California Land Conservation (Williamson) Act of 1965:
Butte County participates in the State of California Land Conservation Act agricultural land preservation program. The purpose of the Act is to preserve agricultural and open space lands by discouraging premature and unnecessary conversion to urban uses. Williamson Act contracts are established between the landowner and the County.
Limitations to Williamson Act Land Use:
The Williamson Act contract influences a landowner’s ability to use, subdivide or separately sell any parcel of land subject to the contract. Subdividing or selling a parcel under the Williamson Act that does not comply with the minimum parcel size required by the County's Williamson Act Program, or using property in a manner not compatible with the Williamson Act has serious consequences.
Consequences of Non-Compliance:
Development of divided or sold property subject to the Williamson Act contract could be considered a breach of the contract. This could result in contract non-renewal and related increase in the property tax rate. A material breach of contract, as specified under Government Code Section 51250 (b), can result in a monetary penalty up to 25 percent of the unrestricted fair market value of the land, plus 25 percent of the value of any incompatible building and related improvements on the contracted land.
For additional information on the Williamson Act program, go to the following California State Department of Conservation website: http://www.consrv.ca.gov/DLRP/lca/index.htm. It is important for landowners subject to a Williamson Act contract to understand the terms of the contract and consequences of non-compliance. Should you have any questions about land potentially under Williamson Act contract, please contact the Butte County Department of Development Services at 530-538-7601.