Agricultural Conversion Study Example
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Agricultural Conversion Study Example Agricultural Conversion Study Example Document Transcript

  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexDraft EIR Appendix B: Agricultural Land Conversion StudyMichael Brandman AssociatesH:Client (PN-JN)320532050001DEIR32050001_Sec99-00 Appendix Dividers.doc
  • Agricultural Land Conversion Study Tulare Motor Sports Complex City of Tulare, Tulare County, California Prepared for: City of Tulare 411 East Kern Avenue Tulare, CA 93274 559.684.4217Contact: Mr. Mark S. Kielty A.I.C.P., Planning and Building Director Prepared by: Michael Brandman Associates 2444 W. Main Street, Suite 215 Fresno, CA 93721 559.497.0310 Contact: Dave Mitchell, Senior Project Manager January 30, 2008
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Table of Contents TABLE OF CONTENTSSection 1: Executive Summary............................................................................................1Section 2: Introduction .........................................................................................................3 2.1 - Project Location and Setting ............................................................................................. 3 2.2 - Purpose of Study............................................................................................................... 6 2.3 - Farmland Designations ..................................................................................................... 6 2.4 - Land Conservation (Williamson) Act ................................................................................. 9 2.5 - Land under the Williamson Land Use Contract in the County of Tulare......................... 12 2.6 - Trends of Agricultural Conversion in Tulare County ....................................................... 12 2.7 - City of Tulare and County of Tulare Provisions............................................................... 14 2.7.1 - City of Tulare.......................................................................................................... 14 2.7.2 - County of Tulare .................................................................................................... 17Section 3: Regional Setting................................................................................................20 3.1 - State of California Agricultural Production ...................................................................... 20 3.2 - Tulare County Agricultural Production ............................................................................ 20Section 4: Project Setting...................................................................................................21 4.1 - Existing Site Conditions................................................................................................... 21 4.2 - Historical Aerial Photographs .......................................................................................... 21 4.3 - Soils................................................................................................................................. 22 4.4 - Water ............................................................................................................................... 26 4.5 - Climate ............................................................................................................................ 27Section 5: Agricultural Land Conversion Impacts...........................................................28 5.1 - City of Tulare General Plan Factors................................................................................ 28 5.2 - California Agricultural Land Evaluation and Site Assessment Model ............................. 29 5.2.1 - Land Evaluation Factors ........................................................................................ 30 5.2.2 - Site Assessment Factors ....................................................................................... 31 5.2.3 - Final LESA Scoring................................................................................................ 33 5.2.4 - Threshold of Significance ...................................................................................... 34Section 6: Conclusions ......................................................................................................35Section 7: Resources..........................................................................................................36 LIST OF TABLESTable 1: Summary of Adjacent Streets and Property Usage ................................................................. 6Table 2: Acreage of Agricultural Lands under Contract in Tulare County............................................ 12Table 3: Acreage of New Enrollment for Agricultural Lands under Contract in Tulare County............ 13Table 4: Acreage of Farmland Security Transfers in Tulare County .................................................... 13Table 5: Acreage of Cumulative Non-Renewal for Agricultural Lands under Contract in Tulare County ..................................................................................................................... 13Table 6: Current and Projected Important Farmland Land Use within the City of Tulare .................... 15Table 7: City of Tulare Goals and Policies for the Protection of Agriculture ........................................ 16Michael Brandman Associates iiH:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Table of ContentsTable 8: County of Tulare Policies for the Protection of Agriculture..................................................... 17Table 9: Aerial Photography Summary ................................................................................................ 21Table 10: Average Precipitation and Temperature for City of Tulare................................................... 27Table 11: Project Consistency with City of Tulare Goals and Policies for the Protection of Agriculture........................................................................................................................... 28Table 12: LESA Factors and Percentages ........................................................................................... 33Table 13: LESA Scores ........................................................................................................................ 33Table 14: California Agricultural LESA Model Scoring Thresholds ...................................................... 34 LIST OF EXHIBITSExhibit 1: Regional Location Map ........................................................................................................... 4Exhibit 2: Local Vicinity Map Topographic Base .................................................................................... 5Exhibit 3: Local Vicinity Map Aerial Base ............................................................................................... 7Exhibit 4: Important Farmland Designations ........................................................................................ 10Exhibit 5: Williamson Act Contracts within the Project Site .................................................................. 11Exhibit 6: USDA Soils Map ................................................................................................................... 23Exhibit 7: Parcels within Zone of Influence........................................................................................... 32Michael Brandman Associates iiiH:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Executive SummarySECTION 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThis Agricultural Land Conversion Study addresses the conversion of 751.35 acres of agriculturalland, located within the unincorporated portion of Tulare County and within the City of Tulare UrbanArea Boundary (Planning Area), to entertainment commercial land uses. With the conversion ofagricultural land to non-agricultural uses comes the potential for socioeconomic and environmentalimpacts, which until recently were not qualitatively and consistently considered in the environmentalreview process. This study intends to provide a determination of the project’s potential tosignificantly impact agricultural resources, using the Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA)system, an analytical approach for rating the relative quality of land resources, based upon specificmeasurable features. Furthermore, this agricultural land conversion study evaluates the proposedproject’s potential impact to agricultural lands, utilizing factors identified in the City of Tulare 2030General Plan Update; the City of Tulare General Plan Update Goals & Policies Report, December2007; the Draft EIR for the City of Tulare 2030 General Plan Update; and the 1993 City of TulareGeneral Plan. Because of a significant lack of agricultural land within the City of Tulare city limits,the City’s General Plan does not contain an Agricultural Element. To gain a regional perspective, the2007 County of Tulare General Plan Update, the 2007 County of Tulare General Plan UpdateBackground Report, and 2007 Draft EIR for the County of Tulare General Plan Update were alsoreviewed.The California Legislature passed the Williamson Act in 1965 to preserve agricultural and open spacelands by discouraging premature and unnecessary conversion to urban uses. The Williamson Actcreates an arrangement whereby private landowners contract with counties and cities to voluntarilyrestrict land to agricultural and open-space uses. The vehicle for these agreements is a rolling-term,10-year contract. In return, restricted parcels are assessed property taxes at a rate consistent with theiractual use, rather than potential market value.The project site contains 418.72 acres of land under Williamson Act contracts (Agricultural PreserveNo. 