Project Description

Agricultural Mitigation Program Feasibility Study & Implementation

The City of Visalia initiated a study to explore the necessity and feasibility of establishing an Agricultural Mitigation Program (AMP). The 2014 Visalia General Plan currently requires that an AMP be established before development in a new growth area can occur. However, recognizing that there have been changes in circumstances since adoption of the General Plan in 2014, the City Council directed staff to research the feasibility of agricultural mitigation programs prior to establishment of a program in Visalia.

Phase I of the effort included preparation of a Regulatory Framework, Farmland Preservation Best Practices & Established Programs Summary, and Data Collection & Mapping series to research identified changes in circumstances. These changes included:

  • New legislation intended to reduce the housing shortage
  • Recent case law that changed the appropriateness of conservation easements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • New water sustainability efforts under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

The potential impact of an agricultural mitigation program on the cost of residential construction was also considered.

Provost & Pritchard then prepared the Feasibility Study, which included alternatives for consideration by City Council for moving forward with implementation of an AMP, including an option to remove the requirement.

Based on direction from the City Council, Provost & Pritchard has initiated Phase II of the project, which is to remove the requirement for an AMP from the General Plan. Implementation includes revisions to the General Plan policy language and review of the proposed changes in accordance with CEQA.

Provost & Pritchard also created the outreach materials for this project including project flyers, workshop and hearing announcements, and display posters to effectively communicate project objectives and keep stakeholders informed throughout the process.

Project Details

DATE

Phase I: Feasibility Study completed in February 2021

Phase II: Implementation is ongoing (anticipated completion in August 2021)

LOCATION

Tulare County, California

CLIENT

City of Visalia

SERVICE CATAGORIES

Community Planning & Design

Long Range Planning