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PJR-101 New or Replacement Land Conservation Contract

04/26/2021

An application for a new or replacement contract must be combined with an application for establishment or modification of an agricultural preserve, unless the land to be restricted by the requested contract is entirely within a presently designated agricultural preserve. Multiple new or replacement contracts may be requested in a single application. All forms are available at Permit Sonoma.

For additional information, see the ‘Sonoma County Land Conservation Act Program General Info PJR-104.

Purpose

To explain the application process and requirements for obtaining new or replacement Land Conservation Contracts.

Procedure

Once your application has been deemed complete by Permit Sonoma staff, the application materials and one copy of the preliminary title report for each requested contract will be provided to the Assessor’s Office to review and determine if the provided legal description(s) accurately describe(s) the parcel(s). 

Once the Assessor’s Office determines the accuracy of the legal description(s) for the proposed contract(s), Permit Sonoma staff will provide the application materials and one copy of the preliminary title report for each requested contract to the Office of the County Counsel. County Counsel will prepare the contract(s) and send to the owner or agent, as designated on the application, for signature. The owner and encumbrance holders sign each contract. Once County Counsel has received the contracts executed by the owner and encumbrance holders, if any, the contract(s) are returned to Permit Sonoma. 

Permit Sonoma then sets a hearing before the Board of Supervisors for review and approval. If approved by the Board, the Chair of the Board signs the requested contract(s) and the Clerk of the Board records them with the Sonoma County Recorder’s Office. The Clerk then mails conformed copies to the owner(s) or agent as designed on the application. The Clerk also provides conformed copies of the contract(s) to Permit Sonoma, County Counsel, and the Assessor’s Office. After recordation, the original contract is kept on file with the Clerk of the Board. 

Deadlines and Other Information

Application Deadline

Applications for establishment, modification, or disestablishment of an agricultural preserve, and/or for a new or replacement contract should  be submitted by May 1 of each year to allow ample processing time by the end of the year.

A new or replacement contract must be recorded on or prior to December 31 to affect the property’s assessment on January 1 for the following tax year.

Other Information

Sonoma County’s Land Conservation Act program has four types of contracts: 

  1. Prime contracts for crop agriculture with a 10-acre minimum parcel size requirement,
  2. Non-Prime contracts for grazing with a 40-acre minimum,
  3. Open Space contracts with a 40-acre minimum, and
  4. Hybrid contracts with a mix of agricultural and open space land, also with a 40-acre minimum.

To be considered for a contract, the land to be restricted by the requested contract(s) must be in a designated Agricultural Preserve. Enlargement of an existing Agricultural Preserve or establishment of a new Agricultural Preserve to include the land requested for contract is processed simultaneously with the Land Conservation Contract application. At least 100 acres of land area is required to establish a new Agricultural Preserve, unless otherwise authorized by the Board of Supervisors. Agricultural Preserves may only contain land zoned Land Intensive Agriculture (LIA), Land Extensive Agriculture (LEA), Diverse Agricultural (DA), or Resources and Rural Development (RRD). 

PJR-105 Joint Application for Agricultural Preserve Establishment or Modification and New or Replacement Land Conservation Contract (AGP-LCC)

Multiple new or replacement contracts may be requested in a single application.

The land proposed to be restricted by a single contract must be comprised of a single legal parcel.

A replacement contract is generally required following approval of a lot line adjustment or subdivision for each affected or resulting lot.

Permit Sonoma will make every effort to process multiple related applications from the same owner together, provided that all required application materials and information has been submitted to allow joint processing.

More Information: PJR-104, Land Conservation Act Program General Information 

Required Application Materials

A complete application shall include the following items. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Note: All documents must be submitted electronically. Permit Sonoma staff may, upon request, provide some assistance with electronic submittal if required.

