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 5. Cancellation [51280 - 51287]
  ( Article 5 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1443. )

51280.
  

It is hereby declared that the purpose of this article is to provide relief from the provisions of contracts entered into pursuant to this chapter under the circumstances and conditions provided herein.

(Amended by Stats. 1981, Ch. 1095, Sec. 1.)

51280.1.
  

As used in this chapter, the finding of a board or council that “cancellation and alternative use will not result in discontiguous patterns of urban development” authorizes, but does not require, the board or council to cancel a contract if it finds that the alternative use will be rural in character and that the alternative use will result within the foreseeable future in a contiguous pattern of development within the relevant subregion. The board or council is not required to find that the alternative use will be immediately contiguous to like development. In rendering its finding, the board or council acts in its own discretion to evaluate the proposed alternative use according to existing and projected conditions within its local jurisdiction.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 644, Sec. 7. (SB 574) Effective January 1, 2022.)

51281.
  

A contract may not be canceled except pursuant to a request by the landowner, and as provided in this article.

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

51281.1.
  

The board or council may require the payment of a reasonable application fee to be made at the time a petition for cancellation is filed.

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

51282.
  

(a) The landowner may petition the board or council for cancellation of any contract as to all or any part of the subject land. The board or council may grant tentative approval for cancellation of a contract only if it makes one of the following findings:

(1) That the cancellation is consistent with the purposes of this chapter.

(2) That cancellation is in the public interest.

(b) For purposes of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) cancellation of a contract shall be consistent with the purposes of this chapter only if the board or council makes all of the following findings:

(1) That the cancellation is for land on which a notice of nonrenewal has been served pursuant to Section 51245.

(2) That cancellation is not likely to result in the removal of adjacent lands from agricultural use.

(3) That cancellation is for an alternative use which is consistent with the applicable provisions of the city or county general plan.

(4) That cancellation will not result in discontiguous patterns of urban development.

(5) That there is no proximate noncontracted land which is both available and suitable for the use to which it is proposed the contracted land be put, or, that development of the contracted land would provide more contiguous patterns of urban development than development of proximate noncontracted land.

As used in this subdivision “proximate, noncontracted land” means land not restricted by contract pursuant to this chapter, which is sufficiently close to land which is so restricted that it can serve as a practical alternative for the use which is proposed for the restricted land.

As used in this subdivision “suitable” for the proposed use means that the salient features of the proposed use can be served by land not restricted by contract pursuant to this chapter. Such nonrestricted land may be a single parcel or may be a combination of contiguous or discontiguous parcels.

(c) For purposes of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) cancellation of a contract shall be in the public interest only if the council or board makes the following findings: (1) that other public concerns substantially outweigh the objectives of this chapter; and (2) that there is no proximate noncontracted land which is both available and suitable for the use to which it is proposed the contracted land be put, or that development of the contracted land would provide more contiguous patterns of urban development than development of proximate noncontracted land.

As used in this subdivision “proximate, noncontracted land” means land not restricted by contract pursuant to this chapter, which is sufficiently close to land which is so restricted that it can serve as a practical alternative for the use which is proposed for the restricted land.

As used in this subdivision “suitable” for the proposed use means that the salient features of the proposed use can be served by land not restricted by contract pursuant to this chapter. Such nonrestricted land may be a single parcel or may be a combination of contiguous or discontiguous parcels.

(d) For purposes of subdivision (a), the uneconomic character of an existing agricultural use shall not by itself be sufficient reason for cancellation of the contract. The uneconomic character of the existing use may be considered only if there is no other reasonable or comparable agricultural use to which the land may be put.

(e) The landowner’s petition shall be accompanied by a proposal for a specified alternative use of the land. The proposal for the alternative use shall list those governmental agencies known by the landowner to have permit authority related to the proposed alternative use, and the provisions and requirements of Section 51283.4 shall be fully applicable thereto. The level of specificity required in a proposal for a specified alternate use shall be determined by the board or council as that necessary to permit them to make the findings required.

(f) In approving a cancellation pursuant to this section, the board or council shall not be required to make any findings other than or in addition to those expressly set forth in this section, and, where applicable, in Section 21081 of the Public Resources Code.

(g) A board or council shall not accept or approve a petition for cancellation if the land for which the cancellation is sought is currently subject to the process specified in Section 51250, unless the cancellation is a part of the process specified in Section 51250.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 503, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2009.)

