Williamson Act (California Land Conservation Act)

The California Land Conservation Act of 1965--commonly referred to as the Williamson Act -- enables local governments to enter into contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting specific parcels of land to agricultural or related open space use. In return, landowners receive property tax assessments which are much lower than normal because they are based upon farming and open space uses as opposed to full market value.

The California Legislature passed the Williamson Act in 1965 to preserve agricultural and open space lands by discouraging premature and unnecessary conversion to urban uses. The Act creates an arrangement whereby private landowners contract with counties and cities to voluntarily restrict their land to agricultural and compatible open-space uses. The vehicle for these agreements is a rolling term 10-year contract (i.e., unless either party files a "notice of nonrenewal," the contract is automatically renewed for an additional year.). In return, restricted parcels are assessed for property tax purposes at a rate consistent with their actual use, rather then potential market value. Please see the Williamson Act Overview page for more historic information about the Program.

For more information: 

Contact Williamson Act (California Land Conservation Act)

California Department of Conservation, Division of Land Resource Protection
801 K Street
MS 18-01
Sacramento, California  95814
Phone: (916) 324-0850
Fax: (916) 327-3430


Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • California

Office Locaters

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