Thanks for coming to our site to find information about the Land Conservation Williamson Act. We here at Tax Appeal Consultants are passionate about Property Tax Issues, Property Tax Appeals, and especially Property Tax Reductions. Your interest in the Land Conservation Williamson Act would also indicate you might be concerned about your property taxes. If your Commercial or Residential property is located in Southern California we would like the chance to work with you.
If your Property Taxes are too high, or the value of your property has gone down, then you might have a good chance to receive a Property Tax Reduction.
Let us help you. Put our 25+ years of Property Tax Knowledge, Experience, and Excellent Service to work saving you money on your Property Taxes. Join our thousands of happy customers who have used our easy “no stress” service. We offer a free evaluation and we are paid through contingency fees. So if we don’t win you don’t pay.
An agricultural preserve defines the boundary of an area within which a city or county will enter into contracts with landowners. The boundary is designated by resolution of the board of supervisors (board) or city council (council) having jurisdiction. Only land located within an agricultural preserve is eligible for a Williamson Act contract. Preserves are regulated by rules and restrictions designated in the resolution to ensure that the land within the preserve is maintained for agricultural or open space use.
An agricultural preserve must consist of no less than 100 acres. However, in order to meet this requirement, two or more parcels may be combined if they are contiguous or in common ownership. Smaller agricultural preserves may be established if a board or council determines that the
unique characteristic of the
agricultural enterprise in the area calls for smaller agricultural units, and if the establishment of the preserve is consistent with the General Plan. Preserves may be made up of land in one or more ownerships. Property owners with less than 100 acres may combine with neighbors to form preserves, provided the properties are contiguous.
A Williamson Act Contract is the legal document that obligates the property owner, and any successors of interest, to the contract’s enforceable restrictions.
A landowner interested in enrolling land in a contract should contact the local planning department of the county in which the land is located to obtain information and instructions.
The minimum term for a contract is 10 years. However, some jurisdictions exercise the option of making the term longer, up to twenty years. Contracts renew automatically every year unless nonrenewed.
A notice of nonrenewal starts the 9-year nonrenewal period. During the nonrenewal process, the annual tax assessment gradually increases. At the end of the 9-year nonrenewal period, the contract is terminated. What is a cancellation? Only the landowner can petition to cancel a contract. To approve a tentative contract cancellation, a county or city must make specific findings that are supported by substantial evidence. The existence of an opportunity for another use of the property is not sufficient reason for cancellation.
In addition, the uneconomic character of an existing agricultural use shall not, by itself, be a sufficient reason to cancel a contract. The landowner must pay a cancellation fee equal to 12.5 percent of the unrestricted, current fair market valuation of the property.
Yes. A Williamson Act contract secures an enforceable restriction. Failure to meet the terms and conditions of the contract may be considered a breach of contract.
A Williamson Act contract runs with the land and is binding on all successors in interest of the landowner.
The Williamson Act states that a board or council by resolution shall adopt rules governing the administration of agricultural preserves. The rules of each agricultural preserve specify the uses allowed. Generally, any commercial agricultural use will be permitted within any agricultural preserve. In addition, local governments may identify compatible uses permitted with a use permit.
In the case of a breach of a contract, the local government may seek a court injunction to enforce the terms of the contract. Where the breach of the contract is a violation of land use restrictions, normal zoning enforcement provisions will also apply.
As of 2003, all counties except Del Norte, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Inyo and Yuba offer Williamson Act contracts.
An agricultural conservation easement is a voluntary, legally recorded deed restriction that is placed on a specific property used for agricultural production.
California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP)grant funds may be used by a local government or a qualified nonprofit organization (i.e. park district, resource conservation district or land trust) to purchase a landowner’s conservation easement. The Department of Conservation can assist landowners in identifying appropriate entities that would be qualified to apply for a CFCP grant on their behalf.
The Department of Conservation is responsible for the interpretation of the Williamson Act, research of related issues and policies, and enforcement of Williamson Act provisions and restrictions.