51282.3.
  

(a) The landowner may petition the board or council, pursuant to Section 51282, for cancellation of any contract or of any portion of a contract if the board or council has determined that agricultural laborer housing is not a compatible use on the contracted lands. The petition, and any subsequent cancellation based thereon, shall (1) particularly describe the acreage to be subject to cancellation; (2) stipulate that the purpose of the cancellation is to allow the land to be used exclusively for agricultural laborer housing facilities; (3) demonstrate that the contracted lands, or portion thereof, for which cancellation is being sought are reasonably necessary for the development and siting of agricultural laborer housing; and (4) certify that the contracted lands, or portion thereof, for which cancellation is being sought, shall not be converted to any other alternative use within the first 10 years immediately following the cancellation.

The petition shall be deemed to be a petition for cancellation for a specified alternative use of the land. The petition shall be acted upon by the board or council in the manner prescribed in Section 51283.4. However, the provisions of Section 51283 pertaining to the payment of cancellation fees shall not be imposed except as provided in subdivision (b).

(b) If the owner of real property is issued a certificate of cancellation of contract based on subdivision (a), there shall be executed and recorded concurrently with the recordation of the certificate of cancellation of contract, a lien in favor of the county, city or city and county in the amount of the fees which would otherwise have been imposed pursuant to Section 51283. Those amounts shall bear interest at the rate of 10 percent per annum. The lien shall particularly describe the real property subject to the lien, shall be recorded in the county where the real property subject to the lien is located, and shall be indexed by the recorder in the grantor index to the name of the owner of the real property and in the grantee index in the name of the county or city or city and county. From the date of recordation, the lien shall have the force, effect and priority of a judgment lien. The board or council shall execute and record a release of lien if, after a period of 10 years from the date of the recordation of the certificate of cancellation of contract, the real property subject to the lien has not been converted to a use other than agricultural laborer housing. In the event the real property subject to the lien has been converted to a use other than agricultural laborer housing, or the construction of agricultural laborer housing has not commenced within a period of one year from the date of recordation of the certificate of cancellation of contract, then the lien shall only be released upon payment of the fees and interest for which the lien has been imposed. Where construction commences after the one-year period, the amount of the interest shall only be for that period from one year following the date of the recordation of the certificate of cancellation of contract until the actual commencement of construction.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 1018, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 2000.)

51282.5.
  

The owner of any land which has been zoned as a timberland production pursuant to Section 51112 or 51113, and that zoning has been recorded as provided in Section 51117, may petition the board or council for cancellation of any contract as to all or part of the land. Upon petition, the board or council shall approve the cancellation of the contract.

The provisions of Section 51283 shall not apply to any cancellation under this section, and no cancellation fee shall be imposed.

(Amended by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1489, Sec. 30.)

51283.
  

(a) Prior to any action by the board or council giving tentative approval to the cancellation of any contract, the county assessor of the county in which the land is located shall determine the current fair market value of the land as though it were free of the contractual restriction. The assessor shall certify to the board or council the cancellation valuation of the land for the purpose of determining the cancellation fee. At the same time, the assessor shall send a notice to the landowner indicating the current fair market value of the land as though it were free of the contractual restriction and advise the parties, that upon their request, the assessor shall provide all information relevant to the valuation, excluding third-party information. If any information is confidential or otherwise protected from release, the department and the landowner shall hold it as confidential and return or destroy any protected information upon termination of all actions relating to valuation or cancellation of the contract on the property. The notice shall also advise the landowner and the department of the opportunity to request formal review from the assessor.

(b) Prior to giving tentative approval to the cancellation of any contract, the board or council shall determine and certify to the county auditor the amount of the cancellation fee that the landowner shall pay the county treasurer upon cancellation. That fee shall be an amount equal to 121/2 percent of the cancellation valuation of the property.

(c) If it finds that it is in the public interest to do so, the board or council may waive any payment or any portion of a payment by the landowner, or may extend the time for making the payment or a portion of the payment contingent upon the future use made of the land and its economic return to the landowner for a period of time not to exceed the unexpired period of the contract, had it not been canceled, if all of the following occur:

(1) The cancellation is caused by an involuntary transfer or change in the use which may be made of the land and the land is not immediately suitable, nor will be immediately used, for a purpose which produces a greater economic return to the owner.

(2) The board or council has determined that it is in the best interests of the program to conserve agricultural land use that the payment be either deferred or is not required.

