Orderly Growth Initiative
Solano County Growth Initiative:
Adopted by the Board of Supervisors
July 26, 1994
Resolution No. 94-170
To the Honorable Clerk of the County of Solano
We, the undersigned, registered and qualified voters of Solano County, hereby propose an initiative measure to amend the Solano County General Plan. We petition you to submit the same to the Board of Supervisors of Solano County for its adoption without change, or for rejection and submission of the same to the voters of Solano County at a general election pursuant to Elections Code Section 3711.

The people of Solano County do ordain as follows:
Section 1. Purposes and Findings


  1. Proposition A, an initiative measure passed by the voters of Solano County in June 1984, has protected agricultural and open space land in Solano County by directing urban growth and development to existing cities.

    Proposition A has:


    • Kept urban development within the cities of Solano County;

    • Prevented "leapfrog" development and the sprawl of suburban "new towns" and office complexes outside of municipal areas;

    • Assured the continued preservation of agricultural lands and other open space between the cities of Solano County; and

    • Provided an opportunity for agricultural industrial employers to develop in the County.



  2. Proposition A will expire in 1995. Development pressure is building now in anticipation of the expiration of Proposition A's protections. Developers seek sprawling housing development between Dixon and Vacaville,which would eliminate the agricultural and open space lands that provide buffers between these communities. Proposition A will help preserve for agriculture the fertile lands between Dixon and Vacaville and other areas under development pressure like Suisun Valley, Green Valley, Pleasants Valley, the Montezuma Hills and the Cordelia Hills between Vallejo, Benicia and Fairfield.

  3. This initiative measure continues to assure protection of Solano County's agricultural and open space resources by extending the essential provisions of Proposition A. This measure:

    • Amends the General Plan to restrict redesignations of lands designated "Agriculture" or "Open Space" as shown on the Solano County Land Use and Circulation Map, through December 31, 2010; and

    • Amends the General Plan to restrict the density of residential and other development on lands designated "Agriculture" or "Open Space" through the year 2010, preventing large scale residential or mixed use developments outside of municipal areas.



  4. This initiative measure will:

    • Preserve and protect Solano County's agricultural and open space resources, which are essential to our County and regional economy and the quality of life of the area.

    • Protect the public health, safety, and welfare by avoiding more air pollution, water shortages, water pollution, traffic congestion, noise and other adverse environmental impacts of "leapfrog" development and urban sprawl;

    • Prevent costly and inefficient extensions of County services to rural areas of the County;

    • Permit Solano County to continue to bear its fair share of regional growth and provide an adequate range of housing for all sectors of the community; while directing urban growth to existing cities;

    • Prevent piecemeal County General Plan amendments that would allow development on agricultural or open space land and that would, as a result, render the General Plan internally inconsistent, defeat its policies and goals, and violate state law;

    • Encourage job development by supporting agriculture as Solano County's primary base industry; and

    • Allow the County to continue the process of updating its General Plan as necessary to comply with state law, amending its terms consistent with the cornerstone principle that what is urban shall be municipal.



  5. The boundaries of the existing General Plan land use designations, as affirmed by Proposition A and as indicated on the Solano County Land Use and Circulation Map form a logical pattern that "conforms to the geographic distribution of the County's physical resources, constraints and existing land uses and is consistent with the traditional role of the unincorporated area in Solano County." (Solano County Land Use and Circulation Element as amended Through August 1992, p.17.) This initiative measure thus serves to preserve designations that have encouraged and will continue to encourage orderly development and land use planning. The Solano County Land Use and Circulation Map, adopted by the Solano County Board of Supervisors December 19, 1980 and amended through October 22, 1991, is attached to this initiative measure as Exhibit A, for illustrative purposes.


