the contract contains a cancellation provision pursuant to Section 51282 of the Government Code and either party objects to conforming it to subdivision (k) of Section 51296 of the Government Code, as amended by this act, the contract shall revert to the form in which it previously existed under the Williamson Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 51200) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code) prior to its conversion to a contract under Section 51296.
(b) If the contract currently contains no cancellation clause or a prohibition on cancellation, the contract shall remain in effect unmodified. However, with the consent of both parties, the contract may be modified to conform to subdivision (k) of Section 51296.

SEC. 5.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.