Chapter 17.16A


17.16A.010    Purpose and findings.

17.16A.020    Definitions.

17.16A.030    Plan for agricultural preservation.

17.16A.040    Cost of plan for agricultural preservation.

17.16A.050    City discretion to prepare or modify plan for agricultural preservation.

17.16A.060    Strategies to minimize loss of agricultural lands.

17.16A.070    Plan for agricultural preservation approval.

17.16A.080    Mitigation requirements.

17.16A.090    Acceptable mitigation measures.

17.16A.100    Mitigation lands.

17.16A.110    Conservation entity.

17.16A.120    Exceptions.

17.16A.010 Purpose and findings.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to establish an agricultural mitigation requirement prior to the annexation of land into the City or the expansion of the City’s sphere of influence. It is the intention of the City Council that this chapter implements the policies set forth in the City’s General Plan and the Solano County Local Agency Formation Commission’s Standards and Procedures.

B. The City Council finds and determines there is a strong public interest in the preservation of agricultural lands surrounding the City in order to maintain vital and essential historical, cultural, and economic resources to the community.

C. The City Council further finds it is in the interest of public health, safety, and general welfare to discourage urban sprawl, and preserve open space and prime agricultural lands by requiring agricultural mitigation when agricultural lands are being converted to nonagricultural purposes. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.020 Definitions.

The following words and phrases, whenever used in this chapter, unless the content indicates otherwise, shall be construed as defined in this section:

“Agricultural conservation easement” means an easement over agricultural land for the purpose of restricting its use to agriculture. The interest granted pursuant to an agricultural conservation easement is an interest in land which is less than fee simple. Agricultural conservation easements acquired shall be established in perpetuity (or shall be permanently protected from future development via enforceable deed restriction).

“Agricultural lands” means land currently used for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity for commercial purposes, land left fallow under crop rotational program, or land enrolled in an agricultural subsidy or set-aside program (Cal. Gov’t Code § 56016). As used in this section, “agricultural lands” also includes those lands defined in Cal. Gov’t Code § 56064 as “prime agricultural land” and those lands identified as “prime farmland,” “farmland of statewide importance,” and “unique farmland” as part of the California Department of Conservation’s Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program.

“Agricultural mitigation land” means agricultural land encumbered by an agricultural conservation easement or other conservation mechanism acceptable to the Local Agency Formation Commission.

“Applicant” means any natural person, joint venture, joint stock company, partnership, association, club, company, corporation, business, trust, or organization seeking approval or authorization from the City on an application or permit for property which is outside the Dixon City limits at the time the ordinance codified in this chapter becomes effective.

“Code” means the Dixon Municipal Code.

“Farmland deed restriction” means the creation of a deed restriction, covenant or condition which precludes the use of the agricultural land subject to the restriction for any nonagricultural purposes, use, operation or activity. The deed restriction shall provide that the land subject to the restriction will permanently remain agricultural land.

“Prime agricultural land” means an area of land, whether a single parcel or contiguous parcels, that has not been developed for a use other than an agricultural use and that meets any of the following qualifications:

1. Land that qualifies, if irrigated, for rating as class I or class II in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service land use capability classification, whether or not the land is actually irrigated; provided, that irrigation is feasible;

2. Land that qualifies for rating 80 through 100 Storie Index Rating;

3. Land that supports livestock used for the production of food and fiber and that has an annual carrying capacity equivalent to at least one (1) animal unit per acre as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture in the National Range and Pasture Handbook, Revision 1, December 2003;

4. Land planted with fruit or nut-bearing trees, vines, bushes, or crops that have a nonbearing period of less than five (5) years and that will return during the commercial bearing period on an annual basis from the production of unprocessed agricultural plant production not less than four hundred dollars ($400.00) per acre;

5. Land that has returned from the production of unprocessed agricultural plant products an annual gross value of not less than four hundred dollars ($400.00) per acre for three (3) of the previous five (5) calendar years (Cal. Gov’t Code § 56064); or

“Sphere of influence” means a plan for the probable physical boundaries and service area of a local agency, as determined by the Commission (Cal. Gov’t Code § 56076). The area around a local agency within which territory is eligible for annexation and the extension of urban services within a twenty (20) year period. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.030 Plan for agricultural preservation.

