Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2015
Revenue and Taxation Code
Part 2. Assessment
Chapter 3. Assessment Generally
Article 1.5. Valuation of Open-Space Land Subject to an Enforceable Restriction*
(a) "Agricultural preserve" means an agricultural preserve created pursuant to the California Land Conservation Act of 1965 (Williamson Act) (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 51200) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code).
(b) "Contract" means a contract executed pursuant to the California Land Conservation Act.
(c) "Agreement" means an agreement executed pursuant to the California Land Conservation Act prior to the 61st day following the final adjournment of the 1969 Regular Session of the Legislature and that, taken as a whole, provides restrictions, terms and conditions that are substantially similar or more restrictive than those required by statute for a contract.
(d) "Scenic restriction" means any interest or right in real property acquired by a city or county pursuant to Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 6950) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code, where the deed or other instrument granting such right or interest imposes restrictions that, through limitation of their future use, will effectively preserve for public use and enjoyment, the character of open spaces and areas as defined in Section 6954 of the Government Code.
A scenic restriction shall be for an initial term of 10 years or more, and shall provide for either of the following:
(1) A method whereby the term may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties.
(2) That the initial term shall be subject to annual automatic one-year extensions as provided for contracts in Sections 51244, 51244.5, and 51246 of the Government Code, unless notice of nonrenewal is given as provided in Section 51245 of the Government Code.
A scenic restriction may not be terminated prior to the expiration of the initial term, and any extension thereof, except as provided for cancellation of contracts in Sections 51281, 51282, 51283 and 51283.3 of the Government Code, and subject to the provisions therein for payment of the cancellation fee.
(e) "Open-space easement" means an open-space easement granted to a county or city pursuant to Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 51050) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code if the easement is acquired prior to January 1, 1975, or an open-space easement granted to a county, city, or nonprofit organization pursuant to Chapter 6.6 (commencing with Section 51070) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code if the easement is acquired after January 1, 1975, or an open-space easement granted to a regional park district, regional park and open-space district, or regional open-space district under Article 3 (commencing with Section 5500) of Chapter 3 of Division 5 of the Public Resources Code.
(f) "Wildlife habitat contract" means any contract or amended contract or covenant involving, except as provided in Section 423.8, 150 acres or more of land entered into by a landowner with any agency or political subdivision of the federal or state government limiting the use of lands for a period of 10 or more years by the landowner to habitat for native or migratory wildlife and native pasture. These lands shall, by contract, be eligible to receive water for waterfowl or waterfowl management purposes from the federal government.
(g) "Open-space land" means any of the following:
(1) Land within an agricultural preserve and subject to a contract or an agreement.
(2) Land subject to a scenic restriction.
(3) Land subject to an open-space easement.
(4) Land that has been restricted by a political subdivision or an entity of the state or federal government, acting within the scope of its regulatory or other legal authority, for the benefit of wildlife, endangered species, or their habitats.
(h) "Typical rotation period" means a period of years during which different crops are grown as part of a plant cultural program. Typical rotation period does not mean the rotation period of timber.
(i) "Wildlife" means waterfowl of every kind and any other undomesticated mammal, fish, or bird, or any reptile, amphibian, insect, or plant.
(j) "Endangered species" means any species or subcategory thereof, as defined in the California Endangered Species Act (Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 2050) of Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code) or the federal Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.), that has been classified and protected as an endangered, threatened, rare, or candidate species by any entity of the state or federal government.
History.—Added by Stats. 1969, p. 1702, operative March 1, 1970. Stats. 1973, Ch. 1165, p. 2424, in effect January 1, 1974, added subdivision (f), relettered former subdivision (f) to (g) and former subdivision (g) to (h), and added subdivision (i). Stats. 1974, Ch. 1003, p. 2159, in effect January 1, 1975, added the balance of subdivision (e) after first "Government Code". Stats. 1977, Ch. 1178, in effect January 1, 1978, added "nonprofit organization" in subdivision (e), and substituted "Landowner" for "Landowners" and "or" for "of" after "10" in the first sentence of subdivision (f). Stats. 1982, Ch. 71, in effect March 1, 1982, added ", or an open-space easement granted to a regional park district regional park and open-space district, or regional open-space district under Article 3 (commencing with Section 5500) of Chapter 3 of Division 5 of the Public Resources Code" after "after January 1, 1975" in subdivision (e). Stats. 1996, Ch. 997, in effect September 27, 1996, substituted "that" for "which" twice, and deleted the comma after "terms" in subdivision (c); substituted "that" for "which" after "imposes restrictions" in the first sentence of the first paragraph of subdivision (d) and substituted "provide for either of the following:" for "either:" in the second paragraph of subdivision (d); substituted "A method" for "Provide a method", and substituted "the parties." for "the parties, or" in paragraph (1), and substituted "That the initial" for "Provide that the initial" in paragraph (2) of subdivision (d); added ",except as provided in Section 423.8," after "or covenant involving" in the first sentence, and substituted "These" for "Such" in the second sentence of subdivision (f); added paragraph (4) of subdivision (g); added ", or any reptile, amphibian, insect, or plant" after "bird" in subdivision (i); and added subdivision (j).
Note.—Stats. 1971, p. 130, in effect May 25, 1971, provided:
Section 1. (a) For purposes of subdivision (c) of Section 421 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, an agreement, when taken as a whole, shall be deemed to provide restrictions, terms and conditions which are substantially similar to, or more restrictive than, those required by statute for a contract if at the time of its execution:
(1) The agreement had an initial term of seven years or more.
(2) The agreement could be canceled only by reason of condemnation of all or part of the property subject to the agreement or by reason of the death of an owner of the property subject to the agreement.
(3) The agreement provided that cancellation of the agreement must be approved by the board of supervisors or city council.
(b) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to provide the exclusive terms of validation for agreements executed pursuant to the California Land Conservation Act and shall apply to assessments for the 1971–1972 fiscal year only. The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to permit any reduction in the restrictions, terms, and conditions heretofore imposed by agreement.
Sec. 2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the assessment procedures specified under Section 423 of the Revenue and Taxation Code shall be effective with respect to land subject to taxation for the 1971–1972 fiscal year only, if such land is subject to an instrument meeting the requirements set by Section 1 of this act.
Note.—Section 10 of Stats. 1974, Ch. 1003, p. 2161, provided no payment by state to local governments because of this act. Sec. 11 thereof provided that the provisions of this act shall be given prospective application only and shall not be construed in a manner which would impair the obligation of any existing open-space easement or scenic restriction entered into prior to January 1, 1975. Land subject to any such easement or restriction on such date shall continue to be assessed under Article 1.5 (commencing with Section 421) of Chapter 3 of Part 2 of Division 1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code so long as such land otherwise qualifies for assessment under such article and qualifies under Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 51050) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of, or under Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 6950) of Division 7 of Title 1 of, the Government Code.
* Stats. 1969, p. 1930, in effect November 10, 1969, repealed Section 4 of Stats. 1967, p. 3651, which made Article 1.5 operative only until the 61st day following adjournment of the Regular Session of the 1970 Legislature.