A Williamson Act Contract is the legal document that obligates the property owner, and any successors of interest, to the contract’s enforceable restrictions.
The minimum term for a contract is 10 years. However, some jurisdictions exercise the option of making the term longer, up to twenty years. Contracts renew automatically every year unless nonrenewed.
Cancellation - Only the landowner can petition to cancel a contract. To approve a tentative contract cancellation, a county or city must make specific findings that are supported by substantial evidence. The existence of an opportunity for another use of the property is not sufficient reason for cancellation. In addition, the uneconomic character of an existing agricultural use shall not, by itself, be a sufficient reason to cancel a contract. The landowner must pay a cancellation fee equal to 12.5 percent of the unrestricted, current fair market valuation of the property.
A Williamson Act contract runs with the land and is binding on all successors in interest of the landowner.
In the case of a breach of a contract, the local government may seek a court injunction to enforce the terms of the contract. Structures permitted or built after January 1, 2004, exceeding 2,500 square feet that are not allowed under the Williamson Act or contract, local uniform rules or ordinances and exceed 2,500 square feet are material breaches of contract and may be subject to penalties of 25% of the value of the affected land and 25% of the value of any improvements