Assemblymember Ting's AB 551 would reduce blighted properties, provide locally grown food

For immediate release:

Sacramento - Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) received unanimous support in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee today for legislation to encourage urban farming. AB 551 would authorize counties to create urban agriculture incentive zones, and allow for reduced property taxes when a landowner allows small-scale food production on their land.

"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," Ting said.

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 would assess the value of the property at a lower rate, creating a tax incentive for the landowner to set the property aside for urban agricultural use.

"The urban agriculture movement is making invaluable contributions to a major, quality-of-life issue," Ting added. "Readily available fresh food should be accessible no matter where you live. Urban gardens are transformational and inspiring, and I hope AB 551 will help them flourish."

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 Appropriations Committee.

Assemblymember Ting is the Chair of Assembly Democratic Caucus and the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion, and he serves on the Budget, Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and the Revenue and Taxation committees.

Contact: Carol Chamberlain, (916) 319-2019