Van De Kamp, 060584 CAAGO, AGO 83-1201

Docket Nº:AGO 83-1201
Case Date:June 05, 1984
JOHN K. VAN DE KAMP Attorney General
RODNEY O. LILYQUIST Deputy Attorney General
AGO 83-1201
No. 83-1201
California Attorney General Opinion
Office of the Attorney General State of California
June 5, 1984
         THE HONORABLE ROBERT B. PRESLEY, MEMBER OF THE CALIFORNIA SENATE, has requested an opinion on the following question:          Under the "window" provisions of chapter 1095 of the Statutes of 1981, may a local government find at its option that the proposed alternative use of Williamson Act contract property is consistent with either the October 1, 1981, general plan or with the general plan amended thereafter as a result of proceedings initiated before January 1, 1982?          CONCLUSION          A local government may not approve an alternative use of Williamson Act contract property which is not consistent with its current general plan under the "window" provisions of chapter 1095 of the Statutes of 1981.          ANALYSIS          Section 8 of article XIII of the Constitution states in part:
"To promote the conservation, preservation and continued existence of open space lands, the Legislature may define open space land and shall provide that when this land is enforceably restricted, in a manner specified by the Legislature, to recreation, enjoyment of scenic beauty, use or conservation of natural resources, or production of food or fiber, it shall be valued for property tax purposes only on a basis that is consistent with its restrictions and uses."
         Consistent with this express constitutional grant of authority, the Legislature enacted the California Land Conservation Act of 1965 (Gov. Code, §§ 51200-51294)1 commonly known as the Williamson Act ("Act"). In general terms, the Act authorizes cities and counties to enter into contracts with owners of agricultural lands to restrict the use of such lands for a minimum of ten years in return for favorable property tax treatment. (§§ 51240-51244.)          In Sierra Club v. City of Hayward (1981) 28 Cal.3d 840, the Supreme Court reviewed the Act's provisions concerning the cancellation of land contracts. (§§...

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