Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2016
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
51295. Contract automatically void by condemnation. When any action in eminent domain for the condemnation of the fee title of an entire parcel of land subject to a contract is filed or when that land is acquired in lieu of eminent domain for a public improvement by a public agency or person, or whenever there is any such action or acquisition by the federal government or any person, instrumentality, or agency acting under the authority or power of the federal government, the contract shall be deemed null and void as to the land actually being condemned, or so acquired as of the date the action is filed, and for the purposes of establishing the value of the land, the contract shall be deemed never to have existed.
Upon the termination of the proceeding, the contract shall be null and void for all land actually taken or acquired.
When an action to condemn or acquire less than all of a parcel of land subject to a contract is commenced, the contract shall be deemed null and void as to the land actually condemned or acquired and shall be disregarded in the valuation process only as to the land actually being taken, unless the remaining land subject to contract will be adversely affected by the condemnation, in which case the value of that damage shall be computed without regard to the contract.
When an action to condemn or acquire an interest that is less than the fee title of an entire parcel or any portion thereof of land subject to a contract is commenced, the contract shall be deemed null and void as to that interest and, for the purpose of establishing the value of only that interest, shall be deemed never to have existed, unless the remaining interests in any of the land subject to the contract will be adversely affected, in which case the value of that damage shall be computed without regard to the contract.
The land actually taken shall be removed from the contract. Under no circumstances shall land be removed that is not actually taken for a public improvement, except that when only a portion of the land or less than a fee interest in the land is taken or acquired, the contract may be canceled with respect to the remaining portion or interest upon petition of either party and pursuant to the provisions of Article 5 (commencing with Section 51280).
For the purposes of this section, a finding by the board or council that no authorized use may be made of the land if the contract is continued on the remaining portion or interest in the land may satisfy the requirements of subdivision (a) of Section 51282.
If, after acquisition, the acquiring public agency determines that it will not for any reason actually locate on that land or any part thereof, the public improvement for which the land was acquired, before returning the land to private ownership, the public agency shall give written notice to the Director of Conservation and the local governing body responsible for the administration of the preserve, and the land shall be reenrolled in a new contract or encumbered by an enforceable deed restriction with terms at least as restrictive as those provided by this chapter. The duration of the restriction shall be determined by subtracting the length of time the land was held by the acquiring public agency or person from the number of years that remained on the original contract at the time of acquisition.
History.—Stats. 1967, p. 3221, in effect November 8, 1967, enlarged the section's applicability to a federal action or acquisition. Stats. 1969, p. 2816, in effect November 10, 1969, substituted "an entire . . . to a" for "any land under contract", substituted "shall be deemed" for "is" and substituted "and for the purposes . . . never to have existed" for "or so acquired and thereafter the contract shall not be binding on any party to it" in the first sentence of the first paragraph; and added the second, third and fourth paragraphs. Stats. 1971, p. 2123, in effect March 4, 1972, added the fourth and sixth paragraphs and substituted all after "not actually taken," for "except as otherwise provided in this chapter." in the fifth paragraph. Stats. 1984, Ch. 415, in effect January 1, 1985, deleted "of this chapter" after "51280)" in the second sentence of the fifth paragraph, and substituted "subdivision" for "subdivisions" after "requirements of", and deleted "and (b)" after "(a)" in the sixth paragraph. Stats. 1994, Ch. 1158, in effect January 1, 1995, added "for public improvement" after "not actually taken" in the second sentence of the fifth paragraph; and added the seventh paragraph. Stats. 1998, Ch. 690 (SB 1835), in effect January 1, 1999, added "such" before "action or", substituted ", or agency acting under the" for "or agency enacting under", substituted "the" for "such" before the first "contract" in the first sentence of the first paragraph, substituted "that" for "which" after the first "interest" and substituted "only that interest," for "that interest only" after the first "value of" in the first sentence of the fourth paragraph, added "a" before "public improvement" in the second sentence of the fifth paragraph, substituted "new contract" for "contract," after "reenrolled in a" in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph, and added commas throughout the text.
Construction.—This section applies only to federal acquisitions through or under threat of the exercise of federal eminent domain powers. An Indian tribe's voluntary transfer of title to the Bureau of Indian Affairs is not an involuntary taking contemplated by the section to terminate Williamson Act restrictions. Friends of East Willits Valley v. Mendocino County, 101 Cal.App.4th 191.
Note.—Stats. 1971, p. 2123, also provided: When it meets all other requirements under the California Land Conservation Act of 1965 provided for in Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 51200) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code, a contract, which at the time of its execution contained any or all of the phrases quoted in this section, shall be deemed an enforceable restriction pursuant to Section 422 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
(a) If such contract provides for its nullification upon the filing of a "condemnation of an interest in all or any part of the subject property" or a "condemnation of all or a portion of subject property" and the board of supervisors of the county or city council of the city having jurisdiction over the land subject to such contract passes an ordinance stating that in administering such portion of the contract it will apply Section 51295 of the Government Code; or
(b) If such contract provides that the remaining portion of land after an action or acquisition by condemnation is determined by the board of supervisors of the county or city council of the city having jurisdiction over the land subject to the contract to be "impaired to such extent as to make it unsuitable for those uses legally available to the owner under terms of his contract" or provides that "such remaining land would no longer be eligible for contract under Section 51242 of the Government Code" and the board of supervisors of the county or city council of the city having jurisdiction over the land subject to such contracts passes an ordinance stating that in administering such portion of a contract it will apply Section 51295 of the Government Code; or
(c) If such contract provides for any waiver of a cancellation payment "provided that such waiver is in the best interest of the program to conserve agricultural land" and the board of supervisors of the county or city council of the city having jurisdiction over the land subject to such contract passes an ordinance stating that in administering such portion of a contract, it will apply subdivision (c) of Section 51283 of the Government Code.
(d) Each landowner affected by an ordinance referred to in subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, of this section shall be given personal notice of such ordinance by registered mail, or if mail is not delivered to such person, by notice posted on the affected property.
* Unless otherwise noted Chapter 7 was added by Stats. 1965, p. 3377, in effect September 17, 1965.