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 5. Termination of Agricultural Conservation Easements [10270 - 10277]
  ( Chapter 5 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 931, Sec. 1. )

10270.
  

Twenty-five or more years from the date of sale of the agricultural conservation easement, the landowner may make a request to the department that the easement be reviewed for possible termination. Upon receipt of a request, the department shall immediately notify the affected local government to initiate a local government inquiry pursuant to Section 10271.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 31. Effective January 1, 2003.)

10271.
  

(a) To terminate the agricultural conservation easement, the local government in which the subject land is located shall undertake an inquiry to determine the feasibility of profitable farming on the subject land.

(1) The local government inquiry shall include onsite inspection of the subject land, the holding of a public hearing in the county in which the subject land is located, held after adequate public notice of the hearing has been given and the preparation of a report documenting the findings of the local government.

(2) The inquiry shall be concluded and a report submitted to the department within 150 days of the department notifying the local government of the request pursuant to Section 10270.

(b) The department shall make a decision as to the request within 195 days after notifying the local government of the request or within 45 days after receiving the local government report summarizing the results of its inquiry, whichever occurs later.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 32. Effective January 1, 2003.)

10272.
  

An agricultural conservation easement may be terminated only with the approval of the city council of the city in which the subject land is located, or of the board of supervisors if the land is located in an unincorporated area.

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

10273.
  

(a) For the department to approve the termination of the agricultural conservation easement, all of the following findings shall be made:

(1) The termination is consistent with the purposes of this division.

(2) The termination is in the public interest.

(3) The termination is not likely to result in the removal of adjacent lands from commercial agricultural production.

(4) The termination is for an alternate use which is consistent with the applicable provisions of the city or county general plan.

(5) The termination will not result in discontiguous patterns of urban development.

(6) The conservation purposes, as defined in the agricultural conservation easement, can no longer be achieved.

(7) There is no land that is available and suitable for the use to which it is proposed that the restricted land be put to, or that development of the restricted land would provide more contiguous patterns of urban development than development of proximate unrestricted land.

(b) As used in subdivision (a), the following terms have the following meaning:

(1) “Proximate unrestricted land” means land that is not restricted by an easement and which is sufficiently close to land that is restricted so that it can serve as a practical alternative for the use that is proposed for the restricted land.

(2) “Suitable for the use” means that the salient features of the proposed use can be served by land not restricted by an easement. The nonrestricted land may be a single parcel or may be a combination of discontiguous parcels.

(c) The department shall request from the easement holder, and shall consider the easement holder’s assessment of, information regarding the continuing value and viability of the subject property for the conservation purposes for which the easement was originally created. The department may consider the easement holder’s investment in, or experience with, the subject property in evaluating the proposed termination.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 33. Effective January 1, 2003.)

10274.
  

The uneconomic character of existing agricultural use shall not by itself be sufficient reason for termination of the agricultural conservation easement, unless the director determines there is no other reasonable or comparable agricultural use for the land, and the conservation purposes, as defined in the agricultural conservation easement, can no longer be achieved. If the director determines that the existing use is uneconomic, that there is no other reasonable or comparable agricultural use of the land, and the conservation purposes as defined in the agricultural conservation easement can no longer be achieved, termination of the easement may be approved by the secretary without making a finding pursuant to paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 10273.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 34. Effective January 1, 2003.)

10275.
  

(a) The landowner’s request for termination 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.

(b) The landowner requesting a termination shall be required to pay the total amount of the costs incurred by the local government responsible for the administration of proceedings related to the landowner’s request for termination, if requested by the local government.

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

10276.
  

(a) If the termination of the agricultural conservation easement is approved pursuant to this division or pursuant to a judicial proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction, the landowner shall repurchase the easement by paying to the fund and, if so provided in the easement, to any other contributing parties, the difference, at that time, between the fair market value and the restricted value. That difference shall be determined by an appraisal approved by the state and conducted at the landowner’s expense.

(b) If the landowner fails to complete the termination process by repurchasing the agricultural conservation easement within one year from the date of the department’s approval of the termination of the easement, the termination approval shall lapse and the landowner shall wait at least one year before reapplying to terminate the easement.

(c) Money received from the repurchase of agricultural conservation easements shall be deposited in the fund and shall be available, upon appropriation, for the purposes set forth in this division, except as provided in subdivision (d).

(d) Where an easement was originally purchased with moneys from sources other than the program, the easement may require that moneys received from the repurchase of the easement be divided proportionally between the fund and any other funding source, including nonprofit organizations, in amounts that are proportional to the original contribution made by each party that contributed to that purchase. If provided in an easement, a nonprofit organization that contributed indirect costs and services to the purchase of an easement may recoup the actual amount of its contribution, plus an amount not exceeding 3 percent of the total amount of the contribution for administrative costs of ongoing easement monitoring and enforcement. Those contributions shall be deducted from the total proceeds prior to the proportional division defined herein.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 616, Sec. 35. Effective January 1, 2003.)

10277.
  

If the termination of the agricultural conservation easement is not approved, the landowner may reapply for termination not sooner than one year after the submittal of the denied application.

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

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC