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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Education & Student Activism
Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones ~ National Farmers Market Week 2013
California grows, packages, ships and help finance nearly 50% of the fruits, vegetables and nuts throughout the United States, while shipping high quality agriculture products around the world. 95% of the residents in the State of California live within the Urban Service Boundary, precluded from most USDA and CDFA programs to assist producers, a vast public policy gap. Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones will provide greater access toward job creation, career advancement and community economic development. National Farmers Market Week 2013 is an opportunity to meet, greet and appreciate the farmers, farmworkers and grocery clerks who provide essential food and nutrition, daily.
California Black Agriculture Working Group supports the pending California legislation to create Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones. Urban Agriculture is the best opportunity to help restore agriculture as the foundation of our culture. Ethnic specialty crops, locally grown where possible, will provide greater health and wellness. Urban Agriculture job creation, career advancement and community economic development remains a culturally appropriate method to sustain a people, historically. The current reality of diet related chronic disease is seen... Equitable Urban and Rural Agriculture programs may be year's away however the vast quantifiable cost savings and positive fiscal impacts embracing Urban Agriculture may just soften the hearts and fatten the wallets of the status quo...
The proposed Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act.
The California Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public interest to promote sustainable urban farm enterprise sectors in urban centers. The Legislature further finds and declares the small-scale, active production of marketable crops, including, but not limited to, foods, flowers, and seedlings, in urban centers is consistent with, and furthers, the purposes of this act.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Urban” means an area within the boundaries of an urbanized area, as that term is used by the United States Census Bureau, that includes at least 50,000 people.
(b) “Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone” means an area within a county or a city and county that is comprised of individual properties designated as urban agriculture preserves by the county or the city and county for farming purposes.
(a) (1) A county or a city and county may, after a public hearing, establish by ordinance an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone within its boundaries for the purpose of entering into enforceable contracts with landowners, on a voluntary basis, for the use of vacant, unimproved, or blighted lands for small-scale production of agricultural crops.
(2) A county or a city and county that has established an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone within its boundaries may adopt rules and regulations for the implementation and administration of the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone and of contracts related to that Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone.
(A) The county or city and county may impose a fee upon contracting landowners for the reasonable costs of implementing and administering contracts.
(B) The county or city and county may impose a fee upon landowners for cancellation of any contract as to all or any part of the subject land.
(b) Following the adoption of the ordinance as required by subdivision (a), a county or a city and county may enter into a contract with a landowner to enforceably restrict the use of the land subject to the contract to uses consistent with urban agriculture. Any contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following provisions:
(1) An initial term of not less than five years.
(2) A restriction on property that is at least 0.10 acres.
(3) A requirement that the entire property subject to the contract shall be dedicated toward agricultural use.
(4) A prohibition against commercial uses, except as those uses comply with the terms of the contract, on the property subject to the contract.
(5) A notification that if a landowner cancels a contract, a county or city and county may assess a cancellation fee, pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).
(c) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall not prohibit the use of structures that support agricultural activity, including, but not limited to, toolsheds, greenhouses, produce stands, and instructional space.
(d) A contract entered into pursuant to this chapter that includes a prohibition on the use of pesticide or fertilizers on properties under contract shall permit those pesticides or fertilizers allowed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program.
(e) Property subject to a contract entered into pursuant to this chapter shall be assessed pursuant to Section 423 of the Revenue and Taxation Code during the term of the contract.
(f) A county shall not establish an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone within any portion of a city or the city’s spheres of influence unless that city has adopted an ordinance that authorizes an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone within the city’s boundaries or spheres of influence.
Section 402.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is amended to read:
(a) In the assessment of land, the assessor shall consider the effect upon value of any enforceable restrictions to which the use of the land may be subjected. These restrictions shall include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(2) Recorded contracts with governmental agencies other than those provided in Sections 422 422, 422.5, and 422.5. 422.7.
(3) Permit authority of, and permits issued by, governmental agencies exercising land use powers concurrently with local governments, including the California Coastal Commission and regional coastal commissions, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
(4) Development controls of a local government in accordance with any local coastal program certified pursuant to Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000) of the Public Resources Code.
(5) Development controls of a local government in accordance with a local protection program, or any component thereof, certified pursuant to Division 19 (commencing with Section 29000) of the Public Resources Code.
(6) Environmental constraints applied to the use of land pursuant to provisions of statutes.
(7) Hazardous waste land use restriction pursuant to Section 25240 of the Health and Safety Code.
(8) A recorded conservation, trail, or scenic easement, as described in Section 815.1 of the Civil Code, that is granted in favor of a public agency, or in favor of a nonprofit corporation organized pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that has as its primary purpose the preservation, protection, or enhancement of land in its natural, scenic, historical, agricultural, forested, or open-space condition or use.
(9) A solar-use easement pursuant to Chapter 6.9 (commencing with Section 51190) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code.
(b) There is a rebuttable presumption that restrictions will not be removed or substantially modified in the predictable future and that they will substantially equate the value of the land to the value attributable to the legally permissible use or uses.
(c) Grounds for rebutting the presumption may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the past history of like use restrictions in the jurisdiction in question and the similarity of sales prices for restricted and unrestricted land. The possible expiration of a restriction at a time certain shall not be conclusive evidence of the future removal or modification of the restriction unless there is no opportunity or likelihood of the continuation or renewal of the restriction, or unless a necessary party to the restriction has indicated an intent to permit its expiration at that time.
(d) In assessing land with respect to which the presumption is unrebutted, the assessor shall not consider sales of otherwise comparable land not similarly restricted as to use as indicative of value of land under restriction, unless the restrictions have a demonstrably minimal effect upon value.
(e) In assessing land under an enforceable use restriction wherein the presumption of no predictable removal or substantial modification of the restriction has been rebutted, but where the restriction nevertheless retains some future life and has some effect on present value, the assessor may consider, in addition to all other legally permissible information, representative sales of comparable lands that are not under restriction but upon which natural limitations have substantially the same effect as restrictions.
(f) For the purposes of this section the following definitions apply:
(1) “Comparable lands” are lands that are similar to the land being valued in respect to legally permissible uses and physical attributes.
(2) “Representative sales information” is information from sales of a sufficient number of comparable lands to give an accurate indication of the full cash value of the land being valued.
(g) It is hereby declared that the purpose and intent of the Legislature in enacting this section is to provide for a method of determining whether a sufficient amount of representative sales information is available for land under use restriction in order to ensure the accurate assessment of that land. It is also hereby declared that the further purpose and intent of the Legislature in enacting this section and Section 1630 is to avoid an assessment policy which, in the absence of special circumstances, considers uses for land that legally are not available to the owner and not contemplated by government, and that these sections are necessary to implement the public policy of encouraging and maintaining effective land use planning. Nothing in this statute shall be construed as requiring the assessment of any land at a value less than as required by Section 401 or as prohibiting the use of representative comparable sales information on land under similar restrictions when this information is available.
Section 422.7 is added to the Revenue and Taxation Code, to read:
For purposes of this article, the term “open-space land” includes land subject to contract for an urban agricultural incentive zone, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 51040.3 of the Government Code. For purposes of this article, open-space land is enforceably restricted within the meaning of Section 8 of Article XIII of the California Constitution if it is subject to an urban agriculture incentive zone contract.