Hastings Law Journal


John B. Dean


The Williamson Act, enacted in 1965 in response to continuing urbanization of agricultural land, utilizes preferential property taxation and voluntary, owner-initiated contracts with the local legislative body. This Note analyzes the Williamson Act in detail, and then evaluates the impact of the Act on the preservation of productive agricultural lands in three counties: Contra Costa, Alameda, and Santa Clara. The Note concludes that the Williamson Act program should be limited to prime agricultural lands, rather than nonurban lands generally, and property tax incentives to owners of such prime agricultural lands should be substantially increased. Further, the Note recommends the implementation of a comprehensive, statewide plan for resources, aimed, inter alia, at the long-term preservation of California's prime agricultural lands.

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