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It’s Time to Implement AB 857
Farmer with cherries
Photo: Amy Valente, San Joaquin County Farm Bureau

In 2002, the California state legislature passed a law known as AB 857, establishing priority goals for land use planning: promote urban infill and efficient development while protecting environmental and agricultural resources. It called on state agencies to review their programs, policies and infrastructure investment portfolios and align them with the planning goals. Not much happened to implement the law during the administrations of Governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But now the incumbent administration of Governor Jerry Brown has signaled its intention to make the goals of AB 857 a reality.

A month ago, the California Strategic Growth Council, a cabinet level body charged with advancing the goals of AB 857 and other state laws related to land use, issued a draft of its new strategic plan. The plan includes among its six core principles the advancement of AB 857’s planning goals, starting with the preparation of an Environmental Goals & Policy Report detailing how state agency programs stack up against those goals. In formal comments on the draft plan, AFT applauded the Strategic Growth Council for focusing on the long-delayed implementation of AB 857 and, in particular, its emphasis on protecting California’s most productive farmland from urban sprawl.

Read the Strategic Growth Council Draft Plan

Read American Farmland Trust Comments on the Draft Plan [PDF]

American Farmland Trust