(3) The waiver or extension of time is approved by the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency. The secretary shall approve a waiver or extension of time if the secretary finds that the granting of the waiver or extension of time by the board or council is consistent with the policies of this chapter and that the board or council complied with this article. In evaluating a request for a waiver or extension of time, the secretary shall review the findings of the board or council, the evidence in the record of the board or council, and any other evidence the secretary may receive concerning the cancellation, waiver, or extension of time.

(d) The first five million dollars ($5,000,000) of revenue paid to the Controller pursuant to subdivision (e) in the 2004–05 fiscal year, and any other amount as approved in the final Budget Act for each fiscal year thereafter, shall be deposited in the Soil Conservation Fund, which is continued in existence. The money in the fund is available, when appropriated by the Legislature, for the support of all of the following:

(1) The cost of the farmlands mapping and monitoring program of the Department of Conservation pursuant to Section 65570.

(2) The soil conservation program identified in Section 614 of the Public Resources Code.

(3) Program support costs of this chapter as administered by the Department of Conservation.

(4) Program support costs incurred by the Department of Conservation in administering the open-space subvention program (Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 16140) of Part 1 of Division 4 of Title 2).

(5) The costs to the Department of Conservation for administering Section 51250.

(6) When available, after funding the duties of the Department of Conservation pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (5), inclusive, program support costs incurred by the department in carrying out the duties of the department pursuant to Sections 65565 and 66565.1.

(e) When cancellation fees required by this section are collected, they shall be transmitted by the county treasurer to the Controller and deposited in the General Fund, except as provided in subdivision (d) of this section and subdivision (b) of Section 51283.1. The funds collected by the county treasurer with respect to each cancellation of a contract shall be transmitted to the Controller within 30 days of the execution of a certificate of cancellation of contract by the board or council, as specified in subdivision (b) of Section 51283.4.

(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that fees paid to cancel a contract do not constitute taxes but are payments that, when made, provide a private benefit that tends to increase the value of the property.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 644, Sec. 8. (SB 574) Effective January 1, 2022.)

51283.1.
  

(a) The assessor shall determine the current fair market value of the land as if it were free of the contractual restriction pursuant to Section 51283. The Department of Conservation or the landowner, also referred to in this section as “parties,” may provide information to assist the assessor to determine the value. Any information provided to the assessor shall be served on the other party, unless the information was provided at the request of the assessor, and would be confidential under law if required of an assessee.

(b) Within 45 days of receiving the assessor’s notice pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 51283 or Section 51283.4, if the Department of Conservation or the landowner believes that the current fair market valuation certified pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 51283 or Section 51283.4 is not accurate, the department or the landowner may request formal review from the county assessor in the county considering the petition to cancel the contract. The department or the landowner shall submit to the assessor and the other party the reasons for believing the valuation is not accurate and the additional information the requesting party believes may substantiate a recalculation of the property valuation. The assessor may recover the assessor’s reasonable costs of the formal review from the party requesting the review, and may provide an estimate of those costs to the requesting party. The recovery of these costs from the department may be deducted by the city or county from cancellation fees received pursuant to this chapter before transmittal to the Controller for deposit in the Soil Conservation Fund. The assessor may require a deposit from the landowner to cover the contingency that payment of a cancellation fee will not necessarily result from the completion of a formal review. This subdivision shall not be construed as a limitation on the authority provided in Section 51287 for cities or counties to recover their costs in the cancellation process, except that the assessor’s costs of conducting a formal review shall not be borne by the nonrequesting party.

(1) If no request is made within 45 days of receiving notice by certified mail of the valuation, the assessor’s valuation shall be used to calculate the fee.

(2) Upon receiving a request for formal review, the assessor shall formally review the valuation if, based on the determination of the assessor, the information may have a material effect on valuation of the property. The assessor shall notify the parties that the formal review is being undertaken and that information to aid the assessor’s review shall be submitted within 30 days of the date of the notice to the parties. Any information submitted to the assessor shall be served on the other party who shall have 30 days to respond to that information to the assessor. If the response to the assessor contains new information, the party receiving that response shall have 20 days to respond to the assessor as to the new information. All submittals and responses to the assessor shall be served on the other party by personal service or an affidavit of mailing. The assessor shall avoid ex parte contacts during the formal review and shall report any such contacts to the department and the landowner at the same time the review is complete. The assessor shall complete the review no later than 120 days of receiving the request.

