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El Dorado County Williamson Act Contract Information

The California Land Conservation Act of 1965, also known as the Williamson Act, was created to reduce increasing property taxes on agricultural land.  When the Act was adopted, rising property taxes were making it difficult for farmers and ranchers to stay on their land.  Under the Williamson Act, the owner of agricultural land may enter into a contract with the County if the landowner agrees to restrict the use of the land to the production of commercial crops or the raising and grazing of livestock for a term of not less than 10 years.  The term of the contract is automatically extended each year unless the landowner or the County serves a notice of nonrenewal.  The law also requires the County to establish an agricultural preserve (i.e. Exclusive Agricultural zoning) and base the property tax assessment on the land's ability to produce an agricultural income.


All lands subject to a Williamson Act or Farmland Security Contract are zoned "AE" (Exclusive Agricultural) or "AP" (Agricultural Preserve).  Certain restrictions apply to these zones that do not normally apply to other agricultural zone districts in the County.  The purpose of the AE and AP zones are to implement the California Land Conservation Act of 1965, and to encourage the sustainable use of farmland in the County for agricultural production.

Residential Use

El Dorado County Code Section 17.36.070 (D) restricts the residential use of land in an agricultural preserve to one dwelling unit per contract.  This applies even if the preserve consists of multiple parcels and multiple property owners.

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