Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

Government Code Provisions

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

Chapter 7. Agricultural Land*

Article 2.5. Agricultural Preserves

Section 51238.1

51238.1. Compatible uses. (a) Uses approved on contracted lands shall be consistent with all of the following principles of compatibility:

(1) The use will not significantly compromise the long-term productive agricultural capability of the subject contracted parcel or parcels or on other contracted lands in agricultural preserves.

(2) The use will not significantly displace or impair current or reasonably foreseeable agricultural operations on the subject contracted parcel or parcels or on other contracted lands in agricultural preserves. Uses that significantly displace agricultural operations on the subject contracted parcel or parcels may be deemed compatible if they relate directly to the production of commercial agricultural products on the subject contracted parcel or parcels or neighboring lands, including activities such as harvesting, processing, or shipping.

(3) The use will not result in the significant removal of adjacent contracted land from agricultural or open-space use.

In evaluating compatibility a board or council shall consider the impacts on noncontracted lands in the agricultural preserve or preserves.

(b) A board or council may include in its compatible use rules or ordinance conditional uses which, without conditions or mitigations, would not be in compliance with this section. These conditional uses shall conform to the principles of compatibility set forth in subdivision (a) or, for nonprime lands only, satisfy the requirements of subdivision (c).

(c) In applying the criteria pursuant to subdivision (a), the board or council may approve a use on nonprime land which, because of onsite or offsite impacts, would not be in compliance with paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a), provided the use is approved pursuant to a conditional use permit that shall set forth findings, based on substantial evidence in the record, demonstrating the following:

(1) Conditions have been required for, or incorporated into, the use that mitigate or avoid those onsite and offsite impacts so as to make the use consistent with the principles set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) to the greatest extent possible while maintaining the purpose of the use.

(2) The productive capability of the subject land has been considered as well as the extent to which the use may displace or impair agricultural operations.

(3) The use is consistent with the purposes of this chapter to preserve agricultural and open-space land or supports the continuation of agricultural uses, as defined in Section 51205, or the use or conservation of natural resources, on the subject parcel or on other parcels in the agricultural preserve. The use of mineral resources shall comply with Section 51238.2.

(4) The use does not include a residential subdivision.

For the purposes of this section, a board or council may define nonprime land as land not defined as "prime agricultural land" pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 51201 or as land not classified as "agricultural land" pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 21060.1 of the Public Resources Code.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to overrule, rescind, or modify the requirements contained in Sections 51230 and 51238 related to noncontracted lands within agricultural preserves.

History.—Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1251, in effect January 1, 1995.

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

† Article 2.5 was added by Stats. 1969, p. 2806, in effect November 10, 1969.