Policy Summary

This is an uncodified ordinance; it authorizes local governments to enter into enforceable contracts with owners of private property for the purpose of promoting the use of vacant, unimproved, or blighted lands for small-scale agricultural use and to promote sustainable urban farm enterprises; and authorizes the city/county to provide property tax reductions.

Background Information

State California
Jurisdiction Name San Francisco
Jurisdiction Type City, County,
Population Size 800,000+
Legal Strategies
  • Expressly allows something
  • Creates an incentive for a change
Reach Limited scope
It creates a process for entering into voluntary agreements to support small-scale agriculture, not mandatory requirements (Sec. 53A.2).
Food System Category Grow; Get;

Policy Details

Refers to priority populations?

Emergency management?
Health-related linkage?

It connects City residents to the broader food system (§ 1); offers food access, and public health potential. (§ 1)

Environmental linkage?

California Environmental Quality Act (§ 2); provides ecological benefits and green infrastructure. (§ 1); provides green space

Economic linkage?

May save money for public agencies (§ 1); offers economic development potential (§ 1)

Includes findings?

Provides general findings surrounding the multiple benefits of Urban Agriculture to San Franciscans and obstacles to the sustained growth to urban agriculture (§ 1), as well as environmental findings (§ 2).

Has a stated intent or purpose?

This Chapter 53A implements the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act, California Government Code Sections 51040 et seq. The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act authorizes local governments to enter into enforceable contracts with owners of private property for the purpose of promoting the use of vacant, unimproved, or blighted lands for small-scale agricultural use. As consideration [or promoting the public interest in sustainable urban farm enterprise sectors in urban centers, the City and County of San Francisco may provide certain property tax reductions in accordance with Article 1.5 (commencing with Section 422. 7) of Chapter 3 of Part 2 of Division 1 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code. (b) Implementation the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act will make the benefits the Act available to owners of eligible property in San Francisco. (c) The benefits of the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act to the individual property owners and the City generally must be balanced with the cost to the City of providing the potential property tax reductions set forth in the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act. (Sec. 53A.1)

Includes definitions?

Addresses implementation?

Application and Approval processes are laid out; Planning department is responsible for providing cert. of eligibility to urban ag. Incentive zone property owners. (§§ 53A.4, 53A.3, 53A.5)

Enforcement provisions?

Upon cancellation of any Contract prior to the expiration of its term, the property owner shall pay to the Treasurer-Tax Collector a cancellation fee equal to the cumulative value of the tax benefit received during the duration of the Contract as determined by the Assessor-Recorder. This fee shall include the cumulative tax owed including interest. (§ 53A.8(d))

Evaluation component?

Requires extra investment?

Sec. 5 directs the Agricultural Commissioner, in consultation with the Planning Department, the Assessor-Recorder, and the City Attorney's Office, to provide a report to the Board of Supervisors recommending the amount of fees to be paid to administer this program, including fees to cover Planning Department's time for making eligibility determinations; amount to cover costs of processing applications; and fees to cover costs of annual inspections.

Code context and ordinance history

This uncodified Ord. No. 184-14 (File No. 140702) amended the Administrative Code by adding Chapter 53A, creating local procedures to implement the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act, including establishing the City's Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone; and making environmental findings. The codified version is available at San Francisco, Cal., Admin. Code Sections 53A.1 -.11 (current through Sept. 15, 2017), http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/California/administrative/chapter53aurbanagricultureincentivezones?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:sanfrancisco_ca$anc=JD_Chapter53A. As of Sept. 15, 2017, the codified and uncodified version of the laws were the same.


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