0000277), which will need to be cancelled in order to implement the development.Implementation of the proposed project would result in a significant impact from the conversion of751.35 acres of agricultural land; however, the loss of agricultural land within the City and County asa result of urban development is part of an overall trend within the San Joaquin Valley. A statementof overriding considerations would be necessary for the development of the proposed project.According to the California Agricultural LESA Model Threshold of Significance, the total score of85.6 points for the subject property shows that the conversion of agricultural land to non-agriculturaluse resulting from the proposed project would be considered a potentially significant environmentalimpact. The significant impact is due largely to the soil quality (prime farmland), availability ofirrigation water, and project size. Because of the significance of the conversion of the subjectproperty to non-agricultural uses, mitigation measures are recommended. The City of Tulare hasMichael Brandman Associates 1H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Executive Summaryincorporated specific policies into its General Plan Update with which the proposed project will berequired to comply, including suggested mitigation measures.Michael Brandman Associates 2H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study IntroductionSECTION 2: INTRODUCTIONThe City of Tulare and the County of Tulare, along with the rest of the fertile San Joaquin Valley,continue to see rapid population growth. Balancing the demand for development with the need toconserve important agricultural resources is becoming increasingly challenging. Convertingagricultural lands for urban uses requires a careful, project-specific evaluation of direct, indirect, andcumulative impacts. This agricultural land conversion study evaluates the proposed project’spotential impact to agricultural lands, utilizing factors identified in the 1993 City of Tulare GeneralPlan, the City of Tulare 2030 General Plan Update, the County of Tulare 2025 General Plan Update,and the California Department of Conservation’s California Agricultural Land Evaluation and SiteAssessment Model (LESA).2.1 - Project Location and SettingThe proposed 751.35-acre Tulare Motor Sports Complex is located in Tulare County, California inthe San Joaquin Valley (Exhibit 1). The project site is situated on existing agricultural land along thesoutheastern city limits of the City of Tulare and is located between Laspina Street (west) and TurnerDrive (east, northeast), Paige Avenue (north), Road 124 (east), and Hosfield Road (south). The site isadjacent to the International Agri-Center site along its eastern boundary and north of the Tulare GolfCourse and Tulare Airport (Mefford Field). Elk Bayou, forms the southern boundary of the proposedsite, which is entirely located within unincorporated Tulare County but within the City of Tulare’sUrban Area Boundary (Planning Area).The site is located on portions of the following Tulare,California, United States Geologic Survey 7.5 minute topographical maps within the Mount DiabloBaseline and Meridian (Exhibit 2). • Section 24, Township 20S, Range 24E • Section 19 Township 20S, Range 25E • Section 25, Township 20S, Range 24E • Section 30, Township 20S, Range 25EThe project site is situated on the north bank of Elk Bayou, which flows northeast to southwestthrough the County of Tulare. The proposed site is characterized by flat relief, gently sloping towardthe southwest, resulting in a slope of elevation from approximately 285 feet to 275 feet above meansea level.The majority of the site is owned or under contract for development by the Tulare Motor SportsComplex, L.P. The site, currently under agricultural production, primarily grows crops consisting ofcorn/silage and cotton. The project site contains 418.72 acres within a portion of AgriculturalPreserve 0000277 and is currently under Williamson Act Contracts, which will require contractcancellation prior to project initiation.Michael Brandman Associates 3H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study IntroductionThe site contains three residential dwellings on its mid-eastern boundary and one residential structureon the southern boundary. No other structures are present onsite.The footprint of the proposed project is a 751.35-acre area and primarily contains field cropsthroughout the site. Approximately 8.5 acres contain disturbed plant communities from residentialuse. Bates Slough drainage ditch travels through the site in a north to south direction on the easternside of the project footprint and discharges into retention basins located at the end of each drainageditch. A vicinity map is included as Exhibit 3. Table 1 identifies adjacent streets and property uses.Properties along the east contain irrigated agriculture with scattered homes. Properties to the westcontain agriculture, a housing development, and commercial mixed use. Irrigated agricultural landsand homes border the north and south. Table 1: Summary of Adjacent Streets and Property Usage Direction Adjacent Street Adjacent Property Use North East Page Avenue Agriculture, homes South Avenue 200 Agriculture, homes, dairies East Road 124 Agriculture, homes, dairies West South Laspina Street International Agri-Center, golf course, Tulare Municipal Airport, Elk Bayou Soccer Complex Source: Michael Brandman Associates, 2007.2.2 - Purpose of StudyThe conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses has the potential for socioeconomic andenvironmental impacts, which until recently were not qualitatively and consistently considered in theenvironmental review process. This study intends to provide a determination of the project’spotential to significantly impact agricultural resources, using the Land Evaluation and SiteAssessment (LESA) system, which is an analytical approach for rating the relative quality of landresources based upon specific measurable features.2.3 - Farmland DesignationsThe California Department of Conservation has designated seven categories of Important Farmland:Prime Farmland has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for cropproduction. It has the soil quality, growing seasons, and moisture supply needed to produce sustainedhigh yield crops when treated and managed, including water management, according to currentfarming methods. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service Web Soil Survey,approximately 88.5-percent of the site is in this category.Michael Brandman Associates 6H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study IntroductionFarmland of Statewide Importance is land other than prime farmland that has a good combinationof physical and chemical characteristics for the production of crops, and has been used for theproduction of irrigated crops within the last 3 years. This is farmland similar to Prime Farmland butwith minor shortcomings, such as greater slopes or less ability to store soil moisture. Approximately11.5-percent of the project site is in this category.Unique Farmland does not meet the criteria for Prime Farmland or Farmland of StatewideImportance; it is land that is currently used for the production of specific crops of high economicvalue. It is farmland with soils of lesser quality, used for the production of the State’s leadingagricultural crops. This land is usually irrigated but may include non-irrigated orchards or vineyardsas found in some climatic zones in California. It has the special combination of soil quality, location,growing season and moisture supply needed to produce sustained high quality or high yields ofspecific crops (e.g., oranges, olives, avocados, cut flowers) when treated and managed according tocurrent farming methods. This category excludes abandoned orchards or vineyards. No portion ofthe project site is in this category.Farmland of Local Importance produces crops or has the capability of production. It is other thanPrime, Statewide Importance, or Unique Farmland. It may be important to the local economybecause of its productivity. A local advisory committee set up by the Soil Conservation Service(SCS) in each county initially identified Farmland of Local Importance. No portion of the project siteis in this category.Grazing Land is land on which the existing vegetation, whether grown naturally or throughmanagement, is suitable for grazing or browsing of livestock. It is identified in minimum mappingunits of 40 acres and does not include land previously identified above. No portion of the project siteis in this category.Urban and Built-up Land is occupied by structures with a building density of at least one unit to 1.5acres, or approximately six structures to a 10-acre parcel. This land is used for residential, industrial,commercial, construction, institutional, public administration, railroad and other transportation yards,cemeteries, airports, golf courses, sanitary landfills, sewage treatment, water control structures, andother developed purposes. No portion of the project site is in this category.Other Land is not included in any of the other mapping categories and generally includes low-density rural developments; brush, timber, wetland, and riparian areas not suitable for livestockgrazing; confined livestock, poultry, or aquaculture facilities; strip mines; borrow pits; and waterbodies smaller than 40 acres. Vacant and nonagricultural land surrounded on all sides by urbandevelopment and greater than 40 acres is mapped as Other Land. No portion of the project site is inthis category.Michael Brandman Associates 8H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Introduction2.4 - Land Conservation (Williamson) ActThe California Legislature passed the Williamson Act in 1965 to preserve agricultural and open spacelands by discouraging premature and unnecessary conversion to urban uses. The Act creates anarrangement whereby private landowners contract with counties and cities to voluntarily restrict landto agricultural and open-space uses. The vehicle for these agreements is a rolling-term, 10-yearcontract (that is, unless either party files a “notice of nonrenewal,” the contract is automaticallyrenewed annually for an additional year, in keeping with the 10-year term). In return, restrictedparcels are assessed property taxes at a rate consistent with their actual use, rather than at potentialmarket value.Land Conservation Act contracts are difficult to cancel, and owners wishing to cancel existingcontracts must petition the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. To approve a tentative contractcancellation, the County Board of Supervisors must determine that such action is in the public benefitand that no other non-contracted land is available that can be used for the purpose. The existence ofan 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 be, by itself, a sufficient reason tocancel