(3) At the conclusion of the formal review, the assessor shall either revise the cancellation valuation or determine that the original cancellation valuation is accurate. The assessor shall send the revised valuation or notice of the determination that the valuation is accurate to the department, the landowner, and the board or council considering the petition to cancel the contract. The assessor shall include a brief narrative of what consideration was given to the items of information and responses directly relating to the cancellation value submitted by the parties. The assessor shall give no consideration to a party’s information or response that was not served on the other party. If the assessor denies a formal review, a brief narrative shall be provided to the parties indicating the basis for the denial, if requested.

(c) For purposes of this section, the valuation date of any revised valuation pursuant to formal review or following judicial challenge shall remain the date of the assessor’s initial valuation, or the initial recomputation pursuant to Section 51283.4. For purposes of cancellation fee calculation in a tentative cancellation as provided in Section 51283, or in a recomputation for final cancellation as provided in Section 51283.4, a cancellation value shall be considered current for one year after its determination and certification by the assessor.

(d) This section represents the exclusive administrative procedure for appealing a cancellation valuation calculated pursuant to this section. The Department of Conservation shall represent the interests of the state in the administrative and judicial remedies for challenging the determination of a cancellation valuation or cancellation fee.

(Added by renumbering Section 51203 by Stats. 2021, Ch. 644, Sec. 1. (SB 574) Effective January 1, 2022.)

51283.4.
  

(a) Upon tentative approval of a petition accompanied by a proposal for a specified alternative use of the land, the clerk of the board or council shall record in the office of the county recorder of the county in which is located the land as to which the contract is applicable a certificate of tentative cancellation, which shall set forth the name of the landowner requesting the cancellation, the fact that a certificate of cancellation of contract will be issued and recorded at the time that specified conditions and contingencies are satisfied, a description of the conditions and contingencies which must be satisfied, and a legal description of the property. Conditions to be satisfied shall include payment in full of the amount of the fee computed under the provisions of Section 51283, together with a statement that unless the fee is paid, or a certificate of cancellation of contract is issued within one year from the date of the valuation certified by the assessor the fee shall be recomputed as of the date of notice described in subdivision (b) or the date the landowner requests a recomputation. A landowner may request a recomputation when the landowner believes the landowner will be able to satisfy the conditions and contingencies of the certificate of cancellation within 180 days. The board or council shall request the assessor to recompute the cancellation valuation. The assessor shall recompute the valuation, certify it to the board or council, and provide notice to the Department of Conservation and landowner as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 51283, and the board or council shall certify the fee to the county auditor. Any provisions related to the waiver of the fee or portion thereof shall be treated in the manner provided for in the certificate of tentative cancellation. Contingencies to be satisfied shall include a requirement that the landowner obtain all permits necessary to commence the project. The board or council may, at the request of the landowner, amend a tentatively approved specified alternative use if it finds that the amendment is consistent with the findings made pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 51282.

(b) The landowner shall notify the board or council when the landowner has satisfied the conditions and contingencies enumerated in the certificate of tentative cancellation. Within 30 days of receipt of the notice, and upon a determination that the conditions and contingencies have been satisfied, the board or council shall execute a certificate of cancellation of contract, cause the certificate to be recorded, and send a copy to the Director of Conservation.

(c) If the landowner has been unable to satisfy the conditions and contingencies enumerated in the certificate of tentative cancellation, the landowner shall notify the board or council of the particular conditions or contingencies the landowner is unable to satisfy. Within 30 days of receipt of the notice, and upon a determination that the landowner is unable to satisfy the conditions and contingencies listed, the board or council shall execute a certificate of withdrawal of tentative approval of a cancellation of contract, cause the same to be recorded, and send a copy to the Director of Conservation. However, the landowner shall not be entitled to the refund of any cancellation fee paid.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 644, Sec. 9. (SB 574) Effective January 1, 2022.)

51283.5.
  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that cancellation fees should be calculated in a timely manner and disputes over cancellation fees should be resolved before a city or county approves a tentative cancellation. However, the city or county may approve a tentative cancellation notwithstanding an assessor’s formal review or judicial challenge to the cancellation value or fee.

(b) If the valuation changes after the approval of a tentative cancellation, the certificate of tentative cancellation shall be amended to reflect the correct valuation and cancellation fee.