  1. Application Forms:
    1. PJR-001 Planning Application (PDF: 180 kB), signed by the applicant and property owner(s).
    2. PJR-107 Agricultural Preserve Supplemental Questionnaire (PDF: 83 kB) (one for each requested contract)
    3. PJR-109 New or Replacement Conservation Contract (LCC/RLCC) (PDF: 197 kB) (one for each requested contract)
    4. PJR-098 Land Conservation Plan (PDF: 262 kB) (one for each requested contract)
    5. PJR-065 Agricultural Income Statement (PDF: 238 kB) (one for each requested contract)
    6. PJR-049 Landowners Statement of Compliance with Williamson Act (PDF: 159 kB) (one for each requested contract
    7. PJR-011 Indemnification Agreement (PDF: 132 kB), signed by owner or agent with owner’s written authorization. A separate indemnification agreement must be signed by each property owner.
    8. PJR-095 At-Cost Agreement (PDF: 80 kB). Land conservation contract applications are processed on an at-cost basis. An At-cost Agreement is required at the time of submittal to provide a minimum fee and deposit sufficient to cover the cost of staff work on the project. Deposits must be maintained to cover staff costs or work may be halted on the project.
  2. Proposal statement, describing the present agricultural operation, any open space land, and any future plans for the parcel. Include a description of total acres devoted to the agricultural enterprise or open space, the number of years this agricultural enterprise or open space has been in existence, and whether an expansion or formation of an Ag Preserve Area is required. 
  3. Open space documentation. Provide documentation that the land qualifies as “open space land,” if applicable, for each requested contract. If open space land is a “wildlife habitat area,” then submit one copy of the Wildlife Habitat Biologist Report. 
  4. Site Plan. Site plans submitted with Land Conservation contract applications are recorded with the contract agreement. The requirements for Land Conservation contract site plans include information specific to the contract request. PJR-129 Site Plan Requirements for Planning Applications provides helpful information for preparing generic site plans. However, site plans for Land Conservation contracts must identify all uses of the property, including: property boundaries, adjacent roads, existing and proposed residential uses and structures, other compatible uses allowed under contract (see Sonoma County Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves and Farmland Security Zones), existing uses associated with the agricultural operation (e.g., planted crop, grazing areas, corrals, wells, irrigation reservoir, barns, etc.), and/or qualifying open space uses. Any land that is neither associated with the agricultural operation, open space, or other compatible uses of the property is identified as “Undesignated Land.” The site plan shall list acreage for all uses of the property (e.g., 20 acres planted in vineyard, one acre in agricultural accessory use, two acres in residential use, five acres undesignated land). For open space contracts, the site plan shall identify the type of habitat. For recording purposes, the site plan shall be in black and white, 8.5 inches by 11 inches in size, and legible after recordation. Site plans shall not include fine printed text, overlapping text and symbols, or aerial backgrounds. Generally, site plans do not record well with topographic lines and highly detailed symbols. 
  5. Approved subdivision or lot line adjustment map affecting the project area, if applicable
  6. Recorded Certificates of Compliance, affecting the project area, if any
  7. Recorded deeds conveying a Certificate of Compliance parcel, if applicable
  8. Current Preliminary Title Report (issued within 60 days of application submittal) for each legal parcel to be restricted by each new or replacement contract
  9. Documentation demonstrating that the person(s) signing the Land Conservation Contract(s) on behalf of a legal entity (i.e., partnership, LLC) that owns the subject property is authorized to bind the legal entity to the contract(s). This documentation will not be recorded with the contract(s). 
  10. Documentation demonstrating that the person(s) signing the Land Conservation Contract(s) on behalf of a legal entity that holds an encumbrance (i.e., Deed of Trust) against the subject property is authorized to bind the legal entity to the contract(s), if applicable. This documentation will not be recorded with the contract(s). 
  11. Trust Certificate Form, completed and signed by the trustee(s) executing the Land Conservation Contract(s) on behalf of a trust as owner of the subject property, if any, or on behalf of a trust as the holder of an encumbrance (i.e., Deed of Trust) against the subject property, if any. This documentation will not be recorded with the contract(s). This form is available from Permit Sonoma or County Counsel. 
  12. Filing fee. See the current Permit Sonoma Project Review Fee Schedule. Fees will be determined once the full scope of a project is evaluated by Permit Sonoma staff at the time of application submittal. If paying by check, please do not fill in amounts on checks prior to application acceptance.

References

  • Sonoma County Uniform Rules, Uniform Rule 4.0
  • California Government Code Section 51240-51244

Contact Information

Contact Planning by Phone
Monday – Friday
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Address
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

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