a contract. Withdrawing lands from the contract before the end of the 10-year contract periodmeans that a substantial financial penalty will be levied by the County to the landowner. Thelandowner must pay a cancellation fee equal to 12.5 percent of the unrestricted, current fair-marketvaluation of the property.The State Department of Conservation passed legislation in 1998 to further encourage thepreservation of agricultural and open space lands at the local level, through Farmland Security Zones.A Farmland Security Zone is an area created within an agricultural preserve by the Board ofSupervisors upon request by a landowner or group of landowners. An agricultural preserve definesthe boundary of an area within which a city or county will enter into contracts with landowners. Thelegislation allows individual counties to establish an additional program for farmlands to enter intocontract with the State to receive a similar benefit as the Williamson Act Contract. The FarmlandSecurity Zone Contract is a 20-year, self-renewing contract that allows property owners withqualifying parcels to receive an additional 35-percent tax savings above what is received under theWilliamson Act Contract.The site contains two parcels with Williamson Act Contracts. APN 191-130-005 and APN191-400-001 are under contract number 02689 and are located in agricultural preserve #0000277. Noother contracts exist onsite. Exhibit 4 shows the Important Farmland Designations for the project site.Exhibit 5 shows the parcels under Williamson Act Contract within the project site.Michael Brandman Associates 9H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Introduction2.5 - Land under the Williamson Land Use Contract in the County of TulareAs shown in Table 2, there were 1,102,477 acres of land in Tulare County under the Williamson ActLand Use Contract as of 2005 and 11,072 acres under the Farmland Security Zone Contract. Bothcontracts require that lands be within an established Agricultural Preserve. Agricultural lands that arenot in a preserve face the greatest threat for conversion, as they are assessed higher property taxesbecause of their proximity to urbanization. Table 2: Acreage of Agricultural Lands under Contract in Tulare County Land Conservation Act Farmland Security Zone Year Total Non- Non- Prime Total Urban Total Prime Urban 2005 590,287 512,190 1,102,477 11,072 — 11,072 1,114,235 2004 590,492 511,894 1,102,386 10,727 — 10,727 1,113,113 2003 591,917 511,480 1,103,397 9,039 — 9,039 1,112,436 2002 593,597 511,536 1,105,133 9,001 — 9,001 1,114,134 2001 594,218 511,697 1,105,915 8,348 — 8,348 1,114,263 2000 599,132 511,544 1,110,676 2,550 — 2,550 1,113,226 Source: California Department of Conservation, 2002, 2004, 2006.2.6 - Trends of Agricultural Conversion in Tulare CountyTrends in Tulare County agricultural land conversion are shown in Table 3, Table 4 and Table 5.New enrollment of agricultural lands has fluctuated. In 2000, there were 900 acres enrolled into theWilliamson Contract or Farmland Security Zone Contract in Tulare County. In 2001, new enrollmentof agricultural lands into the Williamson Contract or Farmland Security Zone Contract increased to3,888 acres in Tulare County. Over the past 6 years, the average amount of agricultural landsenrolled into the Williamson Contract or Farmland Security Zone Contract has been 1,550 acres peryear. In 2000, 2,550 acres were transferred from the Williamson Contract to the Farmland SecurityZone Contract; by 2005, transfers had decreased to 81 acres. In addition, there are 5,917 acres ofprime farmland and 370 acres of non-prime farmland that were considered non-contract lands,meaning the respective landowners have requested non-renewal of their contract and are in theprocess of backing out of the contract.Michael Brandman Associates 12H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Introduction Table 3: Acreage of New Enrollment for Agricultural Lands under Contract in Tulare County Land Conservation Act Farmland Security Zone Year Total Prime Non-Prime Urban Non-Urban 2005 583 456 264 — 1,303 2004 242 470 268 — 980 2003 86 472 38 — 596 2002 512 870 252 — 1,634 2001 1,698 1,821 369 — 3,888 2000 522 378 — — 900 Source: California Department of Conservation, 2002, 2004, 2006. Table 4: Acreage of Farmland Security Transfers in Tulare County Land Conservation Act Farmland Security Zone Year Prime Non-Prime Urban Non-Urban 2005 -81 — 81 — 2004 -1,420 — 1,420 — 2003 — — — — 2002 -401 — — 401 2001 -5,510 — 5,510 — 2000 -2,550 — 2,550 — Source: California Department of Conservation, 2002, 2004, 2006. Table 5: Acreage of Cumulative Non-Renewal for Agricultural Lands under Contract in Tulare County Land Conservation Act Farmland Security Zone Year Total Prime Non-Prime Urban Non-Urban 2005 5,917 370 ― ― 6,287 2004 4,273 370 ― ― 4,643 2003 3,448 370 ― ― 3,818 2002 3,085 815 ― ― 3,900 2001 2,750 815 ― ― 3,565 2000 2,549 816 ― ― 3,365 Source: California Department of Conservation, 2002, 2004, 2006.Michael Brandman Associates 13H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Introduction2.7 - City of Tulare and County of Tulare Provisions2.7.1 - City of TulareThe City of Tulare’s Environmental Impact Report for the 1993 General Plan included the followingmitigation measures in its EIR to mitigate the loss of agricultural land: • An urban reserve land use designation to avoid premature development. • Elimination of the “large lot development designation” that was used in the previous land use element. This, in turn, may eliminate the County’s 1-acre size lot development within the City’s sphere of influence, because such development would be inconsistent with the City’s density limitation of 2 to 7 units per acre. • The City’s industrial goal of maintaining and encouraging agriculture-related industries.Even with the incorporation of mitigation measures, the loss of agricultural land remained asignificant impact. The City of Tulare adopted a statement of overriding considerations for adverseimpacts due to the loss agricultural land for the Environmental Impact Report prepared for the 1993General Plan.The project site is currently under the County of Tulare’s jurisdiction. The portion of the site outsidethe City of Tulare’s Urban Growth Boundary is within the County’s Rural Valley Lands Plan(RVLP). The purpose of the RVLP is to protect and maintain the agricultural viability of rural valleyareas by establishing requirements for exclusive agricultural zoning. The entire site is proposed forannexation into the City of Tulare. The project site is currently designated as A-Agricultural by theCity of Tulare General Plan Land Use Diagram. APN 191-100-004 contains a County zoning ofAE-20 – Exclusive Agricultural Zone 20 acre minimum, while the remainder of the site containsCounty zoning AE-40 – Exclusive Agricultural Zoning 40 acre minimum. The City of Tulare 2030General Plan Update, the adoption of which is expected in April 2008, will change the sitedesignation to Entertainment Commercial. The applicant proposes to change the zoning to C-4(service commercial) and C-3 MU (retail commercial-mixed use).Because of the lack of agricultural land within the City limits, the 1993 and the 2030 General Plansdo not contain an agricultural element. The 1993 Tulare General Plan EIR, dated December 15,1992, also did not contain an analysis of impacts to agricultural conversion because of the lack ofagricultural land within the City.The City of Tulare included several policies in its Conservation and Open Space Element of its 2030General Plan Update (see Policies COS-3.2, COS-3.3, COS-3.9, COS-3.10, and COS-3.11) toconserve the City’s existing agricultural resources. Despite these policies, the City has projected thatbuildout of its General Plan will result in the conversion of 11,546 acres of agricultural land (seeTable 6). The City of Tulare concluded that the loss of agricultural land from the buildout of theGeneral Plan would be a significant and unavoidable impact. In order to approve the 2030 GeneralMichael Brandman Associates 14H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study IntroductionPlan Update and its associated EIR, the City will need to adopt a statement of overridingconsiderations. The statement of overriding considerations must be made on the basis of findings thatspecific economic, social, or other considerations make infeasible the mitigation measures or projectalternatives identified in the EIR for the 2030 General Plan Update. The City will also have to findthat changes or alterations have been required in, or incorporated into, the General Plan Update,which avoid or substantially lessen the significant environmental effect on agricultural land. Table 6: Current and Projected Important Farmland Land Use within the City of Tulare Land Type Existing Land General Plan Land Converted to (Acres) Buildout Land Non-Agricultural (Acres) Use (Acres) Farmland of Local Importance 1,429.71 908.00 522.00 Prime Farmland 22,212.54 8,081.00 14,131.00 Farmland of Statewide Importance 4,082.09 2,520.00 1,562.00 Unique Farmland 193.87 37.00 157.00 TOTAL 27,918.21 11,546.00 16,372.00 Notes: Existing and future land acreages may not match because of rounding Source: City of Tulare 2007a.Under the City of Tulare 2030 General Plan Update, select areas devoted to the production ofirrigated crops, or having the potential for such use, are designated as either A-Agriculture or UR-Urban Reserve. The City of Tulare’s Municipal Code describes the purpose of the agricultural zonein Section 10.84.010 as a desire to preserve lands suited for agriculture from encroachment ofincompatible uses, and to preserve agriculture and undeveloped lands around the City for future urbandevelopment. In comparison, the purpose of the Urban Reserve zoning located in Municipal CodeSection 10.88.010 is to preserve undeveloped lands, including agricultural land around the City, untilconversion to urban uses is determined appropriate and feasible.The City of Tulare 2030 General Plan Update does not include an Agricultural Element; however, theprotection of agricultural lands is a priority of the City’s Conservation and Open Space Element. TheCity of Tulare has identified agriculture as a vital component of its economic base and the region.The City of Tulare adopted a new goal COS-3, “…to promote the productivity of agricultural landssurrounding Tulare and the continued viability of Tulare