Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 5. LOCAL AGENCIES [50001 - 57607]

  ( Title 5 added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 81. )

DIVISION 1. CITIES AND COUNTIES [50001 - 52203]

  ( Division 1 added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 81. )

PART 1. POWERS AND DUTIES COMMON TO CITIES AND COUNTIES [50001 - 51298.5]

  ( Part 1 added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 81. )

CHAPTER 7. Agricultural Land [51200 - 51297.4]

  ( Chapter 7 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1443. )

ARTICLE 2.5. Agricultural Preserves [51230 - 51239]
  ( Article 2.5 added by Stats. 1969, Ch. 1372. )

51230.
  

Beginning January 1, 1971, any county or city having a general plan, and until December 31, 1970, any county or city, by resolution, and after a public hearing may establish an agricultural preserve. Notice of the hearing shall be published pursuant to Section 6061, and shall include a legal description, or the assessor’s parcel number, of the land which is proposed to be included within the preserve. The preserves shall be established for the purpose of defining the boundaries of those areas within which the city or county will be willing to enter into contracts pursuant to this act. An agricultural preserve shall consist of no less than 100 acres; provided, that in order to meet this requirement two or more parcels may be combined if they are contiguous or if they are in common ownership; and further provided, that in order to meet this requirement land zoned as timberland production pursuant to Chapter 6.7 (commencing with Section 51100) may be taken into account.

A county or city may establish agricultural preserves of less than 100 acres if it finds that smaller preserves are necessary due to the unique characteristics of the agricultural enterprises in the area and that the establishment of preserves of less than 100 acres is consistent with the general plan of the county or city.

An agricultural preserve may contain land other than agricultural land, but the use of any land within the preserve and not under contract shall within two years of the effective date of any contract on land within the preserve be restricted by zoning, including appropriate minimum parcel sizes that are at a minimum consistent with this chapter, in such a way as not to be incompatible with the agricultural use of the land, the use of which is limited by contract in accordance with this chapter.

Failure on the part of the board or council to restrict the use of land within a preserve but not subject to contract shall not be sufficient reason to cancel or otherwise invalidate a contract.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 1018, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2000.)

51230.1.
  

(a) Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent the transfer of ownership from one immediate family member to another of a portion of land which is currently designated as an agricultural preserve in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The parcel to be transferred is at least 10 acres in size in the case of prime agricultural land or at least 40 acres in size in the case of land which is not prime agricultural land, and otherwise meets the requirements of Section 51222.

(2) The parcel to be transferred conforms to the applicable local zoning and land division ordinances and any applicable local coastal program certified pursuant to Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 30500) of Division 20 of the Public Resources Code.

(3) The parcel to be transferred complies with all applicable requirements relating to agricultural income and permanent agricultural improvements which are imposed by the county or city as a condition of a contract executed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 51240) covering the land of which the parcel to be transferred is a portion. For purposes of this paragraph, if the contracted land already complies with these requirements, the portion of that land to be transferred shall be deemed to comply with these requirements.

(4) There exists a written agreement between the immediate family members who are parties to the proposed transfer that the land which is subject to a contract executed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 51240) and the portion of that land which is to be transferred will be operated under the joint management of the parties subject to the terms and conditions and for the duration of the contract executed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 51240).

(b) A transfer of ownership described in subdivision (a) shall have no effect on any contract executed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 51240) covering the land of which a portion was the subject of that transfer. The portion so transferred shall remain subject to that contract.

(c) For purposes of this section, “immediate family” means the spouse of the landowner, the natural or adopted children of the landowner, the parents of the landowner, or the siblings of the landowner.

(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 232, Sec. 1.)

51230.2.
  

(a) Except as provided in Section 51238, and notwithstanding Section 51222 or 66474.4, a landowner may subdivide land that is currently designated as an agricultural preserve if all of the following apply:

(1) The parcel to be sold or leased is no more than five acres.

(2) The parcel shall be sold or leased to a nonprofit organization, a city, a county, a housing authority, or a state agency. A lessee that is a nonprofit organization shall not sublease that parcel without the written consent of the landowner.

(3) The parcel to be sold or leased shall be subject to a deed restriction that limits the use of the parcel to agricultural laborer housing facilities for not less than 30 years. That deed restriction shall also require that parcel to be merged with the parcel from which it was subdivided when the parcel ceases to be used for agricultural laborer housing.

(4) There is a written agreement between the parties to the sale or lease and their successors to operate the parcel to be sold or leased under joint management of the parties, subject to the terms and conditions and for the duration of the contract executed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 51240).

(5) The parcel to be sold or leased is (A) within a city or (B) in an unincorporated territory or sphere of influence that is contiguous to one or more parcels that are already zoned residential, commercial, or industrial and developed with existing residential, commercial, or industrial uses.

(b) The agricultural labor housing project shall be designed to abate, to the extent practicable, impacts on adjacent landowners’ agricultural husbandry practices. The final plan for the housing shall include an addendum that explains what features will be included to meet this goal.

(c) A subdivision of land pursuant to this section shall not affect any contract executed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 51240). The parcel to be sold or leased shall remain subject to that contract.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 967, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2000.)

