Proposed Bills Could Protect California Farmland by Containing Sprawl

Sprawling development and alternative energy projects are a growing threat to California's productive farmland. Susie Cagle discusses how two bills "could give a boost to California agriculture big and small," while reining in sprawl.

"First up: The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Act, AB 551," writes Cagle. "This would set up an optional program for counties to give residents breaks on their property taxes so long as they’re using the land to grow food." As San Francisco based urban think tank SPUR explains, "This legislation provides an incentive to private landowners to make more land available for urban agriculture...which is especially critical for the viability of commercial urban farms."

"For non-city dwellers, the California Farmland Protection Act, AB 823, packs a much bigger punch," Cagle adds. As SPUR notes, "The bill would require developers to either 1) permanently protect an acre of farmland for every acre they develop as part of the mitigation process in the California Environmental Quality Act or 2) build more densely."

Full Story: Two new bills aim to save California farmland from rampant sprawl


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