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 6. Eminent Domain or Other Acquisition [51290 - 51295]
  ( Article 6 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1443. )

51290.
  

(a) It is the policy of the state to avoid, whenever practicable, the location of any federal, state, or local public improvements and any improvements of public utilities, and the acquisition of land therefor, in agricultural preserves.

(b) It is further the policy of the state that whenever it is necessary to locate such an improvement within an agricultural preserve, the improvement shall, whenever practicable, be located upon land other than land under a contract pursuant to this chapter.

(c) It is further the policy of the state that any agency or entity proposing to locate such an improvement shall, in considering the relative costs of parcels of land and the development of improvements, give consideration to the value to the public, as indicated in Article 2 (commencing with Section 51220), of land, and particularly prime agricultural land, within an agricultural preserve.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 690, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 1999.)

51290.5.
  

As used in this chapter, “public improvement” means facilities or interests in real property, including easements, rights-of-way, and interests in fee title, owned by a public agency or person, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 51291.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 690, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 1999.)

51291.
  

(a) As used in this section and Sections 51292 and 51295, (1) “public agency” means any department or agency of the United States or the state, and any county, city, school district, or other local public district, agency, or entity, and (2) “person” means any person authorized to acquire property by eminent domain.

(b) Except as provided in Section 51291.5, whenever it appears that land within an agricultural preserve may be required by a public agency or person for a public use, the public agency or person shall advise the Director of Conservation and the local governing body responsible for the administration of the preserve of its intention to consider the location of a public improvement within the preserve. In accordance with Section 51290, the notice shall include an explanation of the preliminary consideration of Section 51292, and give a general description, in text or by diagram, of the agricultural preserve land proposed for acquisition, and a copy of any applicable contract created under this chapter. The Director of Conservation shall forward to the Secretary of Food and Agriculture, a copy of any material received from the public agency or person relating to the proposed acquisition.

Within 30 days thereafter, the Director of Conservation and the local governing body shall forward to the appropriate public agency or person concerned their comments with respect to the effect of the location of the public improvement on the land within the agricultural preserve and those comments shall be considered by the public agency or person. In preparing those comments, the Director of Conservation shall consider issues related to agricultural land use, including, but not limited to, matters related to the effects of the proposal on the conversion of adjacent or nearby agricultural land to nonagricultural uses, and shall consult with, and incorporate the comments of, the Secretary of Food and Agriculture on any other matters related to agricultural operations. The failure by any person or public agency, other than a state agency, to comply with the requirements of this section shall be admissible in evidence in any litigation for the acquisition of that land or involving the allocation of funds or the construction of the public improvement. This subdivision does not apply to the erection, construction, alteration, or maintenance of gas, electric, piped subterranean water or wastewater, or communication utility facilities within an agricultural preserve if that preserve was established after the submission of the location of those facilities to the city or county for review or approval.

(c) When land in an agricultural preserve is acquired by a public entity, the public entity shall notify the Director of Conservation within 10 working days. The notice shall include a general explanation of the decision and the findings made pursuant to Section 51292. If different from that previously provided pursuant to subdivision (b), the notice shall also include a general description, in text or by diagram, of the agricultural preserve land acquired and a copy of any applicable contract created under this chapter.

(d) If, after giving the notice required under subdivisions (b) and (c) and before the project is completed within an agricultural preserve, the public agency or person proposes any significant change in the public improvement, it shall give notice of the changes to the Director of Conservation and the local governing body responsible for the administration of the preserve. Within 30 days thereafter, the Director of Conservation and the local governing body may forward to the public agency or person their comments with respect to the effect of the change to the public improvement on the land within the preserve and the compliance of the changed public improvements with this article. Those comments shall be considered by the public agency or person, if available within the time limits set by this subdivision.

(e) Any action or proceeding regarding notices or findings required by this article filed by the Director of Conservation or the local governing body administering the agricultural preserve shall be governed by Section 51294.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 1018, Sec. 10. Effective January 1, 2000.)

51291.5.
  

The notice requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 51291 shall not apply to the acquisition of land for the erection, construction, or alteration of gas, electric, piped subterranean water or wastewater, or communication facilities.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 1018, Sec. 11. Effective January 1, 2000.)

51292.
  

No public agency or person shall locate a public improvement within an agricultural preserve unless the following findings are made:

(a) The location is not based primarily on a consideration of the lower cost of acquiring land in an agricultural preserve.

(b) If the land is agricultural land covered under a contract pursuant to this chapter for any public improvement, that there is no other land within or outside the preserve on which it is reasonably feasible to locate the public improvement.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 1018, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 2000.)

51293.
  

Section 51292 shall not apply to:

(a) The location or construction of improvements where the board or council administering the agricultural preserve approves or agrees to the location thereof, except when the acquiring agency and administering agency are the same entity.

(b) The acquisition of easements within a preserve by the board or council administering the preserve.

(c) The location or construction of any public utility improvement which has been approved by the Public Utilities Commission.

(d) The acquisition of either (1) temporary construction easements for public utility improvements, or (2) an interest in real property for underground public utility improvements. This subdivision shall apply only where the surface of the land subject to the acquisition is returned to the condition and use that immediately predated the construction of the public improvement, and when the construction of the public utility improvement will not significantly impair agricultural use of the affected contracted parcel or parcels.

(e) The location or construction of the following types of improvements, which are hereby determined to be compatible with or to enhance land within an agricultural preserve:

(1) Flood control works, including channel rectification and alteration.

(2) Public works required for fish and wildlife enhancement and preservation.

(3) Improvements for the primary benefit of the lands within the preserve.

(f) Improvements for which the site or route has been specified by the Legislature in a manner that makes it impossible to avoid the acquisition of land under contract.