51231.
  

(a) For the purposes of this chapter, the board or council, by resolution, shall adopt rules governing the administration of agricultural preserves, including procedures for initiating, filing, and processing requests to establish agricultural preserves. Rules related to compatible uses shall be consistent with the provisions of Section 51238.1. Those rules shall be applied uniformly throughout the preserve. The board or council may require the payment of a reasonable application fee. The same procedure that is required to establish an agricultural preserve shall be used to disestablish or to enlarge or diminish the size of an agricultural preserve. In adopting rules related to compatible uses, the board or council may enumerate those uses, including agricultural laborer housing, that are to be considered to be compatible uses on contracted lands separately from those uses that are to be considered to be compatible uses on lands not under contract within the agricultural preserve.

(b) The rules adopted pursuant to this section may provide that commercial cultivation of cannabis in accordance with Division 10 (commencing with Section 26000) of the Business and Professions Code may constitute a compatible use on contracted or noncontracted lands.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 273, Sec. 2. (SB 527) Effective January 1, 2020.)

51232.
  

In the event any proposal to disestablish or to alter the boundary of an agricultural preserve will remove land under contract from such a preserve, notice of the proposed alteration or disestablishment and the date of the hearing shall be furnished by the board or council to the owner of the land by certified mail directed to him at his latest address known to the board or council. Such notice shall also be published pursuant to Section 6061 and shall be furnished by first-class mail to each owner of land under contract, any portion of which is situated within one mile of the exterior boundary of the land to be removed from the preserve.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1120.)

51233.
  

When a county proposes to establish, disestablish, or alter the boundary of an agricultural preserve it shall give written notice at least two weeks before the hearing to the local agency formation commission and to every city within the county within one mile of the exterior boundaries of the preserve.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1120.)

51234.
  

Any proposal to establish an agricultural preserve shall be submitted to the planning department of the county or city having jurisdiction over the land. If the county or city has no planning department, a proposal to establish an agricultural preserve shall be submitted to the planning commission. Within 30 days after receiving such a proposal, the planning department or planning commission shall submit a report thereon to the board or council. However, the board or council may extend the time allowed for an additional period not to exceed 30 days.

The report shall include a statement that the preserve is consistent with the general plan, and the board or council shall make a finding to that effect. Final action upon the establishment of an agricultural preserve may not be taken by the board or council until the report required by this section is received from the planning department or planning commission, or until the required 30 days have elapsed and any extension thereof granted by the board or council has elapsed.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 1018, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2000.)

51235.
  

An agricultural preserve shall continue in full effect following annexation, detachment, incorporation or disincorporation of land within the preserve.

Any city or county acquiring jurisdiction over land in a preserve by annexation, detachment, incorporation or disincorporation shall have all the rights and responsibilities specified in this act for cities or counties including the right to enlarge, diminish or disestablish an agricultural preserve within its jurisdiction.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 523, Sec. 1. Effective July 17, 1984.)

51236.
  

The effect of removal of land under contract from an agricultural preserve shall be the equivalent of notice of nonrenewal by the city or county removing the land from the agricultural preserve and such city or county shall, at least 60 days prior to the next renewal date following the removal, serve a notice of nonrenewal as provided in Section 51245. Such notice of nonrenewal shall be recorded as provided in Section 51248.

(Added by Stats. 1969, Ch. 1372.)

51237.
  

Whenever an agricultural preserve is established, and so long as it shall be in effect, a map of such agricultural preserve and the resolution under which the preserve was established shall be filed and kept current by the city or county with the county recorder.

(Amended by Stats. 1971, Ch. 925.)

51237.5.
  

On or before the first day of September of each year, each city or county in which any agricultural preserve is located shall file with the Director of Conservation a map of each city or county and designate thereon all agricultural preserves in existence at the end of the preceding fiscal year.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 851, Sec. 1.)

51238.
  

(a) (1) Notwithstanding any determination of compatible uses by the county or city pursuant to this article, unless the board or council after notice and hearing makes a finding to the contrary, the erection, construction, alteration, or maintenance of gas, electric, water, communication, or agricultural laborer housing facilities are hereby determined to be compatible uses within any agricultural preserve.

(2) No land occupied by gas, electric, water, communication, or agricultural laborer housing facilities shall be excluded from an agricultural preserve by reason of that use.

(b) The board of supervisors may impose conditions on lands or land uses to be placed within preserves to permit and encourage compatible uses in conformity with Section 51238.1, particularly public outdoor recreational uses.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 967, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2000.)

51238.1.
  

(a) Uses approved on contracted lands shall be consistent with all of the following principles of compatibility:

(1) The use will not significantly compromise the long-term productive agricultural capability of the subject contracted parcel or parcels or on other contracted lands in agricultural preserves.

(2) The use will not significantly displace or impair current or reasonably foreseeable agricultural operations on the subject contracted parcel or parcels or on other contracted lands in agricultural preserves. Uses that significantly displace agricultural operations on the subject contracted parcel or parcels may be deemed compatible if they relate directly to the production of commercial agricultural products on the subject contracted parcel or parcels or neighboring lands, including activities such as harvesting, processing, or shipping.