Section 2. General Plan Amendment
The Solano County Land Use and Circulation Element, as part of the Solano County General Plan, is hereby amended as follows:

  1. Cornerstone Principle and General Plan Consistency

    The following policy is hereby added to the Solano County Land Use and Circulation Element of the General Plan, as amended through August 1992, as Development Strategy Policy No. 16, Chapter II, Planning Framework, page 23:

    1. A cornerstone principle of this General Plan is the direction of new urban development and growth toward municipal areas. In furtherance of this central goal, the People of Solano County, by initiative measure, have adopted and affirmed the following provisions to assure the continued preservation of those lands designated "Extensive Agriculture", "Intensive Agriculture", "Watershed", "Marsh", "Park & Recreation", or "Water Bodies & Courses": Development Strategy Policy No. 17; Agricultural Lands Policies Nos. 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13; and Watershed Lands Policy No. 2. The General Plan may be reorganized, and individual goals and policies may be renumbered or reordered in the course of ongoing updates of the General Plan in accord with the requirements of state law, but the provisions enumerated in this paragraph shall continue to be included in the General Plan until December 31, 2010, unless earlier repealed or amended by the voters of the County.



  2. Retention of the Agriculture and Open Space Designations To reaffirm the provisions of Proposition A passed by the voters of Solano County in 1984, the following policy is hereby added to the Solano County Land Use and Circulation Element of the General Plan, as amended through August 1992, as Development Strategy Policy No. 17, Chapter II, Planning Framework, page 23:

    1. The designation of specific lands and water bodies as "Extensive Agriculture", "Intensive Agriculture", "Watershed", "Marsh", "Park & Recreation", or "Water Bodies & Courses" on the Solano County Land Use and Circulation map, adopted by the Solano County Board of Supervisors on December 19, 1980, as readopted and reaffirmed by the voters of Solano County in Proposition A in June 1984, and as amended subsequently consistent with Proposition A, shall remain in effect until December 31, 2010 except lands designated "Agriculture" may be redesignated pursuant to the procedure specified in the Land Use and Circulation Element, Chapter III, Agricultural Land Use Policies Nos. 10 through 13, (providing for redesignation upon the making of specific findings, or as necessary to comply with state law requirements regarding provision of low and very low income housing, or permitting certain redesignations to open space). In addition, these agricultural and open space lands may also be redesignated after a final judgement by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that the absence of a redesignation would constitute an unauthorized taking of private property or is otherwise unconstitutional, but only to the minimum geographical extent and intensity of use necessary to avoid such unconstitutional result. Any such redesignation shall be designed to carry out the goals and provisions of this policy to the maximum extent possible. Further, the precise boundaries of land use designations may be subject to minor adjustment and refinement prior to development, or upon request of an affected landowner, provided such refinements reflect the overall boundaries indicated on the General Plan Land Use and Circulation Map and are consistent with all other General Plan policies, in particular, the General Plan policies prohibiting piecemeal conversions of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses.



  3. Limitations on Residential Uses on Lands Designated "Agriculture" and Redesignations of Land Designated "Agriculture" The following policies are hereby added to the Solano County Land Use and Circulation Element of the General Plan, as amended through August 1992, as Policies Nos. 9-13, Chapter III, Agricultural and Open Space Land Use, page 37:

    1. Lands Designated Intensive Agriculture or Extensive Agriculture.

      1. Within the "Intensive Agriculture" land use designation, the maximum permitted residential density is one dwelling unit per eighty (80) acres, except that if a landowner demonstrates that a particular parcel is capable of highly productive agricultural use such as orchard and vineyard lands, then a maximum permitted residential density of one dwelling unit per forty (40) acres may be applied. Within the "Extensive Agriculture" designation, the maximum permitted residential density is one dwelling unit per one hundred and sixty (160) acres. However, in non-essential agricultural areas which have limited viability for agricultural uses, a maximum permitted residential density of one dwelling unit per twenty (20) acres may be applied.

      2. Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, one residence may be built on a lot of record existing as of January 1, 1984, designated "Agriculture" provided however that (i) the owner demonstrates compliance with all other applicable County requirements, and (ii) before such exemption is granted, the lot has first been merged with contiguous parcels to the maximum extent possible consistent with State law.



