URBAN AGRICULTURE INCENTIVE ZONE

What is the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone?  The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone, or “UAIZ,” is a policy that allows owners of vacant land to be taxed at a lower, agricultural rate (rather than a residential or commercial rate) if they use the land for agricultural uses for at least five years.

What qualifies as “agricultural uses”?  Currently, the California Government Code 51040.3 (c) includes the following activities in the definition of agriculture uses: "farming in all its branches including, but not limited to, the cultivation and tillage of the soil, the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural products, the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, dairy-producing animals, and poultry, agricultural education, the sale of produce through field retail stands or farms stands as defined by Article 5 (commencing with Section 47030) of Chapter 10.5 of Division 17 of the Food and Agricultural Code, and any practices performed by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with farming operations. For purposes of this chapter, the term 'agricultural use' does not include timber production." 

Why is there a minimum five-year contract?  The minimum five-year term ensures that farmers or gardeners have an adequate time to invest in the soil and growing infrastructure. This term is formalized by a contract that the owner signs at the time of application. The owner can engage in the agricultural activity themselves, or can enter into a contract with a local farmer/gardener. If the landowner breaks the contract before the five-year period elapses, the landowner must pay the taxes that would have been incurred without the tax break.

Is my property eligible for the UAIZ tax reduction?  Your property is eligible for the UAIZ tax reduction if ALL of the following are true:

  • The property is within the UAIZ area on ZIMAS: http://zimas.lacity.org

  • The property is vacant or unimproved (i.e. no existing buildings)

  • The size of the property is between 0.1 and 3 acres (4,356 – 130,680 sf)

  • The property has obtained any necessary land use entitlements (i.e. Coastal Development Permit)

  • The site is notlisted on DTSC Envirostor Database: https://www.envirostar.dtsc.ca.gov/public

How do I apply for the UAIZ tax reduction for properties in the City of Los Angeles?  Compared to other land use applications for the City of LA, this one is relatively easy! You can download the current application here or under the “Forms” tab at planning.lacity.org. The application package includes:

  • UAIZ Application Form, signed and notarized by landowner Download

  • A basic site plan

  • A color photo exhibit

  • The grant deed

  • Proof of ownership

  • Copy of most recent tax bill

  • A Project Planning Referral Form (PPRF) if the site is located within a Specific Plan or Overlay Zone

  • Copy of any property entitlements, if applicable

  • Digital files of the application package on a CD or flashdrive

How do I apply for the UAIZ tax reduction for properties in Unincorporated LA County?  The LA County Department of Regional Planning has conveniently created this following website to help applicants with the UAIZ application process: http://planning.lacounty.gov/uaiz

This is overwhelming! Can I get some help?  Yes! Open Silo and the Los Angeles Food Policy Council are here to help landowners understand the UAIZ policy, connect to local farmers/gardeners, and apply for their UAIZ tax reduction. Open Silo can also help you prepare the UAIZ application package and submit it to the Department of City Planning for a modest consultant fee.

Open Silo

Contact: Jes McBride   |   jes@opensilo.org   |   304-804-OPEN  (-6736)

LA Food Policy Council

Contact: Rosana Franco   |   rfranco@goodfoodla.org   |   213-473-3546