(g) All state highways on routes as described in Sections 301 to 622, inclusive, of the Streets and Highways Code, as those sections read on October 1, 1965.

(h) All facilities which are part of the State Water Facilities as described in subdivision (d) of Section 12934 of the Water Code, except facilities under paragraph (6) of subdivision (d) of that section.

(i) Land upon which condemnation proceedings have been commenced prior to October 1, 1965.

(j) The acquisition of a fee interest or conservation easement for a term of at least 10 years, in order to restrict the land to agricultural or open space uses as defined by subdivisions (b) and (o) of Section 51201.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1158, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1995.)

51293.1.
  

Any public agency or person requiring land in an agricultural preserve for a use which has been determined by a city or county to be a “compatible use” pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 51201 in that agricultural preserve shall not be excused from the provisions of subdivision (b) of Section 51291 if the agricultural preserve was established before the location of the improvement of a public utility was submitted to the city, county, or Public Utilities Commission for agreement or approval and that compatible use shall not come within the provisions of Section 51293 unless the location of the improvement is approved or agreed to pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 51293 or the compatible use is listed in Section 51293.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 101, Sec. 71.)

51294.
  

Section 51292 shall be enforceable only by mandamus proceedings by the local governing body administering the agricultural preserve or the Director of Conservation. However, as applied to condemnors whose determination of necessity is not conclusive by statute, evidence as to the compliance of the condemnor with Section 51292 shall be admissible on motion of any of the parties in any action otherwise authorized to be brought by the landowner or in any action against the landowner.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 851, Sec. 5.)

51294.1.
  

After 30 days have elapsed following its action, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 51291, advising the Director of Conservation and the local governing body of a county or city administering an agricultural preserve of its intention to consider the location of a public improvement within such agricultural preserve, a public agency proposing to acquire land within an agricultural preserve for water transmission facilities which will extend into more than one county, may file the proposed route of the facilities with each county or city administering an agricultural preserve into which the facilities will extend and request each county or city to approve or agree to the location of the facilities or the acquisition of the land therefor. Upon approval or agreement, the provisions of Section 51292 shall not apply to the location of the proposed water transmission facility or the acquisition of land therefor in any county or city which has approved or agreed to the location or acquisition.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 851, Sec. 6.)

51294.2.
  

If any local governing body administering an agricultural preserve within 90 days after receiving a request pursuant to Section 51294.1 has not approved or agreed to the location of water transmission facilities as provided in Section 51294.1 or in subdivision (a) of Section 51293, the public agency making such request may file an action against such local governing body in the superior court of one of the counties within which any such body has failed to approve the location of facilities or the acquisition of land therefor, to determine whether the public agency proposing the location or acquisition has complied with the requirements of Section 51292. If the court should so determine, the provisions of Section 51292 shall not apply to the location of water transmission facilities, nor the acquisition of land therefor, in any of the counties into which they shall extend, and no writ of mandamus shall be issued in relation thereto pursuant to Section 51294. For the purposes of this section, the county selected for commencing such action is the proper county for the trial of such proceedings. In determining whether the public agency has complied with the requirements of Section 51292, the court shall consider the alignment, functioning and operation of the entire transmission facility.

Courts shall give any action brought under the provisions of this section preference over all other civil actions therein, to the end that such actions shall be quickly heard and determined.

(Added by Stats. 1970, Ch. 415.)

51295.
  

When any action in eminent domain for the condemnation of the fee title of an entire parcel of land subject to a contract is filed, or when that land is acquired in lieu of eminent domain for a public improvement by a public agency or person, or whenever there is any such action or acquisition by the federal government or any person, instrumentality, or agency acting under the authority or power of the federal government, the contract shall be deemed null and void as to the land actually being condemned, or so acquired as of the date the action is filed, and for the purposes of establishing the value of the land, the contract shall be deemed never to have existed.

Upon the termination of the proceeding, the contract shall be null and void for all land actually taken or acquired.

When an action to condemn or acquire less than all of a parcel of land subject to a contract is commenced, the contract shall be deemed null and void as to the land actually condemned or acquired and shall be disregarded in the valuation process only as to the land actually being taken, unless the remaining land subject to contract will be adversely affected by the condemnation, in which case the value of that damage shall be computed without regard to the contract.

When an action to condemn or acquire an interest that is less than the fee title of an entire parcel or any portion thereof of land subject to a contract is commenced, the contract shall be deemed null and void as to that interest and, for the purpose of establishing the value of only that interest, shall be deemed never to have existed, unless the remaining interests in any of the land subject to the contract will be adversely affected, in which case the value of that damage shall be computed without regard to the contract.

The land actually taken shall be removed from the contract. Under no circumstances shall land be removed that is not actually taken for a public improvement, except that when only a portion of the land or less than a fee interest in the land is taken or acquired, the contract may be canceled with respect to the remaining portion or interest upon petition of either party and pursuant to the provisions of Article 5 (commencing with Section 51280).

For the purposes of this section, a finding by the board or council that no authorized use may be made of the land if the contract is continued on the remaining portion or interest in the land, may satisfy the requirements of subdivision (a) of Section 51282.

If, after acquisition, the acquiring public agency determines that it will not for any reason actually locate on that land or any part thereof, the public improvement for which the land was acquired, before returning the land to private ownership, the public agency shall give written notice to the Director of Conservation and the local governing body responsible for the administration of the preserve, and the land shall be reenrolled in a new contract or encumbered by an enforceable deed restriction with terms at least as restrictive as those provided by this chapter. The duration of the restriction shall be determined by subtracting the length of time the land was held by the acquiring public agency or person from the number of years that remained on the original contract at the time of acquisition.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 690, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 1999.)

GOVGovernment Code - GOV6