RAPID/Roadmap/13-CA-a

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

California State Land Use Assessment Overview (13-CA-a)

California has two particularized land use considerations developers must consider for renewable energy projects. First, projects that are located in or near a coastal zone as defined in the California Coastal Act, may require one or more coastal related permits. Second, projects on land under a Williamson Act or Farmland Security Zone contract may qualify for a solar-use easement.


State Land Use Assessment Overview Process

13-CA-a.1 to 13-CA-a.2 Is the Project Located in or Likely to Affect a Coastal Zone?

Under Cal. Pub. Res. Code § 30103, “coastal zone” means the land and water area of the State of California from the Oregon border to the border of the Republic of Mexico extending seaward to the state's outer limit of jurisdiction, including all offshore islands, and extending inland generally 1,000 yards from the mean high tide line of the sea. The width of inland coastal zone land can vary from several hundred feet in some areas to up to five miles in others. Cal. Pub. Res. Code § 30103.

Projects located in or likely to affect a coastal zone in California may require one or more coastal related permits. Even projects located outside of a coastal zone may invoke federal consistency review processes. The test for federal consistency review is whether there would be effects on coastal zone uses or resources, as those terms are defined in 15 CFR § 930.11(g). For a complete description of the coastal process, see

Coastal Land Use Assessment:
13-CA-b

13-CA-a.3 to 13-CA-a.5 Is the Land Under a Williamson Act or Farmland Security Zone Contract?

Chapter 6.9 of the California Government Code allows a private landowner, with land encumbered by either a Williamson Act contract or a Farmland Security Zone contract, to rescind the contract and simultaneously enter into a solar-use easement. Projects on land under a Williamson Act or Farmland Security Zone contract may be eligible for a Solar-Use Easement. For a complete description of the process, see

Solar-Use Easement:
13-CA-d




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Edit California Energy Commission
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415-904-5400

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