Calif. Court Affirms Right To Protect Farmland

Growing Produce.  7 December 2010.  California’s agricultural economy and culture deserve protection. That was the conclusion of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in a unanimous decision on Monday. The Court upheld a Stanislaus County ordinance requiring developers to protect one acre of farmland for every acre they convert to large-scale residential use. The decision overturns a Superior Court ruling that found in favor of the Building Industry Association (BIA), which challenged the County’s farmland mitigation program (FMP).   With developers pressing to convert farmland to residential subdivisions and other uses throughout agricultural California, this case is likely to have a significant impact throughout the state, particularly in cities and counties with significant swaths of agricultural land.

“The Court of Appeal recognized the County’s right to protect farmland as part of its well-established authority to regulate land use,” commented Matthew Zinn of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, who represented the County in the case. “This sweeping opinion provides strong support for local governments seeking to protect farmland and the agricultural economy and culture it supports. The ruling will give cities and counties throughout California the confidence they need to ensure that developers mitigate the impact of new development on farmland.”  read more