Judge Rules Farm Bureau Can Sue Fresno County; Solar Projects Violate Williamson Act
Fearing other projects will be released from farming commitments, California Farm Bureau officials filed suit against the county. They allege the supervisors aren't meeting Williamson Act terms for contract cancellation.
California County News, July 9, 2012
In the latest twist to the ongoing legal battle over solar development on farmland, a Superior Court judge recently ruled that the California Farm Bureau Federation can in fact sue Fresno County over its decision to allow a landowner to install solar panels on land protected by the Williamson Act. The issue has remained prominent in the region because supervisors have approved a variety of solar projects and many more are awaiting approval. This troubles the Farm Bureau, hence the litigation.
The case is centered on a 90-acre solar plant on agricultural land near Interstate 5 because it was one of the first to be removed from the state's Williamson Act development restrictions. Farm Bureau officials and agriculturalists are concerned about the amount of solar projects proposed for a top agricultural county like Fresno and the effect it could have on production and the conservation of prime farmland. A spokesperson for the Bureau stated, “Our state's farmers and ranchers support renewable energy, but we'd like to see energy-production facilities placed on marginal or less-productive farmland so we can preserve the best soils for growing food.”
By releasing land from farming commitments in order to turn toward solar production ...