Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC


  ( Division 4 repealed and added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )


  ( Part 2 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )

CHAPTER 8. Z'berg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act of 1973 [4511 - 4630.2]

  ( Chapter 8 repealed and added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 880. )

ARTICLE 9. Conversion [4621 - 4628]
  ( Article 9 added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 880. )


(a) A person who owns timberlands that are to be devoted to uses other than the growing of timber shall file an application for conversion with the board. The board shall, by regulation, prescribe the procedures for, and the form and content of, the application. An application for a timberland conversion permit shall be accompanied by an application fee, payable to the department, in an amount determined by the board pursuant to subdivision (b).

(b) The board shall establish, by regulation, a system of graduated timberland conversion permit fees to finance the cost of administering this article.

(c) For purposes of this section, “growing of timber” shall include restoration and conservation forest management activities, which may include the removal of commercial species, if necessary to achieve specific forest health and ecological goals, including the restoration and conservation of oak woodlands, grasslands, wet meadows, and other ecologically important or unique habitats, that are not conducted in conjunction with the cutting or removal of trees or other forest products during the conversion of timberlands for other uses, including, but not limited to, residential or commercial developments, production of other agricultural crops, recreational developments, ski developments, water development projects, and transportation projects.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 583, Sec. 3. (AB 1958) Effective January 1, 2017.)


(a) If the timberlands which are to be devoted to uses other than the growing of timber are zoned as timberland production zones under Section 51112 or 51113 of the Government Code, the application shall specify the proposed alternate use and shall include information the board determines necessary to evaluate the proposed alternate use. The board shall approve the application for conversion only if the board makes written findings that all of the following exist:

(1) The conversion would be in the public interest.

(2) The conversion would not have a substantial and unmitigated adverse effect upon the continued timber-growing use or open-space use of other land zoned as timberland preserve and situated within one mile of the exterior boundary of the land upon which immediate rezoning is proposed.

(3) The soils, slopes, and watershed conditions would be suitable for the uses proposed if the conversion were approved.

(b) The existence of an opportunity for an alternative use of the land shall not alone be sufficient reason for conditionally approving an application for conversion. Conversion shall be considered only if there is no proximate and suitable land which is not zoned as timberland production for the alternate use not permitted within a timberland production zone.

(c) The uneconomic character of the existing use shall not be sufficient reason for the conditional approval of conversion. The uneconomic character of the existing use may be considered only if there is no other reasonable or comparable timber-growing use to which the land may be put.

(d) In the event that the board delegates its responsibilities under this section to the director pursuant to Section 4627, the director shall make the written findings required by subdivision (a). In the event that the director denies a conversion, the applicant may request a hearing before the board within 15 days of the denial. The hearing shall be scheduled within 60 days from the filing of the appeal.

(Amended by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1237, Sec. 3.)


Approval of an application for conversion shall be conditioned upon the granting of the necessary rezoning or use permit if rezoning or a use permit is required. Except as provided in Section 4584, all timber shall be cut pursuant to an approved conversion pursuant to Section 4581, excluding requirements for stocking and methods of silviculture, except that the timber harvesting plan required by that section need not be prepared by a registered professional forester, and no timber operations shall commence until the granting of such rezoning or use permit as may be required and until the timberland conversion permit is recorded in the county recorder’s office in each county wherein the timberland to be converted is located.

(Amended by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1161, Sec. 3.)


The application shall be accompanied by an affidavit by the applicant that the applicant has a present bona fide intent to convert the land to a use other than timber growing. The board may require such additional proof of intent to convert as it deems necessary.

(Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 880.)


The board shall deny a timberland conversion permit for any of the following reasons:

(a) The applicant is not the real person in interest.

(b) Material misrepresentation or false statement in the application.

(c) The applicant does not have a bona fide intention to convert the land.

(d) The failure or refusal of the applicant to comply with the rules and regulations of the board and the provisions of this chapter.

(e) The failure of the proposed alternate use in the application to meet the findings required in subdivision (a) of Section 4621.2 and other provisions of that section.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 176.)


A person whose application for a timberland conversion permit has been denied shall be entitled to a hearing before the board pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 880.)


If the board finds the applicant does have a bona fide intention to convert the land, it shall approve the application, authorizing the applicant to cut and remove any and all trees, provided that the applicant otherwise complies with this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 133, Sec. 88. (SB 272) Effective July 23, 2021.)


If at any time the board finds that the applicant has failed to conform to the intent to convert, as set forth in the application and proof, the board may revoke the permit and require full compliance with this chapter. Any permit revocation shall be recorded in the same manner as the original permit.

(Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 880.)


The board may, by regulation, delegate its authority and responsibilities under this article to the director if it determines that the director can more efficiently exercise such authority and carry out such responsibilities.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1300.)


(a) Notwithstanding any provision of this article or of Section 4581, no public agency shall be required to submit a timber harvesting plan or file an application for conversion with the board where the purpose of its timber operations is to construct or maintain a right-of-way on its own or on any other public property.

(b) Removal of trees for subdivision development, except on lands zoned as a timberland production zone pursuant to Section 51112 or 51113 of, and as defined in subdivision (g) of Section 51104, of the Government Code, where the subdivision has had a tentative subdivision map approved and a subdivision use permit granted by the city or county having jurisdiction, may be exempted by regulation from the provisions of this article, if the exemption is consistent with the purposes of this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 636, Sec. 1.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC9.