On December 10, 2019, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to the Ventura County Land Conservation Act Guidelines. These amendments establish a Monitoring and Enforcement element to the Guidelines and authorize the County to initiate the nonrenewal process for breach of contracts. The updated LCA Guidelines can be found here.
FAQs for LCA Guideline Update
Q1: Will my property taxes increase if my Land Conservation Act (LCA) contract goes into nonrenewal?
Yes. The first year’s increase will typically be the most substantial.
Q2: When are the annual Agricultural Preserve Questionnaires mailed to contract holders?
The Agricultural Preserve Questionnaires are mailed to the owner of record for each property by mid-December. This is the same address that annual property tax bills are sent to. If you did not receive your form, please contact the Assessor’s Office to make sure your mailing address is correct. Forms may also be downloaded from the Assessor’s website here.
Q3: When are the completed (i.e. all questions on the form completed with all required information) Agricultural Preserve Questionnaires due to the Assessor?
Completed Agricultural Preserve Questionnaires are due to the Assessor postmarked by March 1st. If March 1st falls on a weekend, the completed forms need to be postmarked by the next business day. Incomplete forms will be returned to the contract holder and will not count as being received timely. Please refer to your cover letter for a detailed explanation of what information is needed for each question.
Q4: What happens if my completed Agricultural Preserve Questionnaire is not postmarked by the deadline?
Any contracts where the completed forms were not timely postmarked will be in non-compliance and the County may initiate nonrenewal.
Q5: Can I protest the County’s decision to non-renew my LCA contract?
Yes. If the landowner wishes to protest the County’s decision to non-renew the contract, the landowner must file an appeal form with the County. The completed appeal form, along with a fee deposit and a completed fee reimbursement agreement, must be received within 30 calendar days from the date of the County’s Notice of Nonrenewal. If the County’s Notice of Nonrenewal cites a landowner’s failure to timely submit a Questionnaire as the sole basis for the decision to non-renew the contract, then no fee deposit or reimbursement agreement is required to be submitted along with the appeal form. If a landowner timely protests a County decision to non-renew a contract in accordance with these requirements, a protest hearing shall be held at which the landowner may present testimony and evidence to support the landowner’s protest. These procedures are set forth in Section X.C on pages 23 and 24 of the revised LCA Guidelines.
Q6: Can I reapply for an LCA contract if my current contract is in nonrenewal?
Yes, the landowner may submit an LCA Contract application for review on or before the first Friday in June if the property is currently in nonrenewal. An LCA contract may be approved if the property meets the current eligibility requirements for the requested contract. LCA eligibility requirements and application information can found here.
Q7: How much of a tax reduction am I receiving by participating in a Land Conservation Act Contract?
Please contact the Assessor’s Office for a summary comparison of your Proposition 13 base year value, discounted Proposition 13 value and LCA value. The Assessor’s Office Rural Section staff are available, Monday – Friday, from 8:00am – 5:00pm at 805-654-2181.
On December 10, 2019, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to continue the County’s Land Conservation Act (LCA) program for the 2020 cycle. Click here to view the Board Letter. You may also view a video of the presentation and Board’s discussion by clicking on the “Agendas, Documents and Broadcasts” link at ww.ventura.org/board-of-supervisors.
The California Land Conservation Act (LCA) Program, also known as the “Williamson Act,” is a voluntary land conservation program adopted by the California Legislature in 1965 and administered by the County of Ventura since 1969 for the following purposes:
- To help preserve the limited and diminishing supply of agricultural land in the county through agricultural LCA Contracts
- To encourage production of food, fiber, and ornamental crops and commodities for local, regional, state, national and international markets
- To discourage premature conversion of agricultural land to nonagricultural land uses
- To help sustain and promote the county’s commercial agricultural industry and the direct, indirect, and imputed effect on the countywide and state economy
- To allow compatible uses within agricultural Contracts that do not hinder or compromise the existing or potential agricultural productivity of agricultural land
- To help preserve wildlife habitat areas through open space (wildlife habitat) LCA Contracts
- To allow compatible uses within open space LCA Contracts that do not adversely affect the preservation of wildlife habitat areas
How the Program Works
At the heart of the LCA Program is a contract between the County and qualifying landowners that restricts contracted land to agricultural or open space uses for either 10 years (LCA Contract) or 20 years (Farmland Security Zone Act, “FSZA"). In exchange for the land use restriction, the contracting landowner receives preferential property tax treatment.
The contract renews automatically annually unless the nonrenewal process is initiated by either party to the contract. Under nonrenewal, the contract term is not renewed annually, but “winds down” over the remaining 9 or 19 years of the contract term with taxes incrementally rising to the full, unrestricted, rate. Once the contract expires, the land is no longer restricted to agricultural or open space uses. Cancellation of the contract is also available to the landowner in extremely limited circumstances.
LCA contract application deadlines are as follows:
New LCA or FSZA contracts or Nonrenewal of a Portion of the Contract must be submitted no later than the first Friday in June to be effective the following calendar year.
Ventura County Planning Division
- LCA Guidelines
- LCA Program Information Brochure
- Open Space/Wildlife Habitat LCA Contracts
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding LCA Program
- Map of Land Currently Under LCA Contract
- Map of Land Currently In An Agricultural Preserve
Ventura County Assessor's Office LCA Contract Property Tax Information
State of California
- California Department of Conservation’s LCA (Williamson Act) Web page
- State Statutes for the Land Conservation Act
Prospective Applicant's Checklists for Determining LCA Contract Eligibility
- New 10-year Agricultural LCA Contract
- New 20-year Agricultural LCA Contract
- Rescission of Existing Contract and Re-entry into New Contract
- LCA Contract Involving a Lot Line Adjustment
- Special Area Contract
- Open Space/Wildlife Habitat LCA Contract
Additional checklists are not yet available online. If you have questions, please consult the LCA Guidelines and additional information on this webpage, or contact the LCA program planner.
Not all LCA application forms and supplemental materials for the different application types are available online at this time. Please contact the LCA Program planner to confirm that you have all the necessary application materials for your proposed contract type, or to obtain LCA application materials for an application type that is not yet posted here. A signed Reimbursement Agreement is required for all LCA application types.
- Agricultural LCA Contract
- Open Space/Wildlife Habitat LCA Contract
- Notice of Non-Renewal of an Entire LCA Contract (ENNR)
- Notice of Non-Renewal of a Portion of an LCA Contract (PNNR)