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Urban Gardens Stand to Flourish With Property Owner Incentive

For immediate release:

Assemblymember Ting legislation would allow lower taxes

Sacramento – Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) received overwhelming, bipartisan support in the Assembly for AB 551, legislation that would authorize cities and counties to create urban agriculture incentive zones, and allow for potentially reduced property assessments when a landowner allows small-scale food production on their land. The vote was 64 to 0.

“AB 551 is modeled after the Williamson Act,” Ting told his colleagues.” By creating a tax incentive for property owners to dedicate property for urban farming, we are offering a creative option for unused, often blighted land, and providing the community a new source of locally grown, fresh food.”

The Williamson Act is a landmark state law enacted in 1965 that is credited with preserving millions of acres of agricultural land that would otherwise have been lost to development.

AB 551 would allow a county or city to enter into a contract with a landowner within an urban area. The landowner would restrict the use of a contracted property to urban agriculture purposes for the period of the contract. Under the contract, the county or city would assess the value of the property at a lower rate, creating a tax incentive for the landowner to set the property for urban agricultural use.

“When I see urban gardens sprouting up throughout the city, I am inspired by them, and
I hope they will proliferate,” Ting added. “I’m hoping AB 551 will spur growth in the urban agriculture movement.”

AB 551 is sponsored by San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance, and has the support of San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu, Little City Gardens, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), Mission Pie, and dozens of community-based farming organizations throughout the state. AB 551 now moves to the California Senate for consideration.


Contact: Carol Chamberlain, 916-319-2019