County agriculture,” as part of its GeneralPlan Update. A summary of applicable goals and policies is provided in Table 7.Michael Brandman Associates 15H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Introduction Table 7: City of Tulare Goals and Policies for the Protection of Agriculture Goal Source COS-3: To promote the productivity of agricultural lands New Goal, 2030 General Plan Update surrounding Tulare and the continued viability of Tulare County agriculture. COS-3.1 Protect Interim Agricultural Activity: The City Source: City of Tulare 1993 General Plan; shall protect the viability of existing interim agricultural Land Use Element; Agriculture: Goal 1 activity in the Planning Area to the extent possible. COS-3.2 Agricultural Buffers: The City shall require that New Policy, 2030 General Plan Update agricultural land uses designated for long-term protection (in a Williamson Act contract or under a conservation easement located outside the City’s Planning Area) shall be buffered from urban land uses through the use of techniques including, but not limited to, spatial separations (e.g., greenbelts, open space setbacks, etc.), transitions in density, soundwalls, fencing, and/or berming. COS-3.3 Agricultural Disclosures: The City shall require New Policy, 2030 General Plan Update that developers of residential projects, which are within general proximity of agricultural operations in the city, to provide notification to new homeowners within their deeds of the City’s right to farm ordinance. COS-3.4 Discourage Leapfrog Development: The City New Policy, 2030 General Plan Update shall discourage leapfrog development (defined as urban development more than ½ mile from existing urban development) and development of peninsulas extending into agricultural lands to avoid adverse effects on agricultural operations and contribute to premature conversion. COS-3.5 Support County Programs: The City shall New Policy, 2030 General Plan Update encourage, support, and coordinate with Tulare County in the implementation of its agricultural programs, outside the city’s sphere of influence. COS-3.6 Agricultural Business: The City shall continue to City of Tulare 1993 General Plan; Land Use maintain and encourage agricultural-related businesses and Element; Agriculture: Goal 2-Revised industries in the city. COS-3.7 Supportive Agricultural Services: The City shall City of Tulare 1993 General Plan; Land Use continue to encourage the development of business and Element; Agriculture: Policy 4 services necessary to support agriculture. COS-3.8 World Ag Expo: The City shall continue to City of Tulare 1993 General Plan; Land Use support the annual World Ag Expo within the Planning Element; Agriculture: Policy 5 Area. COS-3.9 Williamson Act Contracts: The City shall New Policy, 2030 General Plan Update encourage the use of Williamson Act contracts on parcels located outside the Planning Area. COS-3.10 Williamson Act Contracts near City Limits: New Policy, 2030 General Plan Update The City shall protest the formation of new Williamson Act or Super Williamson Act contracts within the Planning Area.Michael Brandman Associates 16H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Introduction Table 7 (Cont.): City of Tulare Goals and Policies for the Protection of Agriculture Goal Source COS-3.11 Williamson Act Non-Renewal in UDB: The New Policy, 2030 General Plan Update City shall support non-renewal or cancellation processes for Williamson Act designated lands within the City of Tulare Urban Development Boundary (UDB) Source: City of Tulare 2007b.The City of Tulare concluded in its General Plan Update that future growth resulting fromimplementation of the General Plan would result in both the direct and indirect conversion ofagricultural lands to urban and other non-farming uses. These converted lands included a variety ofimportant farmlands (e.g., prime, unique, farmland of local importance, etc.) as defined by theFarmland Mapping and Monitoring Program of the California Resources Agency. The Draft EIR forthe City of Tulare 2030 General Plan Update found that the buildout of the General Plan will result ina significant and unavoidable impact to agriculture through the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses.2.7.2 - County of TulareThe County of Tulare prepared its 2030 General Plan Update and identified agricultural land on theValley floor and in the foothills of Tulare County as an economic asset and a cultural, scenic, andenvironmental resource to be protected. One of the key, new principles of the County General Plan isto protect valuable agricultural uses from urban encroachment. The Elements within the General Planthat provide policies and implementation measures for the conservation and/or improvements onagricultural lands include the Agricultural Land Use, Economic Development, and EnvironmentalResource Management Elements. Additional policies have been developed for each of the County’splanning areas (e.g., Corridors, Valley, Foothills, etc.) to address their own unique agricultural-relatedissues. Table 8 summarizes the applicable policies adopted by Tulare County for the protection ofagriculture. Table 8: County of Tulare Policies for the Protection of Agriculture Agriculture and Economic Development Elements Policies designed to conserve agricultural resources within the County include the following: AG-1.1 Primary Land Use AG-1.8 Agriculture Within Urban Boundaries AG-1.2 Coordination AG-1.9 Agricultural Preserves Outside Urban AG-1.3 Williamson Act Boundaries AG-1.4 Williamson Act in UDBs and HDBs AG-1.10 Extension of Infrastructure Into AG-1.5 Substandard Williamson Act Parcels Agricultural Areas AG-1.7 Preservation of Agricultural Lands AG-1.11 Agricultural Buffers AG-1.12 Ranchettes AG-1.13 Agricultural Related Uses AG-1.14 Right-to-Farm NoticingMichael Brandman Associates 17H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Introduction Table 8 (Cont.): County of Tulare Policies for the Protection of Agriculture Policies designed to promote the continued productivity and employment of agricultural resources within the County include the following: AG-2.1 Diversified Agriculture AG-2.6 Biotechnology and Biofuels AG-2.2 Market Research AG-2.8 Agricultural Education Programs AG-2.3 Technical Assistance AG-2.9 Global Marketing AG-2.4 Crop Care Education AG-2.10 Regional Transportation AG-2.5 High-Value-Added Food Processing AG-2.11 Energy Production ED-2.10 Supporting Agricultural Industry Implementation measures designed to protect and conserve agricultural resources within the County include the following: Agriculture Implementation Measure #1: The County shall take the lead to work with cities and Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) to establish a comprehensive agricultural land mitigation program to offset impacts of agricultural land conversion to urban uses. Agriculture Implementation Measure #2: The County shall review agricultural land preservation programs and assess their effectiveness in furthering the County’s agricultural goals and policies as part of an annual report. Agriculture Implementation Measure #3: The County shall maintain a comprehensive database of contracted agricultural preserves located within UDBs of unincorporated communities and review these preserves at regular intervals. The purpose of the review is to determine whether any unincorporated community in the County is unduly constrained or confined by land contracted under the Williamson Act. If this has occurred, the County shall encourage the land owner to file a notice of non-renewal so that the contract on the property could be terminated nine years from that date. The Williamson Act review shall be closely coordinated with the review of UDBs. Agriculture Implementation Measure #4: The County of Tulare shall serve Notices of Non-Renewal of Land Conservation Contracts in conformance with California Government Code §51245 through 51246, for properties that do not meet the minimum parcel sizes set forth under §51222 of the California Government Code (at least 10 acres in size for prime agricultural land, 40 acres in size for non prime agricultural land) Agriculture Implementation Measure #5: The County shall work with TCAG and the cities to establish criteria for the locations for agricultural conservation easements. Agriculture Implementation Measure #6: The County shall continue to use the Rural Valley Lands Plan Parcel Evaluation Procedure to evaluate changes to agricultural zoning and determine the expansions of UDBs. Agriculture Implementation Measure #7: The County shall coordinate with Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) and TCAG to closely monitor the amount of agricultural lands converted annually to urban other non-agricultural uses. ED Implementation Measure #4: The County, working in cooperation with the cities, shall develop criteria for the location of value-added agricultural processing facilities that are compatible with an agricultural setting. Such criteria shall take into account the service requirements of facilities for processing agricultural products and the capability and capacity of the cities to provide the services required. LU Implementation Measure #13: The County shall, in cooperation with property owners, reinstitute Open Space and Land Conservation contracts for all parcels on prime agricultural land meeting the minimum land area as required under State law.Michael Brandman Associates 18H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Introduction Table 8 (Cont.): County of Tulare Policies for the Protection of Agriculture Agriculture, Land Use and Environmental Resource Management Elements Policies designed to promote future development patterns within areas of existing development include the following: AG-1.15A Schools in Agricultural Zones LU-2.5 Residential Agriculture Uses LU-1.8 Encourage Infill Development LU-2.6 Agricultural Support Facilities LU-2.1 Agricultural Lands LU-2.6A Industrial Development LU 2.2 Agricultural Parcel Splits LU-2.7 Timing of Conversion from Urban Reserve LU-2.8 Merger of Sub Standard Agricultural Parcels ERM-5.15 Open Space Preservation Corridors, Rural Valley Lands Plan, Foothill Growth Management Plan, and Mountain Framework Plan Similar policies designed to conserve and encourage the continued economic value of agricultural resources within the various planning areas