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What is the Williamson Act Program?

The California Land Conservation Act, better known as the Williamson Act, has been the state’s premier agricultural land protection program since its enactment in 1965. More than 16 million of the state’s 30 million acres of farm and ranch land are currently protected under the Williamson Act.

The California Legislature passed the Williamson Act in 1965 to preserve agricultural and open space lands by discouraging premature and unnecessary conversion to urban uses. The Act creates an arrangement whereby private landowners contract with counties and cities to voluntarily restrict their land to agricultural and compatible open-space uses. The vehicle for these agreements is a rolling term 10-year contract (i.e., unless either party files a "notice of nonrenewal," the contract is automatically renewed for an additional year.). In return, restricted parcels are assessed for property tax purposes at a rate consistent with their actual use, rather then potential market value.  Please see the Williamson Act Overview page for more historic information about the Program.

The land designated for the Roblar Road quarry is currently under a Williamson Act Contract that expires in 2015.  Quarry owner John Barella cannot develop the quarry until the Williamson Act expires.  Despite this, the Board of Supervisors rushed to certifiy the project's EIR and approved the project in Dec. 2010 knowing that no work on this project---nor any job creation for the construction industry--could begin for a full 5 years.