Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 10.2. AGRICULTURAL LAND STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM OF 1995 [10200 - 10277]

  ( Division 10.2 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 931, Sec. 1. )

CHAPTER 3. Eligibility and Selection Criteria [10250 - 10255]
  ( Chapter 3 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 931, Sec. 1. )

10250.
  

In reviewing applications pursuant to this division, the department shall determine whether the proposed project meets the applicable requirements set forth in this division and conforms with any rules or regulations adopted by the department pursuant to this division.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 17. Effective January 1, 2003.)

10251.
  

Applicants for an agricultural conservation easement or fee acquisition grant shall meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

(a) The parcel proposed for conservation is expected to continue to be used for, and is large enough to sustain, commercial agricultural production. The land is also in an area that possesses the necessary market, infrastructure, and agricultural support services, and the surrounding parcel sizes and land uses will support long-term commercial agricultural production.

(b) The applicable city or county has a general plan that demonstrates a long-term commitment to agricultural land conservation. This commitment shall be reflected in the goals, objectives, policies, and implementation measures of the plan, as they relate to the area of the county or city where the easement acquisition is proposed.

(c) Without conservation, the land proposed for protection is likely to be converted to nonagricultural use in the foreseeable future.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 18. Effective January 1, 2003.)

10252.
  

The director shall evaluate a proposal for a fee title or agricultural conservation easement acquisition grant based upon the overall value of the project, taking into consideration the goals and objectives for this program, and the extent to which the proposed project satisfies the following selection criteria:

(a) The quality of the agricultural land, based on land capability, farmland mapping and monitoring program definitions, productivity indices, and other soil, climate, and vegetative factors.

(b) The proposal meets multiple natural resource conservation objectives, including, but not limited to, wetland protection, wildlife habitat conservation, and scenic open-space preservation.

(c) The city or county demonstrates a long-term commitment to agricultural land conservation as demonstrated by the following:

(1) The general plan and related land use policies of the city or county.

(2) Policies of the local agency formation commission.

(3) California Environmental Quality Act policies and procedures.

(4) The existence of active local agricultural land conservancies or trusts.

(5) The use of an effective right-to-farm ordinance.

(6) Applied strategies for the economic support and enhancement of agricultural enterprise, including water policies, public education, marketing support, and consumer and recreational incentives.

(7) Other relevant policies and programs.

(d) If the land is in a county that participates in the Williamson Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 51200) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code), the land proposed for protection is within a county or city designated agricultural preserve.

(e) The land proposed for conservation is within two miles outside of the exterior boundary of the sphere of influence of a city as established by the local agency formation commission.

(f) The applicant demonstrates fiscal and technical capability to effectively carry out the proposal. Technical capability may be demonstrated by agricultural land conservation expertise on the governing board or staff of the applicant, or through partnership with an organization that has that expertise.

(g) The proposal demonstrates a coordinated approach among affected landowners, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. If other entities are affected, there is written support from those entities for the proposal and a willingness to cooperate. The support of neighboring landowners who are not involved in the proposal shall be considered.

(h) The conservation of the land supports long-term private stewardship and continued agricultural production in the region.

(i) The proposal demonstrates an innovative approach to agricultural land conservation with a potential for wide application in the state.

(j) The amount of matching funds and in-kind services contributed by local governments and other sources toward the acquisition of the fee title or agricultural conservation easement, or both.

(k) The price of the proposed acquisition is cost-effective in comparison to the fair market value.

(l) Other relevant considerations established by the director.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 19. Effective January 1, 2003.)

10252.5.
  

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this division and subject to subdivision (b), the director may make a grant, and disburse moneys for that grant from a source other than the fund, to an applicant for the acquisition of an agricultural conservation easement, if the director determines that the grant meets the purposes of this division and upon appropriation by the Legislature with regard to state funds from a source other than the fund.

(b) An agricultural conservation easement that is funded by a grant issued pursuant to subdivision (a) shall meet all of the following requirements:

(1) The primary purpose for which the easement is being sought is consistent with continuing agricultural use of the easement property.

(2) The easement does not, and will not, substantially prevent agricultural uses on the easement property.

(3) Any restriction on the current or reasonably foreseeable agricultural use of the easement property would only be imposed to restrict those areas of the easement property that are not in cultivation.

(4) If the easement property has characteristics or qualities that meet the original purpose of the funding source as cultivated land, the easement property may continue to be commercially cultivated with the minimum restrictions necessary to meet the original funding source requirements.

(5) The nonagricultural qualities that will be protected by the easement are inherent to the easement property.

(6) The easement will require that a subsequent easement or deed restriction placed on the easement property will be subordinate to the agricultural conservation easement and require approval of the director.

(c) (1) In enacting this provision, it is the intent of the Legislature that moneys other than those appropriated to the fund be used to provide grants to implement this section.

(2) The Farm, Ranch, and Watershed Account is hereby established within the Soil and Conservation Fund. Moneys in that account shall be used to provide grants to implement this section.

(Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 323, Sec. 1. (SB 1142) Effective January 1, 2011.)

10253.
  

Nothing in this chapter shall grant any new authority to the department to affect local policy or land use decisionmaking.

(Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 931, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1996.)

10254.
  

Before an application for an agricultural conservation easement or fee title acquisition grant is approved by the department pursuant to the program, the entity that is applying for the grant shall provide public notice to parties reasonably likely to be interested in the property, including the county and city in which the property is located, conservation, agricultural, and development organizations, adjacent property owners, and the general public. Written notice shall be provided as follows:

(a) Notice shall be provided to adjacent landowners as indicated in the county tax rolls not less than 30 days prior to the expected date of the local government’s consideration of the resolution required pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 10234.

(b) The notice to the county and city shall be provided not less than 30 days before the entity applies for the grant to acquire an agricultural conservation easement.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 20. Effective January 1, 2003.)

10255.
  

Prior to the disbursement of grant funds for easements or fee title acquisitions under this division, all of the following conditions shall be met:

(a) The proposed agricultural conservation project shall be deemed by the department to be compatible with the applicable city or county general plan.

(b) The governing body of the applicable city or county approves the easement proposal by resolution.

(c) For land within a city’s sphere of influence, the proposed agricultural conservation project shall be deemed by the department to be compatible with both the applicable county and city general plans. In addition, both the applicable county and city shall have adopted resolutions approving the easement proposal.

(Added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 22. Effective January 1, 2003.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC