Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2011
 

Government Code Provisions

Provisions Relating to the California Land Conservation Act of 1965 (The Williamson Act)

Chapter 7. Agricultural Land*

Article 6. Eminent Domain or Other Acquisition

Section 51291

51291. "Public agency." (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.

History.—Stats. 1967, p. 3221, in effect November 8, 1967, added the last sentence of the second paragraph. Stats. 1974, Ch. 544, p. 1253, in effect January 1, 1975, substituted "Director of Food and Agriculture" for "Director of Agriculture" in subdivision (b) and in the first sentence of the second paragraph. Stats. 1975, Ch. 1240, in effect January 1, 1976, deleted "by Section 1001 of the Civil Code" after "authorized" in subdivision (a). Stats 1984, Ch. 851, in effect January 1, 1985, substituted "Conservation" for "Food and Agriculture" after "Director of" in the first sentence and added the second sentence to the first paragraph of subdivision (b); and substituted "conservation" for "Food and Agriculture" after "Director of" in the first sentence and added the second sentence to the second paragraph thereof. Stats. 1994, Ch. 1158, in effect January 1, 1995, added the second sentence in the first paragraph of subdivision (b); added "to comply with the requirements of this section" after "a state agency" in the fourth sentence of the second paragraph of subdivision (b); and added subdivisions (c), (d), and (e). Stats. 1998, Ch. 690 (SB 1835), in effect January 1, 1999, substituted "and Sections 51292 and 51295, (1)" for "Section 51292, and Section 51295", before " "public agency" ", deleted "the state, or" after the first "means", substituted "of the United States or the state" for "thereof" after "department or agency"; substituted ", and (2)" for "; and" before " "person" " in subdivision (a); substituted "its" for "the" before "intention" in the first sentence and substituted "Secretary" for "Director" before "of Food" and added a comma after "Agriculture" in the third sentence of the first paragraph, added a comma after "thereafter" and added "appropriate" after "forward to the" in the first sentence, substituted "Secretary" for "Director" before " of Food" in the second sentence, substituted "The failure" for "Failure" before "of any" in the third sentence, deleted "any" after "person or" and placed commas around the phrase "other than a state agency" after "public agency" in the fourth sentence and added "the" after "after" in the fifth sentence of the second paragraph of subdivision (b); and deleted "within 10 working days" after "public entity" and added "within 10 working days" after "Conservation" in the first sentence, deleted a comma after "decision" in the second sentence and deleted a comma after "acquired" in the third sentence of subdivision (c). Stats. 1999, Ch. 1018 (SB 985) , in effect January 1, 2000, substituted "Except as provided in Section 51291.5, whenever" for "Whenever" in the first sentence of the first paragraph of subdivision (b); deleted "of any public agency or person to comply with the requirements of this section shall not invalidate any action by the agency or person to locate a public improvement within an agricultural preserve. However, the failure" in the third and former fourth sentences, and added "piped subterranean water or waste" after "electric," in the fourth sentence of the second paragraph of subdivision (b); and deleted the former first sentence of subdivision (e), which provided that "If the notices and findings required by this section and Section 51292 are given and contained within documents prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code) those documents may be used to meet the notification and findings requirements of this section and Section 51292, as long as they are provided no later than the times set forth in this section." in subdivision (e).

* Unless otherwise noted Chapter 7 was added by Stats. 1965, p. 3377, in effect September 17, 1965.