    2. Lands within the "Agriculture" designations as shown on the Land Use and Circulation Map adopted by the Board of Supervisors on December 19, 1980 as readopted and reaffirmed by the voters of Solano County in Proposition A in June, 1984, and as amended subsequently consistent with Proposition A, may be redesignated to a more intensive agricultural designation, or to a rural residential designation (with a maximum density of one unit per 2.5 to 10 acres) if and only if the Board of Supervisors makes each of the following findings:

      1. That the approval will not constitute part of, or encourage, a piece-meal conversion of a larger agricultural area to residential or other non-agricultural uses, and will not alter the stability of land use patterns in the area;

      2. That no land proposed for redesignation is prime agricultural land as defined pursuant to California Government Code Section 51202 (the California Land Conservation Act of 1965, also known as the Williamson Act)

      3. That the subject land is unsuitable for agriculture due to terrain, adverse soil conditions, drainage, flooding, parcel size or other physical factors, such that it has no substantial market or rental value under the "Agriculture" designation;

      4. That the use and density proposed are compatible with agricultural uses and will not interfere with accepted farming practices;

      5. That the land is immediately adjacent to existing comparably developed areas and the applicant for the redesignation has provided substantial evidence that the Fire District, School District, County Sheriff and County Transportation Department have adequate capacity of accommodate the development and provide it with adequate public services; and

      6. That annexation to a city or incorporation is not appropriate or possible based on the following factors: nearby cities' designated sphere of influence boundaries, cities' general plan growth limits and projections, and comprehensive annexation plans.



      All redesignations pursuant to this policy shall be limited to a maximum of 160 acres for any one landowner in any calendar year. Landowners with any unity of interest are considered one landowner for purposes of this limitation.

    3. To comply with state law regarding the provision of low and very low income housing, as those terms are or may be defined by state law, lands within the "Agriculture" designations on the Land Use and Circulation Map may be changed to a residential designation. No more than 50 acres of land may be redesignated for this purpose in any calendar year. Such redesignation may be made only upon each of the following findings:

      1. The findings stated in subparagraphs (e) and (f) in policy 10 above are met;

      2. Use of the land redesignated under this policy will be limited to a low and very low income housing development, pursuant to a legally valid Housing Element of this General Plan;

      3. There is no existing residentially designated land available for the low and very low income housing; and

      4. The redesignation of lands, and construction of low and very low income housing on those lands, is required to comply with state law requirements for provision of such housing.



    4. Lands within the "Agriculture" designations may be redesignated to "Park & Recreation" only for public recreation and public open space uses and only if the uses permitted by the new designation will not interfere with or be in conflict with agricultural operations.

    5. Lands within the "Agriculture" designations may be redesignated to "Watershed" or "Marsh".



  4. Limitations on Residential Uses on Lands Designated "Watershed" The existing Watershed Lands use Policy of the Solano County Land Use and Circulation Element of the General Plan, as amended through August 1992, is hereby designated as Policy No. 1 in Chapter III, page 39, and the following policy is hereby added as Policy No. 2:

    1. Lands designated Watershed.

      1. Within the "Watershed" land use designation, the maximum permitted residential density is one dwelling unit per one hundred sixty (160) acres.

      2. Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, one residence may be built on a lot of record existing as of January 1, 1984, designated "Watershed" provided however that (i) the owner demonstrates compliance with all other applicable County requirements, and (ii) before such exemption is granted, the lot has first been merged with contiguous parcels to the maximum extent possible consistent with state law.





Section 3. Vested Rights
This initiative measure shall not apply to any vested development right obtained as of the effective date of the initiative pursuant to state law.
Section 4. Implementation
Upon the effective date of this initiative, the provisions of Section 2 of this initiative amending the General plan are inserted into the Solano County General Plan, except that if in the year the initiative becomes effective, the maximum number of general plan amendments permitted by state law for that year have already been utilized, this general plan amendments shall be the first amendment inserted into the Solano County General Plan on January 1 of the following year.
Section 5. Severability
If any portion of this initiative measure is declared invalid, the remaining portions shall not be affected, but shall remain in full force and effect.