include the following: RVLP-1.1 Development Intensity C-1.5 Agricultural Enterprises RVLP-1.2 Existing Parcels and Approvals F-1.12 Development in Success Valley RVLP-1.4 Determination of Agriculture Land F-6.1 Protect Agricultural Lands M-1.9 Agricultural Preserves Source: County of Tulare, Goals and Policies Report, 2007.The County of Tulare concluded that growth associated with implementation of its draft General Plan2025 Update along with development within Urban Development Boundaries of cities andcommunities within the County would result in a loss of some existing agricultural lands. TheCounty of Tulare included policies in its General Plan Update to minimize this impact. (See PoliciesAG-1.1, AG-1.2, AG-1.3, AG-1.4, AG-1.6, AG-1.7, AG-1.10, AG-1.11, and AG-1.14.) The loss ofagricultural lands was still considered a significant and unavoidable impact.Implementation of the proposed project would result in a significant impact from the conversion of751.35 acres of agricultural land. This represents 3 percent of the agricultural land within the City ofTulare’s Planning Area; however, the loss of agricultural land within the City and County as a resultof urban development is part of an overall trend within the San Joaquin Valley. A statement ofoverriding considerations would be necessary for the development of the proposed project.According to the California Agricultural LESA Model Threshold of Significance, the total score of85.6 points for the subject property shows that the conversion of agricultural land to non-agriculturaluse resulting from the proposed project would be considered a potentially significant environmentalimpact. The significant impact is due largely to the soil quality (prime farmland), availability ofirrigation water, and project size. Because of the significance of the conversion of the subjectproperty to non-agricultural uses, mitigation measures are recommended. The City of Tulare hasincorporated specific policies into its General Plan Update to mitigate impacts to agriculture that willapply to the proposed project.Michael Brandman Associates 19H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Regional SettingSECTION 3: REGIONAL SETTING3.1 - State of California Agricultural ProductionCalifornia exports agricultural products to almost 150 countries, but the 10 principal destinationsaccounted for 84 percent of the 2004 export value, and the main four destinations—the EuropeanUnion, Canada, Japan, and Mexico—accounted for two-thirds of the total. California had 77,000farms and ranches in 2004, less than 4 percent of the nation’s total. Although this represents a smallpercent of the nation’s total farming operations, these farms account for a fairly significant percent ofthe national gross cash receipts from farming. As the nation’s leading agricultural producer,California’s cash receipts represented 13.2 percent of the U.S. total, and were more than Texas andIowa (the second and third leading states) combined. The average California operation had $413,000in farm sales, compared with the U.S. average of $114,000 per farm.In 2004, California’s land devoted to farming and ranching totaled 26.7 million acres. California hassome of the most agriculturally productive counties in the nation. According to the 2002 Census ofAgriculture’s market value ranking of agricultural products sold, nine of the nation’s top ten, and 12of the top 20, producing counties are in California. California’s agricultural abundance includes 350different crops. Among those, the State grows more than half of the nation’s total fruits, nuts, andvegetables. Many of these commodities are produced solely in California. California’s top 20 cropand livestock commodities accounted for 80 percent of the State’s gross farm income.3.2 - Tulare County Agricultural ProductionAgriculture has been and will continue to be vital to the economy of Tulare County. Tulare County isranked second among California’s top agricultural counties (CDFA 2008). The 2006 Annual Cropand Livestock Report prepared by the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office states thatTulare County contains 1,582,856 acres of harvested land. During the 2006 fiscal year, the grossagricultural production, according to the Annual Crop and Livestock Report, accounted for a revenueof $3,872,059,700. This represented a decrease of $490,678,300 or 11 percent when compared withthe 2005 value of $4,362,738,000. Milk was the leading commodity with a total value of$1,179,394,000, followed by oranges, cattle/calves, grapes, alfalfa-hay/silage, and corn-grain/silage.Tulare County’s agricultural strength is based on the diversity of crops produced. The 2006 AnnualCrop and Livestock Report covered more than 130 different commodities. Forty-six of thecommodities had gross values in excess of $1,000,000. Although individual commodities mayexperience difficulty from year to year, Tulare County continues to thrive based on the diversity ofthe crops produced.Michael Brandman Associates 20H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Project SettingSECTION 4: PROJECT SETTING4.1 - Existing Site ConditionsThe site is currently under agricultural production for cotton and corn. Scattered homes are containedwithin the project site. Residential sewage for the onsite residences is disposed of in septic tanks.Seven agricultural groundwater wells as well as domestic wells to serve onsite residential uses aredispersed within the site. Three drainage features as part of the irrigation system are contained withinthe project site, as well as two irrigation ditches within the central and eastern portions of the projectsite. These features converge in the eastern portion of the project site, becoming one irrigation ditchnear the northern end of the east ditch. In addition, a small retention basin is located within thesoutheastern portion of the project site. Properties along the east contain irrigated agriculture withscattered homes. Properties to the west contain agriculture, a housing development, and commercialmixed use. Irrigated agricultural lands and homes border the north and south.A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was performed by Michael Brandman Associatesfor the project site in November 2007. The ESA concluded the project site appears to have beenhistorically used for agricultural purposes with limited residences. The ESA also indicated that thereis a medium to high probability that the site contains recognized environmental conditions relative tohazardous materials and that further testing and analysis are warranted. The hazardous materials arerelated to the aging residential structures on the project site (lead-based paint, asbestos), abandonedunderground storage tanks, aboveground storage tanks, irrigation and drinking water wells, and septicsewer systems. Recommendations for further testing and analysis have been included in the Phase Isite assessment.4.2 - Historical Aerial PhotographsHistoric aerial photographs received from Environmental Data Resources were reviewed to identifyland uses and to note land use changes over time (included in the Phase I Environmental SiteAssessment). A historical aerial photography summary follows in Table 9. Table 9: Aerial Photography Summary Year Source Property Observation 1946 Fairchild The project site consists primarily of undeveloped, disturbed land. Structures are identified onsite near the northeastern border. Structures also are identified offsite to the north, east, and south. Elk Grove Bayou is visible along the southern border of the site. 1952 Robinson Agriculture is now the primary land use onsite. A new structure is visible in the southern end of the site. No other significant changes were observed.Michael Brandman Associates 21H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Project Setting Table 9 (Cont.): Aerial Photography Summary Year Source Property Observation 1956 Aero Development of a golf course is visible near the southwestern border of the site. No other significant changes were observed. 1984 WSA New structures are identified to the south and east of the site. No other significant changes were observed. 1994 USGS New structures are identified near the northwestern border of the site. No other significant changes were observed. 2002 USGS No changes were observed. Source: Environmental Data Resources, Inc., 2007.4.3 - SoilsThe Soil Survey of Tulare County, California, eastern part (United States Department ofAgriculture – Soil Conservation Service website) presents a list of map units that meet therequirements for prime farmland if water for irrigation is available. The list includes most soil typesencountered within the project area, including 665.65 acres of potential prime farmland if irrigated asclassified by the USDA and 87.5 acres of Farmland of State Importance. However, as defined by theCalifornia Land Conservation Act (G.C. § 51201), prime agricultural soils include Class I and II soils,Storie Index 80-100 soils, vineyards and orchards, and soils yielding a minimum $200 per acre cropvalue per year; as such, 751.35 acres of the project are considered potential prime farmland. Exhibit6 shows the USDA soils map for the project site.Class 1 soils have few limitations that restrict their use. Class 2 soils have moderate limitations thatreduce the choice of plants or that require moderate conservation practices. Class 3soils have severelimitations that reduce the choice of plants or that require special conservation practices, or both.Class 4 soils have very severe limitations that reduce the choice of plants or that require very carefulmanagement, or both.The Storie Index is a soil rating based on soil properties that govern a soil’s potential for cultivatedagriculture in California. The Storie Index assesses the productivity of a soil from the following fourcharacteristics: Factor A, degree of soil profile development; Factor B, texture of the surface layer;Factor C, slope; and Factor X, manageable features, including drainage, microrelief, fertility, acidity,erosion, and salt content. A score ranging from 0 to 100 percent is determined for each factor, andthe scores are then multiplied together to derive an index rating. For simplification, Storie Indexratings have been combined into six grade classes as follows: Grade 1 (excellent), 100 to 80; Grade 2(good), 79 to 60; Grade 3 (fair), 59 to 40; Grade 4 (poor), 39 to 20; Grade 