(3) The use will not result in the significant removal of adjacent contracted land from agricultural or open-space use.

In evaluating compatibility a board or council shall consider the impacts on noncontracted lands in the agricultural preserve or preserves.

(b) A board or council may include in its compatible use rules or ordinance conditional uses which, without conditions or mitigations, would not be in compliance with this section. These conditional uses shall conform to the principles of compatibility set forth in subdivision (a) or, for nonprime lands only, satisfy the requirements of subdivision (c).

(c) In applying the criteria pursuant to subdivision (a), the board or council may approve a use on nonprime land which, because of onsite or offsite impacts, would not be in compliance with paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a), provided the use is approved pursuant to a conditional use permit that shall set forth findings, based on substantial evidence in the record, demonstrating the following:

(1) Conditions have been required for, or incorporated into, the use that mitigate or avoid those onsite and offsite impacts so as to make the use consistent with the principles set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) to the greatest extent possible while maintaining the purpose of the use.

(2) The productive capability of the subject land has been considered as well as the extent to which the use may displace or impair agricultural operations.

(3) The use is consistent with the purposes of this chapter to preserve agricultural and open-space land or supports the continuation of agricultural uses, as defined in Section 51205, or the use or conservation of natural resources, on the subject parcel or on other parcels in the agricultural preserve. The use of mineral resources shall comply with Section 51238.2.

(4) The use does not include a residential subdivision.

For the purposes of this section, a board or council may define nonprime land as land not defined as “prime agricultural land” pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 51201 or as land not classified as “agricultural land” pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 21060.1 of the Public Resources Code.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to overrule, rescind, or modify the requirements contained in Sections 51230 and 51238 related to noncontracted lands within agricultural preserves.

(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1251, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 1995.)

51238.2.
  

Mineral extraction that is unable to meet the principles of Section 51238.1 may nevertheless be approved as compatible use if the board or council is able to document that (a) the underlying contractual commitment to preserve prime agricultural land, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 51201, or (b) the underlying contractual commitment to preserve land that is not prime agricultural land for open-space use, as defined in subdivision (o) of Section 51201, will not be significantly impaired.

Conditions imposed on mineral extraction as a compatible use of contracted land shall include compliance with the reclamation standards adopted by the Mining and Geology Board pursuant to Section 2773 of the Public Resources Code, including the applicable performance standards for prime agricultural land and other agricultural land, and no exception to these standards may be permitted.

For purposes of this section, “contracted land” means all land under a single contract for which an applicant seeks a compatible use permit.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 118, Sec. 17. Effective January 1, 2005.)

51238.3.
  

(a) The requirements of Sections 51238.1 and 51238.2 shall not apply to compatible uses for which an application was submitted to the city or county prior to June 7, 1994, provided that the use constituted a “compatible use” as that term was defined by this chapter either at the time the application was submitted, or at the time the Williamson Act contract was signed with respect to the subject contract lands, whichever is later.

(b) Neither shall the requirements of Sections 51238.1 and 51238.2 apply to land uses of contracted lands in place prior to June 7, 1994, that constituted a “compatible use” as the term “compatible use” was defined by this chapter either at the time the use was initiated, or at the time the Williamson Act contract was signed with respect to the subject contract lands, whichever is later.

(c) (1) Neither shall the requirements of Sections 51238.1 and 51238.2 apply to uses that are expressly specified within the contract itself prior to June 7, 1994, and that constituted a “compatible use” as the term “compatible use” was defined by this chapter at the time that Williamson Act contract was signed with respect to the subject contract lands, or at the time the contract was amended to include the uses, whichever is later. For purposes of this subdivision, the requirements of Sections 51238.1 and 51238.2, effective January 1, 1995, shall apply to contracts for which contract nonrenewal was initiated and was withdrawn after January 1, 1995.

(2) For purposes of this chapter, a compatible use is considered to be expressly specified within the contract only if it is specifically enumerated within the four corners of the Williamson Act contract either without the benefit of referenced documents, or with respect to Williamson Act contracts signed on or before June 7, 1997, with the benefit of referenced documents as those documents existed at the time the Williamson Act contract was initially signed. This subdivision shall be narrowly construed to be consistent with the purposes of this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 889, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2001.)

51238.5.
  

(a) If an owner of land agrees to permit the use of his or her land for free public recreation, the board or council may agree to indemnify the owner against all claims arising from that public use. The owner’s agreement that the land be used for free, public recreation shall not be construed as an implied dedication to that use.

(b) If an owner of land agrees to permit the use of his or her land for agricultural laborer housing facilities authorized pursuant to Section 51238, the city, county, housing authority, state agency, or nonprofit organization may indemnify the owner against all claims arising from that use.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 967, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2000.)

51239.
  

The board or council may appoint an advisory board, the members of which shall serve at the pleasure of the board or council and may be paid their expenses. They shall advise the board or council on the administration of the agricultural preserves in the county or city and on any matters relating to contracts entered into pursuant to this chapter.

(Added by Stats. 1969, Ch. 1372.)

GOVGovernment Code - GOV2.5