(c) If the landowner wishes to pay a cancellation fee when a formal review has been requested, the landowner may pay the fee required in the current certificate of cancellation and provide security for 20 percent of the cancellation fee based on the assessor’s valuation. The board or council shall hold the security and release it immediately upon full payment of the cancellation fee determined pursuant to Section 51283.1.

(d) The city or county may approve a final cancellation notwithstanding a pending formal review or judicial challenge to the cancellation valuation or fee. The certificate of final cancellation shall include the following statements:

(1) That formal review or judicial challenge of the cancellation valuation or fee is pending.

(2) That the fee may be adjusted, based upon the outcome of the review or challenge.

(3) The identity of the party who will be responsible for paying any additional fee or will receive any refund.

(4) The form and amount of security provided by the landowner or other responsible party.

(e) Upon resolution, the landowner or the party identified in the certificate shall either pay the balance owed to the county treasurer, or receive from the county treasurer or the controller any amount of overpayment, and shall also be entitled to the immediate release of any security.

(f) (1) If a party does not receive the notice required pursuant to Section 51283, 51283.1, 51283.4, or 51284, a judicial challenge to the cancellation valuation may be filed within three years of the latest of the applicable following events:

(A) The board or council certification of the fee pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 51283, or for fees recomputed pursuant to Section 51283.4, the execution of a certificate of cancellation under that section.

(B) The date of the assessor’s determination pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 51283.1.

(C) The service of notice to the Director of Conservation of the board or council’s recorded certificate of final cancellation.

(2) If a party did receive the required notice pursuant to Section 51283.1, 51283.4, or 51284, a judicial challenge to the cancellation valuation may be filed only after the party has exhausted the administrative remedies through the formal review process specified in Section 51283.1 and only within 180 days of the latest of the applicable following events:

(A) The board or council certification of the fee pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 51283 or for fees recomputed pursuant to Section 51283.4, the execution of a certificate of cancellation under that section.

(B) The date of the assessor’s determination pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 51283.1.

(C) The service of notice to the Director of Conservation or the board or council’s recorded certificate of final cancellation.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 644, Sec. 10. (SB 574) Effective January 1, 2022.)

51284.
  

No contract may be canceled until after the city or county has given notice of, and has held, a public hearing on the matter. Notice of the hearing shall be published pursuant to Section 6061 and shall be mailed to every owner of land under contract, any portion of which is situated within one mile of the exterior boundary of the land upon which the contract is proposed to be canceled. Within 30 days of the tentative cancellation of the contract, the city or county shall publish a notice of its decision, including the date, time, and place of the public hearing, a general explanation of the decision, the findings made pursuant to Section 51282, and a general description, in text or by diagram, of the land under contract, as a display advertisement of at least one-eighth page in at least one newspaper of general circulation within the city or county. In addition, within 30 days of the tentative cancellation of the contract, the city or county shall deliver a copy of the published notice of the decision, as described above, to the Director of Conservation. The publication shall be for informational purposes only, and shall create no right, standing, or duty that would otherwise not exist with regard to the cancellation proceedings.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 644, Sec. 11. (SB 574) Effective January 1, 2022.)

51284.1.
  

When a landowner petitions a board or council for the tentative cancellation of a contract and when the board or council accepts the application as complete pursuant to Section 65943, the board or council shall send that information to the assessor that is necessary to describe the land subject to the proposed cancellation. The information shall include the name and address of the landowner petitioning the cancellation.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 644, Sec. 12. (SB 574) Effective January 1, 2022.)

51285.
  

The owner of any property located in the county or city in which the agricultural preserve is situated may protest such cancellation to the city or county conducting the hearing.

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

51286.
  

(a) Any action or proceeding which, on the grounds of alleged noncompliance with the requirements of this chapter, seeks to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul a decision of a board of supervisors or a city council to cancel a contract shall be brought pursuant to Section 1094.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(b) The action or proceeding shall be commenced within 180 days from the date of the council or board order acting on a petition for cancellation filed under this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 176, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 2002.)

51287.
  

The city or county may impose a fee pursuant to Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 66016) of Division 1 of Title 7 for recovery of costs under this article. The fee shall not exceed an amount necessary to recover the reasonable cost of services provided by the city or county under this article.

(Amended by Stats. 1995, Ch. 686, Sec. 2. Effective October 10, 1995. Operative January 1, 1996, by Sec. 9 of Ch. 686.)

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