5 (very poor), 19 to 10; andGrade 6 (nonagricultural), less than 10.Michael Brandman Associates 22H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Project SettingLand capability classification shows, in a general way, the suitability of soils for most kinds of fieldcrops. Crops that require special management are excluded. The soils are grouped according to theirlimitations for field crops, the risk of damage if they are used for crops, and the way they respond tomanagement. The criteria used in grouping the soils do not include major and generally expensivelandforming that would change slope, depth, or other characteristics of the soils, nor do they includepossible but unlikely major reclamation projects. Capability classification is not a substitute forinterpretations that show suitability and limitations of groups of soils for rangeland, for woodland, orfor engineering purposes.In the capability system, soils are generally grouped at three levels: capability class, subclass, andunit. Only class and subclass are included in this data set. Capability subclasses are soil groupswithin one capability class. They are designated by adding a small letter, “e,” “w,” “s,” or “c,” to theclass numeral, for example, 2e. The letter “e” shows that the main hazard is the risk of erosion unlessclose-growing plant cover is maintained; “w” shows that water in or on the soil interferes with plantgrowth or cultivation (in some soils the wetness can be partly corrected by artificial drainage); “s”shows that the soil is limited mainly because it is shallow, droughty, or stony; and “c,” used in onlysome parts of the United States, shows that the chief limitation is climate that is very cold or very dry.In Class 1, there are no subclasses because the soils of this class have few limitations. Class 5contains only the subclasses indicated by “w,” “s,” or “c” because the soils in Class 5 are subject tolittle or no erosion. They have other limitations that restrict their use to pasture, rangeland,forestland, or wildlife habitat.The proposed project site includes five types of soils classified by the United States Department ofAgriculture Soil Conservation Service as Grade I soils having Storie Indexes above 80, therebymeeting the California Land Conservation Act (G.C. § 51201). These map units are Akers-Akers,Colpien loam, Crosscreek-Kai association, Flamen loam, and Tagus loam. • Akers-Akers (map symbol unit 101) – The Akers component is on fan remnants and valleys. The parent material consists of alluvium derived from granitic rock sources. Depth to a root restrictive layer is greater than 60 inches. The natural drainage class is well drained. Water movement in the most restrictive layer is moderately high. Available water to a depth of 60 inches is high. Shrink-swell potential is low. This soil is very rarely flooded. It is not ponded. There is no zone of water saturation within a depth of 72 inches. Organic matter content in the surface horizon is about 1 percent. Nonirrigated land capability classification is 4c. Irrigated land capability classification is 1. This soil does not meet hydric criteria. The calcium carbonate equivalent within 40 inches, typically, does not exceed 6 percent. The soil has a slightly sodic horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. The Akers, saline-sodic component of the map contains slopes of 0 to 2 percent. This component is on valleys and fan remnants. The parent material consists of alluvium derived from granitic rock sources. Depth to a root restrictive layer is greater than 60 inches. TheMichael Brandman Associates 24H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Project Setting natural drainage class is well drained. Water movement in the most restrictive layer is moderately high. Available water to a depth of 60 inches is high. Shrink-swell potential is low. This soil is very rarely flooded. It is not ponded. There is no zone of water saturation within a depth of 72 inches. Organic matter content in the surface horizon is about 1 percent. Nonirrigated land capability classification is 4s. Irrigated land capability classification is 2s. This soil does not meet hydric criteria. The calcium carbonate equivalent within 40 inches, typically, does not exceed 6 percent. The soil has a slightly saline horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. The soil has a moderately sodic horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. Approximately 22.3 percent of the project site is in this category. This unit is in capability Class I irrigated and capability Class IV non-irrigated. • Colpien loam (map symbol unit 108) – The Colpien component is on valleys, fan remnants. The parent material consists of alluvium derived from granitic rock sources. Depth to a root restrictive layer is greater than 60 inches. The natural drainage class is moderately well drained. Water movement in the most restrictive layer is moderately high. Available water to a depth of 60 inches is high. Shrink-swell potential is moderate. This soil is rarely flooded. It is not ponded. There is no zone of water saturation within a depth of 72 inches. Organic matter content in the surface horizon is about 2 percent. Nonirrigated land capability classification is 4c. Irrigated land capability classification is 1. This soil does not meet hydric criteria. The calcium carbonate equivalent within 40 inches, typically, does not exceed 3 percent. The soil has a slightly sodic horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. Approximately 26.3 percent of the project site is in this category. This unit is in capability Class I irrigated and capability Class IV non-irrigated. • Crosscreek-Kai association (map symbol unit 109) – The Crosscreek component slopes are 0 to 2 percent. This component is on fan remnants, valleys. Formed by the chemical and mechanical alteration of the Kai series, which originally formed in alluvium derived from granitic rock. Depth to a root restrictive layer, duripan, is 40 to 60 inches. The natural drainage class is well drained. Water movement in the most restrictive layer is moderately high. Available water to a depth of 60 inches is moderate. Shrink-swell potential is moderate. This soil is very rarely flooded. It is not ponded. There is no zone of water saturation within a depth of 72 inches. Organic matter content in the surface horizon is about 1 percent. Nonirrigated land capability classification is 6s. Irrigated land capability classification is 2s. This soil does not meet hydric criteria. The calcium carbonate equivalent within 40 inches, typically, does not exceed 6 percent. The soil has a slightly saline horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. The soil has a slightly sodic horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. • The Kai component slopes are 0 to 2 percent. This component is on fan remnants, valleys. The parent material consists of alluvium derived from granitic rock sources. Depth to a root restrictive layer, duripan, is 20 to 40 inches. The natural drainage class is moderately well drained. Water movement in the most restrictive layer is low. Available water to a depth of 60 inches is moderate. Shrink-swell potential is moderate. This soil is very rarely flooded. It isMichael Brandman Associates 25H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Project Setting not ponded. There is no zone of water saturation within a depth of 72 inches. Organic matter content in the surface horizon is about 0 percent. Nonirrigated land capability classification is 7s. Irrigated land capability classification is 3s. This soil does not meet hydric criteria. The calcium carbonate equivalent within 40 inches, typically, does not exceed 5 percent. The soil has a moderately saline horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. The soil has a strongly sodic horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. • Approximately 11.5 percent of the project site is in this soil map unit. This unit is in capability Class II irrigated and capability Class VI non-irrigated. • Flamen loam (map symbol unit 116) – The Flamen component slopes are 0 to 2 percent. This component is on fan remnants, valleys. The parent material consists of alluvium derived from granitic rock sources. Depth to a root restrictive layer, duripan, is 40 to 60 inches. The natural drainage class is moderately well drained. Water movement in the most restrictive layer is moderately high. Available water to a depth of 60 inches is moderate. Shrink-swell potential is moderate. This soil is very rarely flooded. It is not ponded. There is no zone of water saturation within a depth of 72 inches. Organic matter content in the surface horizon is about 2 percent. Nonirrigated land capability classification is 4e. Irrigated land capability classification is 2s. This soil does not meet hydric criteria. The calcium carbonate equivalent within 40 inches, typically, does not exceed 1 percent. The soil has a slightly sodic horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. Approximately 35.5 percent of the project site is in this category. These soils are in capability Class II irrigated and capability Class IV non-irrigated. • Tagus loam (map symbol unit 137) - The Tagus component slopes are 0 to 2 percent. This component is on fan remnants, valleys. The parent material consists of alluvium derived from granitic rock sources. Depth to a root restrictive layer is greater than 60 inches. The natural drainage class is well drained. Water movement in the most restrictive layer is moderately high. Available water to a depth of 60 inches is moderate. Shrink-swell potential is low. This soil is very rarely flooded. It is not ponded. There is no zone of water saturation within a depth of 72 inches. Organic matter content in the surface horizon is about 2 percent. Nonirrigated land capability classification is 4c. Irrigated land capability classification is 1. This soil does not meet hydric criteria. The calcium carbonate equivalent within 40 inches, typically, does not exceed 8 percent. The soil has a slightly sodic horizon within 30 inches of the soil surface. Approximately 4.4 percent of the project site is in this category. These soils are in capability Class I irrigated and capability Class IV non-irrigated.4.4 - WaterFarmers Consolidated Water provides surface water to the site for irrigation when available. Whensurface water