Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2013
California Constitutional Provisions
ARTICLE XIII Revenue and Taxation
Sec. 8. Assessment of open space lands and property of historical significance. To promote the conservation, preservation and continued existence of open space lands, the Legislature may define open space land and shall provide that when this land is enforceably restricted, in a manner specified by the Legislature, to recreation, enjoyment of scenic beauty, use or conservation of natural resources, or production of food or fiber, it shall be valued for property tax purposes only on a basis that is consistent with its restrictions and uses.
To promote the preservation of property of historical significance, the Legislature may define such property and shall provide that when it is enforceably restricted, in a manner specified by the Legislature, it shall be valued for property tax purposes only on a basis that is consistent with its restrictions and uses.
History.—The amendment of June 8, 1976, added the second paragraph.
Construction.—This section is not mutually exclusive of the "charitable purposes" exemption from taxation of section 4(b). The reduced valuation provision hereof contemplates the use of open space lands in commercially profitable ventures, whereas the exemption provision prohibits profit. Thus, each section serves a distinct public purpose. Santa Catalina Island Conservancy v. Los Angeles County, 126 Cal.App.3d 221.
Termination of contract.—Both the basic provisions for cancellation (Gov. Code, § 51282) and the window period cancellation provisions (former Gov. Code, § 51282.1) were valid under the requirement of this section that land be "enforceably restricted." Honey Springs Homeowners Assn. v. Board of Supervisors, 157 Cal.App.3d 1122. The window period cancellation provision (former Gov. Code, § 51282.1) was unconstitutional and inconsistent with the requirement of this Article that land be "enforceably restricted". The provision impermissibly redefined restrictions so as to allow termination of Williamson Act contracts merely because development was imminent and without concern for the public's interest in the conservation policies underlying this Article and the Williamson Act. Lewis v. City of Hayward, 177 Cal.App.3d 103.
Assessment on termination of contract.—Agricultural property subject to a Williamson Act contract which was terminated in 1977 was properly assessed in 1978 to reflect fair market value under the "roll-back" provisions of Article XIII A, Section 2(a). While a literal application of the language of Article XIII A, Section 2(a) would require use of the "full cash" value figure reflected on the 1975–76 secured tax roll, such would violate the essence of this section, which was not repealed by Article XIII A. Shellenberger v. Board of Equalization of San Joaquin County, 147 Cal.App.3d 510.