City of Brentwood
Home PageContact Us!Back

City Administration

2010 Council Goals and Strategic Plan | City Council Members | Calendar of Events | Elections
eNotification | Sub-Committees| Pledge of Allegiance Sign Ups | Invocation Sign Up
Live Streaming Council Meeting | Streaming PC Help |
Streaming Mac Help |

Current Council Agenda and Past Meeting Information

CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 15


Meeting Date: July 22, 2008

Subject/Title: Adopt a resolution to amend the implementation guidelines for the City’s agricultural conservation easement program as recommended by the Agricultural Enterprise Committee.

Prepared by: Linda Maurer, Economic Development Manager

Submitted by: Casey McCann, Community Development Director



RECOMMENDATION
Adopt a resolution to amend the implementation guidelines for the City’s agricultural conservation easement program as recommended by the Agricultural Enterprise Committee.

PREVIOUS ACTION
On May 8, 2007, the City Council approved the formation of a standing Agricultural Enterprise Committee to deal with issues relating to the City’s current agricultural preservation program.

On September 25, 2007, the City Council approved Resolution 2007-213, adopting a new set of implementation guidelines for Chapter 17.730 of the Brentwood Municipal Code as recommended by the standing Agricultural Enterprise Committee.

BACKGROUND
The Agricultural Enterprise Committee has recently reviewed a few possible conservation easement transactions presented by the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust (BALT). These potential easement transactions are the first to be subject to the implementation guidelines adopted in September 2007.

In attempting to apply the new guidelines, the Committee has identified a few issues, with the most important item relating to the consideration of funding for transaction costs. The current guidelines require the qualified entity (land trusts or other conservation organizations) to conduct the transaction and be reimbursed for the services and out-of-pocket expenses at the close of escrow. The Committee has determined that this method would discourage area land trusts from presenting easement opportunities to the City for consideration and is recommending changes to the implementation guidelines.

To summarize, the Committee is recommending a two-phase funding approach to cover the cost of an easement transaction. In the first phase – the pre-appraisal period – it is recommended that the qualified entity provide the City with a budget for its out-of-pocket costs such as the appraisal, and for its consultant and legal services associated with preparing the easement for appraisal. This phase one project budget would be reviewed and approved by the Committee and the Committee would provide a retainer or deposit for work conducted on the City’s behalf. For phase two – the post-appraisal period – it is recommended that the qualified entity provide another budget for its out-of-pocket costs such as the baseline report, and for its consultant and legal services associated with completing the easement transaction. During this transaction phase, the Committee is recommending that the property owner provide a deposit to the qualified entity in the amount of the post-appraisal budget. This deposit would be fully reimbursable by the City upon the close of escrow to the property owner. Both phases would be subject to the City’s purchasing policy and any necessary Council action.

It is the Committee’s opinion that this approach helps to mitigate some of the City’s financial risk in pursuing easement transactions by requesting that the property owner participate in good faith to help complete the transaction. Because each potential easement transaction comes with its own unique set of circumstances, the amended guidelines also include provisions for other alternatives, but not preferred, pre- and post-appraisal transaction cost funding.

It should be noted that the implementation guidelines are complementary to Chapter 17.730 and do not conflict with the policies outlined in the chapter. Therefore, the recommendation is that the City Council adopt the amended policy changes to provide the Committee with an effective way to implement the City’s agricultural conservation easement program.

The amended implementation guidelines are attached to the resolution. A redlined copy of the current implementation guidelines is attached as well for comparison purposes.


FISCAL IMPACT
The proposed amendments to the implementation guidelines could result in the City providing deposit funds to a qualified entity at the beginning of a transaction to cover costs such as consultant and legal fees, as well as out of pocket expenses for the appraisal (considered “transaction costs”). Estimates for some of the current transactions under consideration suggest a pre-appraisal transaction cost of between $10,800 and $15,000, which is about half of the cost associated with completing an easement transaction, excluding the purchase of the easement. If funds are expended by the qualified entity during the pre-appraisal period and the property owner decides to discontinue the transaction, funds spent up to the point of termination are not recoverable by the City. Transaction cost funding will be considered on a case-by-case basis and is subject to the City’s purchasing policy.


Attachments:
Resolution
Amended “Implementation Guidelines for the Conservation Easement Program”
Copy of original “Implementation Guidelines” in redlined format

RESOLUTION NO. 2008-___

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD AMENDING THE IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES FOR THE CITY’S AGRICULTURAL CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROGRAM FOR CHAPTER 17.730 OF THE BRENTWOOD MUNICIPAL CODE

WHEREAS, on May 8, 2007, the City Council approved the formation of a standing Agricultural Enterprise Committee to deal with issues relating to the City’s current agricultural preservation program; and

WHEREAS, on September 25, 2007, the City Council approved Resolution 2007-213, adopting a new set of implementation guidelines for Chapter 17.730 of the Brentwood Municipal Code as recommended by the standing Agricultural Enterprise Committee; and

WHEREAS, the Committee has identified a few issues in the guidelines that may result in discouraging local land trusts from bringing forward easement transactions for consideration and has recommended changes to the guidelines; and

WHEREAS, the implementation guidelines are complementary to Chapter 17.730 and do not conflict with the policies outlined in the chapter.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Brentwood adopts the amended implementation guidelines for the City’s agricultural conservation easement program for Chapter 17.730 of the Brentwood Municipal Code as recommended by the standing Agricultural Enterprise Committee in the form attached hereto.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting held on the 22nd day of July 2008 by the following vote:

 
City Administration
City of Brentwood City Council
150 City Park Way
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5440
Fax (925) 516-5441
E-mail allcouncil@brentwoodca.gov