is not available for irrigation, water is provided by seven agricultural groundwaterwells. The wells are currently active and powered by electricity provided by Southern CaliforniaEdison or diesel-powered engines. Potable water is provided through onsite domestic wells.Michael Brandman Associates 26H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Project SettingThe existing site consumes water mainly for agricultural purposes, with limited domestic use for thefew homes in the area. The estimated annual water demand for the existing land use is approximately2,405.2 acre-feet, which is broken down into 781.4 acre-feet provided by surface water and 1,623.8acre-feet provided by groundwater wells. The planned development annual water demand, based onthe total demand for domestic water and landscape irrigation, is estimated to be 571.9 acre-feet. Theplanned development will result in a net reduction of 1,051.9 acre-feet per year groundwater use, orapproximately a 65-percent reduction of groundwater use.4.5 - ClimateThe climate in Tulare is relatively warm and dry, typical of a Mediterranean climate. Summers arehot and dry, and winters are cool with an annual average precipitation of approximately 10.26 inches.Climate data averaged over years 1927 to 2007 indicate normal daily maximum temperatures rangefrom 56.1 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) in December to 97.2°F in July. Annually, 101.5 days on averagereach a daily maximum temperature over 90°F. Normal daily minimum temperatures range from37.2°F in January to 64.5°F in July. Annually, an average of 17.4 days attain below-freezingtemperatures in Tulare. Precipitation ranges from 0.01 inch in July and August to 1.96 inches inJanuary, with an average annual precipitation of 10.26 inches. Annually, there is an average of 40days with measurable (0.01 inches or more) precipitation. A summary of precipitation andtemperature is provided in Table 10. Table 10: Average Precipitation and Temperature for City of Tulare Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual Average 1.96 1.85 1.71 1.03 0.33 0.09 0.01 0.01 0.13 0.51 1.02 1.61 10.26 Precipitation (inches) Average 46.3 51.6 56.3 61.9 68.6 75.6 80.9 79.3 74.3 65.7 54.4 46.7 63.5 Temperature (°F) Source: National Weather Service, 2007.Michael Brandman Associates 27H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Agricultural Land Conversion ImpactsSECTION 5: AGRICULTURAL LAND CONVERSION IMPACTSThis study analyzes several factors provided in the 1993 City of Tulare General Plan, the recentlyreleased City of Tulare 2030 General Plan Update, and the California Agricultural Land Evaluationand Site Assessment Model (LESA, California Department of Conservation – Office of LandConservation, 1997) to identify the proposed project’s potential impact to agricultural lands.5.1 - City of Tulare General Plan FactorsAs discussed previously in Section 2.7, the City of Tulare 2030 General Plan Update was released inDecember 2007, with adoption anticipated in April 2008. Although the General Plan does not includean agricultural element, the protection of agricultural lands is a priority of the City’s Conservationand Open Space Element. The City of Tulare adopted a new goal, COS-3, to promote theproductivity of agricultural lands surrounding Tulare and the continued viability of Tulare Countyagriculture.The project can be evaluated based on its consistency with applicable goals and policies establishedby the City of Tulare for the protection of agriculture. A summary of the evaluation is included inTable 11. Table 11: Project Consistency with City of Tulare Goals and Policies for the Protection of Agriculture Goal Source Consistency Finding COS-3 New Goal, 2030 Not Consistent. The removal of 751.35 General Plan Update acres of agricultural land would not be consistent with the goal of promoting the productivity of agricultural lands surrounding Tulare and the continued viability of Tulare County Agriculture. COS-3.1 Source: City of Tulare Not Consistent. The removal of 751.35 1993 General Plan; acres of agricultural land would not be Land Use Element; consistent with the goal of protecting the Agriculture: Goal 1 viability of existing interim agricultural activity in the Planning Area to the extent possible. COS-3.2 Agricultural Buffers New Policy, 2030 Not Applicable. The project site is General Plan Update located within the Planning Area. COS-3.3 Agricultural Disclosures New Policy, 2030 Consistent. The project will need to General Plan Update include an agricultural disclosure for the residential portion of the project in order to be consistent with this policy. The residents will need to be informed of their proximity to agricultural operations near the project site.Michael Brandman Associates 28H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Agricultural Land Conversion Impacts Table 11 (Cont.): Project Consistency with City of Tulare Goals and Policies for the Protection of Agriculture Goal Source Consistency Finding COS-3.4 Discourage Leapfrog New Policy, 2030 Not applicable. The project is within 0.5 Development: The City shall General Plan Update mile of urban development and would be discourage leapfrog development located near other industrial/institutional (defined as urban development more uses, the World Ag Expo and Mefford than ½ mile from existing urban Field. development) and development of peninsulas extending into agricultural lands to avoid adverse effects on agricultural operations and contribute to premature conversion. COS-3.9 Williamson Act Contracts New Policy, 2030 Not applicable. The project site is General Plan Update proposed to be annexed to the City and will be a part of the Planning Area. COS-3.11 Williamson Act Non- New Policy, 2030 Consistent. The project is consistent with Renewal in UDB General Plan Update the policy for Williamson Act cancellation with the City of Tulare’s Urban Development Boundary.The City also determined that the significance criteria for the analysis of impacts to agriculturalresources should be based on criteria presented in Section 15065 and Appendix G, EnvironmentalChecklist Form of the CEQA Guidelines. These criteria include: • Convert Prime Farmland, Unique Farmland, or Farmland of Statewide Importance (Farmland) as shown on the maps prepared pursuant to the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program of the California Resources Agency, to non-agricultural use; • Conflict with existing zoning for agricultural use, or conflict with a Williamson Act contract; or • Involve other changes in the existing environment that, due to their location or nature, could result in conversion of Important Farmland, to non-agricultural uses.5.2 - California Agricultural Land Evaluation and Site Assessment ModelLand Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) is a term used to define an approach for rating therelative quality of land resources based upon specific measurable features. The formulation of theCalifornia Agricultural LESA Model is the result of Senate Bill 850 (Chapter 812/1993), whichcharges the Resources Agency, in consultation with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research,to develop an amendment to Appendix G of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)Guidelines. Such an amendment is intended “to provide lead agencies with an optional methodologyto ensure significant effects on the environment of agricultural land conversions are quantitatively andMichael Brandman Associates 29H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Agricultural Land Conversion Impactsconsistently considered in the environmental review process.” (Public Resources Code Section21095)The California Agricultural LESA Model is composed of six different factors, which are divided intotwo sets: Land Evaluation and Site Assessment factors. Two Land Evaluation factors (LandCapability Classification Rating and Storie Index Rating) are based upon measures of soil resourcesquality and intended to measure the inherent, soil-based qualities of land as they relate to agriculturalsuitability. Four Site Assessment factors (Project Size Rating, Water Resource Availability Rating,Surrounding Agricultural Lands Rating, and Surrounding Protected Resource Lands Rating) areintended to measure social, economic, and geographic attributes that also contribute to the overallvalue of agricultural land.The two sets of factors are evenly weighted, meaning the two Land Evaluation factors and four SiteAssessment factors are of equal importance. However, for a given project, each of these six factors isseparately rated in a 100-point scale. The factors are then weighted relative to one another andcombined, resulting in a single numeric score for a given project, with a maximum attainable score of100 points. This final project score becomes the basis for making a determination of the potentialimpacts’ level of significance for the project, based upon a range of established scoring thresholds.5.2.1 - Land Evaluation FactorsThe California LESA Model includes two Land Evaluation factors, discussed below, that areseparately rated.The Land Capability Classification Rating (LCC)The LCC indicates the suitability of soils for most kinds of crops. Groupings are made according tothe limitations of the soils when used to grow crops and the risk of damage to soils when used inagriculture. Soils are rated from Class I to Class VIII, with soils having the fewest limitationsreceiving the highest rating (Class I). Specific subclasses are also utilized to further characterizesoils.The Storie Index RatingThe Storie Index provides a numeric rating (based upon a zero to 100 scale) of the relative degree ofsuitability or value of a given soil for intensive agriculture. The rating is based upon soilcharacteristics only. Four factors that represent the inherent characteristics and qualities of the soilare considered in the Storie Index rating: profile characteristics, texture of the surface layer, slope,and other factors such as drainage or salinity. In some situations, only the United States Departmentof Agriculture’s LCC information may be available. In those cases, the Storie Index ratings can becalculated from information contained in soil surveys by qualified soil scientists; however, iflimitation of time and/or resources restrict the derivation of the Storie Index rating for a given project,it may be