Williamson Act (Land Conservation Act of 1965)
The Williamson Act provides for lowered property taxes for lands maintained
in agricultural and certain open space uses. The landowner enters into a
contract with the county or city to restrict land uses to those compatible
with agriculture, wildlife habitat, scenic corridors, recreational use, or
open space. In return, the local authorities calculate the property tax
assessment based on the actual use of the land instead of its potential
value assuming full commercial development. To be eligible, the land must
be designated by a city or county as agricultural preserve, scenic highway
corridor, or wildlife habitat area; or it must be actively used for the
three years immediately preceding the beginning of the contract as a
saltpond, managed wetland, or recreational or open space area.
Each year the contract is automatically renewed for a new ten-year period,
unless the landowner notifies the local government of a desire not to
renew. In that case, the land use restrictions remain in effect until the
remaining nine years of the contract have passed. There are also provisions
for cancelling the contract if cancellation is consistent with the purposes
of the Williamson Act or otherwise found to be in the public interest. A
cancellation fee and deferred taxes, which under some circumstances can be
waived, must be paid upon cancellation.
Statewide. Contact your local planning or community development department.
This page is an exerpt from Options for Wetland Conservation: A Guide for California Landowners, a publication of the California
State Coastal Commission. To obtain a copy of the guide or for more information about the Coastal Conservancy contact:
California State Coastal Conservancy
1330 Broadway, Suite 1100
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 286-1015
FAX: (510) 286-0470
This file last modified on: Wednesday, November 27, 2002.
Document URL: http://resources.ca.gov/wetlands/inventories/inventories.html
Copyright © 1997 California Resources Agency. All rights reserved.