Every applicant seeking to annex agricultural land into the City limits or to expand the City’s existing sphere of influence to include agricultural land must first provide the City with a viable and enforceable plan for agricultural preservation which satisfies the Solano County Local Agency Formation Commission Agricultural Preservation Policy. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.040 Cost of plan for agricultural preservation.

The applicant shall pay all costs and expenses associated with preparing and submitting a plan for agricultural preservation and any amendments required by the Local Agency Formation Commission to obtain approval of the annexation or sphere of influence expansion and shall reimburse the City for all costs and expenses it incurs in the development, preparation, submittal and approval of the plan for agricultural preservation. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.050 City discretion to prepare or modify plan for agricultural preservation.

The City, at its sole and absolute discretion, may choose to prepare the plan for agricultural preservation for any Local Agency Formation Commission application and may alter or amend any plan for agricultural preservation which is submitted to it. In such event, any and all applicants seeking the annexation or expansion will be required to reimburse the City for its costs and expenses. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.060 Strategies to minimize loss of agricultural lands.

All plans for agricultural preservation must specify a proposed method or strategy to minimize the loss of agricultural lands. The plan for agricultural preservation shall provide for at least one (1) or a combination of the following mitigation measures:

A. Removal of agricultural lands from the City’s existing sphere of influence to offset, in whole or in part, a proposed sphere of influence expansion or redirection.

B. A policy or condition requiring agricultural mitigation at a ratio of at least 1:1 for all conversions of agricultural lands to nonagricultural uses. This can be achieved by acquisition and dedication of agricultural land, development rights or conservation easements to permanently protect agricultural land, or payment of in-lieu fees to fully fund the acquisition and maintenance of such agricultural land, development rights or easements.

C. A voter-approved urban growth boundary designed to limit the extent to which urban development can occur during a specified time period.

D. Another mitigation measure which is approved by the City Council as an adequate measure for the mitigation of the potential agricultural losses. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.070 Plan for agricultural preservation approval.

A plan for agricultural preservation must be approved by the City Planner for every project that is subject to this chapter before the City issues a grading permit, building permit, or final map approval. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.080 Mitigation requirements.

Before a grading permit, building permit, or final map approval can be issued for a site which is annexed into the City or added to the City’s sphere of influence after this chapter becomes effective and which contains agricultural lands to be converted to nonagricultural uses, the applicant must have a mitigation measure in place to ensure the preservation of agricultural lands. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.090 Acceptable mitigation measures.

Agricultural mitigation can be achieved by one (1) of the following measures:

A. Acquiring and dedicating to the City, or a qualifying entity approved by the City, agricultural land and development rights to create an agricultural conservation easement to permanently protect agricultural land, at a ratio of 1:1 for every acre of agricultural land that is converted to nonagricultural uses.

B. By payment of an in-lieu fee which is established to cover the actual cost of purchasing agricultural conservation easements on a 1:1 ratio pursuant to Chapter 4.09 DMC. The in-lieu fee option must be approved by the City Council. Any in-lieu fee paid to the City shall be used for agricultural mitigation purposes, including but not limited to agricultural conservation easements and farmland deed restrictions, with priority given to prime agricultural farmlands. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.100 Mitigation lands.

Any land acquired for the purpose of mitigating agricultural loss under this chapter must be:

A. Of equal or better soil quality than the land that will be converted.

B. Have a dependable and sustainable supply of irrigation water, and be located within Solano County.

C. Not already effectively encumbered by a conservation easement of any nature. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.110 Conservation entity.

Any entity entrusted under this chapter for the conservation of agriculture must be a City or a public or nonprofit agency that has the legal and technical ability to hold and administer agricultural preservation easements and in-lieu fees for the purposes of conserving and maintaining lands in agricultural production, and has adopted written standards, policies and practices under which it is operating. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]

17.16A.120 Exceptions.

The following applications are exempt from the requirement for a plan for agricultural preservation and its implementation, unless determined otherwise by the Local Agency Formation Commission.

A. Proposals consisting solely of the inclusion of lands owned by a City or special district and currently used by that agency for public uses.

B. Proposals which have been shown to have no significant impact to agricultural lands, including, but not limited to:

1. Proposals consisting solely of lands which are substantially developed with urban uses.

2. Proposals brought forth for the purpose of providing irrigation water to agricultural lands. [Ord. 14-001 § 2; Ord. 14-006 § 2.]