possible to adapt the Land Evaluation by relying solely upon the LCC rating.Michael Brandman Associates 30H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Agricultural Land Conversion Impacts5.2.2 - Site Assessment FactorsThe four Site Assessment factors that are separately rated and included in the California LESA Modelare discussed below.The Project Size RatingThe Project Size rating is based upon identifying acreage figures for three separate grouping of soilclasses within the project site, and then determining what grouping generates the highest Project Sizescore. The Project Size Rating relies upon acreage figures that were tabulated under the LandCapability Classification Rating.The Water Resources Availability RatingThe Water Resources Availability rating is based upon identifying the various water sources that maysupply a given property, and then determining whether different restrictions in supply are likely totake place in years that are characterized as being periods of drought and non-drought.The Surrounding Agricultural Land RatingDetermination of the Surrounding Agricultural Land rating is based upon identification of a project’sZone of Influence (ZOI), which is defined as that land near a given project, both directly adjoiningand within a defined distance away, that is likely to influence, and be influenced by, the agriculturalland use of the subject project site. The Surrounding Agricultural Land rating is designed to providea measurement of the level of agricultural land use for lands close to a given project. The CaliforniaAgricultural LESA Model rates the potential significance of the conversion of an agricultural parcelthat has a large proportion of surrounding land in agricultural production more highly than one thathas relatively small percentage of surrounding land in agricultural production. The definition of theZOI that accounts for surrounding lands (up to a minimum of 0.25 mile from the project boundary) isthe result of several iterations during model development for assessing an area that will generally be arepresentative sample of surrounding land use. Exhibit 7 shows the zone of influence surrounding theproject site. There are 2762.29 acres of land within the zone of influence of the project site; of thoselands, 498 acres comprise the International Agri-Center, Tulare Golf Coarse, Tulare MunicipalAirport (Mefford Field), and Elk Bayou Soccer Complex. The remaining 2,264.29 acres consist ofagricultural land.The Surrounding Protected Resource Land RatingThe Surrounding Protected Resource Land rating is essentially an extension of the SurroundingAgricultural Land rating, and it is scored in a similar manner. Protected resource lands are thoselands with long-term use restrictions that are compatible with or supportive of agricultural uses ofland. Included among them are the following: • Williamson Act contracted lands • Publicly owned lands maintained as a park, forest, or watershed resourcesMichael Brandman Associates 31H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Agricultural Land Conversion Impacts • Lands with agricultural, wildlife habitat, open space, or other natural resource easements that restrict the conversion of such land to urban and industrial uses5.2.3 - Final LESA ScoringA single LESA score is generated for a given project after all the individual Land Evaluation and SiteAssessment factors have been scored and weighted. The California Agricultural LESA Model isweighted so that 50 percent of the total LESA score of a given project is derived from the LandEvaluation factors and 50 percent is derived from the Site Assessment factors. Individual factorweights are listed below, with the sum of the factor weights required to equal 100 percent. Table 12: LESA Factors and Percentages LESA Factors Percentages Land Evaluation Factors Land Capability Classification (LCC) 25 Storie Index Rating 25 Land Evaluation Subtotal 50 Site Assessment Factors Project Size Rating 15 Water Resource Availability Rating 15 Surrounding Agricultural Lands Rating 15 Surrounding Protected Resource Lands Rating 5 Site Assessment Subtotal 50 Total LESA Factor Weighting 100For the subject property, the final LESA score was determined as shown in Table 13: Table 13: LESA Scores Factor Rating Factor Weighting Weighted Factor Factor Name (0-100 Points) (Total=1.0) Rating Land Evaluation Land Capability Classification 89.800 0.25 22.45 Storie Index Rating 86.958 0.25 21.70 LE Subtotal 44.20 Site Assessment Project Size 100.0 0.15 15.00 Water Resource Availability 79.2 0.15 11.88 Surrounding Agricultural Lands 90.0 0.15 13.50Michael Brandman Associates 33H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study Agricultural Land Conversion Impacts Table 13 (Cont.): LESA Scores Factor Rating Factor Weighting Weighted Factor Factor Name (0-100 Points) (Total=1.0) Rating Protected Resource Lands 20.0 0.05 1.00 SA Subtotal 41.38 Total LESA Score 85.575.2.4 - Threshold of SignificanceThe California Agricultural LESA Model is designed to make determinations of the potentialsignificance of a project’s conversion of agricultural lands during the Initial Study phase of the CEQAprocess. Scoring thresholds are based upon both the total LESA score and the component LandEvaluation (LE) and Site Assessment (SA) separate subscores. In this manner, the scoring thresholdsare dependent upon the attainment of a minimum score for the LE and SA subscores so that a singlethreshold is not the result of heavily skewed subscores (i.e., a site with a very high LE score but avery low SA score, or vice-versa). The California Agricultural LESA Model scoring thresholds are asfollows: Table 14: California Agricultural LESA Model Scoring Thresholds Total LESA Score Scoring Decision 0 to 39 points Not considered significant 40 to 59 points Considered significant only if LE and SA subscores are each greater than or equal to 20 points 60 to 79 points Considered significant unless either LE or SA subscore is less than 20 points 80 to 100 points Considered significantMichael Brandman Associates 34H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study ConclusionsSECTION 6: CONCLUSIONSIt is assumed that further development of the City of Tulare and the County of Tulare will occur, andmost likely on prime agricultural soils that exist on the valley floor. The 1993 City of Tulare GeneralPlan Environmental Impact Report concluded that a significant impact would occur as a result of thebuildout of the 1993 General Plan and adopted a Statement of Overriding Considerations for approvalof the plan and its environmental report. The General Plan Update Draft EIR has also determined thatimpacts to agricultural lands will be significant and unavoidable. The City will need to adopt aStatement of Overriding Considerations for approval of the plan and its environmental report.According to the California Agricultural LESA Model Threshold of Significance, the total score of85.57 for the subject property shows that the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural useresulting from the proposed project would be considered a potentially significant environmentalimpact. The significant impact is due largely to the soil quality (prime farmland), availability ofirrigation water, and project size.According to the significance criteria established by the City of Tulare, implementation of the projectwould result in a significant conversion of 751.35 acres of agricultural land. Additionally, the projectsite includes 418.72 acres of land under Williamson Act Contracts. A Statement of OverridingConsiderations would be necessary for the development of the proposed project.With respect to cumulative growth-inducing impacts, this report identifies the potential impact of theconversion of 751.35 acres of agricultural land. The conversion of this property from agricultural useto non-agricultural use may be expected to create growth-inducing impacts to other nearbyagricultural lands. Because of the significance of the conversion of the subject property to non-agricultural uses, mitigation measures and project alternatives are recommended.Mitigation Measure One: The applicant shall be responsible for contributing mitigation fees to aTulare County land trust, such as the Sequoia Riverlands Trust, for the creation of a conservationeasement of 3 acres of equally good, equally at-risk agricultural land, for every acre of agriculturalland converted by the project. It should be noted that a portion of the site has been developed withresidential and commercial uses and is not usable as agricultural land.The California Department of Conservation recommends that the ratio of conservation easements tolost agricultural land be increased where a Williamson Act contract will be terminated, or if growth-inducing or cumulative agricultural impacts are involved.Michael Brandman Associates 35H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc
  • City of Tulare - Tulare Motor Sports ComplexAgricultural Land Conversion Study ResourcesSECTION 7: RESOURCESCalifornia Department of Conservation. 2002. The California Land Conservation (Williamson) Act Status Report. August.California Department of Conservation.2004. The California Land Conservation (Williamson) Act Status Report. May.California Department of Conservation. 2006. The California Land Conservation (Williamson) Act Status Report. May.California Department of Food and Agriculture. 2008. 2006 California Agricultural Statistical Review. Website http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/files/pdf/card/ResDir06_Overview.pdf. Accessed January 24, 2008.City of Tulare. 2007a. City of Tulare 2007 General Plan Update DEIR. Website http://www.westplanning.com/docs/cityoftulare/libary.htm. Accessed February 18, 2008.City of Tulare. 2007b. City of Tulare General Plan; Goals and Policy Report. Website http://www.westplanning.com/docs/cityoftulare/documents/tularecity_gpr_cc_pc_version_20 07_06_05.pdf. Accessed February 18, 2008.Environmental Data Resources, Inc. (EDR). 2007. The EDR Radius Map, Aerial Photograph Decade Package, and Historic Topographical Map Report, Tulare Motor Sports Complex. August.National Weather Service. 2008. Website http://www.wrcc.dri.edu for Visalia. Accessed January 30, 2008, California weather station No. 049367. Period of Record: 1927-2007.Michael Brandman Associates 36H:Client (PN-JN)320532050001AG32050001 Agricultural Study-Tulare.doc