Law:Division 23.5. Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy (California)

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Contents

Chapter 1. Establishment And Purposes

Ca Codes (prc:33500-33509) Public Resources Code Section 33500-33509



33500. The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the mountains and natural community conservation lands of the Coachella Valley in Riverside County contain unique and important open-space, wildlife, scenic, environmental, anthropological, cultural, scientific, educational, and recreational resources that should be held in trust for the enjoyment of, and appreciation by, present and future generations.


33501. The Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy is hereby created as a state agency within the Resources Agency to acquire and hold, in perpetual open space, mountainous lands surrounding the Coachella Valley and natural community conservation lands within the Coachella Valley, and to provide for the protection of wildlife resources on, and the public's enjoyment of, and the enhancement of their recreational and educational experiences on, those lands in a manner consistent with the protection of the lands and the resource values specified in Section 33500.


33502. (a) The territory of the conservancy consists of that portion of Riverside County bounded by a line commencing at the intersection of the highest elevation of the San Jacinto Mountains and the range line common to Range 2 East and Range 3 East, S.B.M., in the vicinity of the western limits of the Sonoran Desert; thence north along that range line to its intersection with the San Bernardino-Riverside County boundary, thence east along the San Bernardino-Riverside County boundary to its intersection with the highest elevation of the Little San Bernardino Mountains; thence meandering southeast and east along the points of highest elevation of the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the Cottonwood Mountains, and the Eagle Mountains to the point of intersection with the range line common to Range 12 East and Range 13 East, S.B.M.; thence south along that range line to its intersection with the township line common to Township 5 South and Township 6 South, S.B.M.; thence east along that township line to its intersection with the range line common to Range 13 East and Range 14 East, S.B.M.; thence south along that range line to its intersection with the boundary of the Chocolate Mountains Aerial Gunnery Range; thence west and south along the boundary of the Chocolate Mountains Aerial Gunnery Range to its intersection with the Imperial-Riverside County boundary; thence west along the Imperial-Riverside County boundary to its intersection with the highest elevation of the Santa Rosa Mountains; thence meandering northwest and north along the points of highest elevation of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains to the point of beginning; and as more specifically set forth in that certain map entitled "Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy" and dated ____ 1999, and placed on file with the Secretary of State, which map is incorporated in this subdivision by this reference. (b) The governing board of the conservancy may adjust the boundary delineating the territory of the conservancy, but not by more than 500 yards from the boundary as mapped pursuant to subdivision (a), to embrace within the conservancy adjacent lands that have any of the resource values specified in Section 33500. Any adjustment in the boundary shall be reflected in a revision to the map specified in subdivision (a), which revision shall be promptly filed with the Secretary of State.

33502.5. Notwithstanding Section 33502, the incorporated areas of the Cities of Coachella and Indio, as they exist on January 1, 1994, are excluded from the territory of the conservancy.


33503. (a) The governing board of the conservancy consists of the following 21 voting members: (1) The mayor or a member of the city council of each of the Cities of Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Rancho Mirage, appointed by a majority of the membership of the respective city council of each city. (2) The Chairperson of the Tribal Council of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. (3) One member of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Riverside, appointed by a majority of the membership of the board of supervisors. (4) Three members chosen from the general public who reside within the conservancy's territory, one of whom shall be appointed by the Governor, one of whom shall be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and one of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly. (5) The Secretary of the Resources Agency. (6) The Director of Fish and Game. (7) The Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation Board. (8) The Director of Parks and Recreation. (9) The Director of Finance. (10) The Vice President, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, of the University of California. (11) The State Director for California of the United States Bureau of Land Management. (12) The Regional Forester for the Pacific Southwest Region of the United States Forest Service. (13) The Regional Director for the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service. (b) Any state or federal official who is a member of the governing board and whose principal office is not within the territory of the conservancy may designate a member of his or her executive staff to vote on his or her behalf and otherwise discharge the duties of the member when the member is not in attendance. Notice of that designation shall be promptly communicated in writing to the chairperson of the conservancy. (c) Each city council, the Tribal Council of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and the Board of Supervisors of the County of Riverside may appoint an alternate member from its respective entity to attend the governing board meetings and vote on behalf of the appointed member and otherwise discharge the duties of the member when that member is not in attendance. Notice of the designation shall be promptly communicated in writing to the chairperson of the conservancy.


33505. (a) The term of each voting member of the governing board shall be two years and until his or her successor is appointed. Any vacancy shall be filled within 60 days of its occurrence by the appointing authority. (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), no supervisor, mayor, or member of a city council shall hold office on the governing board of the conservancy for more than 60 days after ceasing to be that supervisor, mayor, or member of the city council, respectively, and the membership on the board held by that person terminates upon the expiration of that 60-day period. However, any mayor who immediately resumes the office of member of the city council, and any member of a city council who becomes mayor, has not ceased to hold office for the purposes of this subdivision. (c) The seat of any general public member shall be deemed vacant upon the member's ceasing to be a resident of the conservancy's territory, and the membership on the board held by that person shall terminate upon the appointment of his or her successor or the expiration of a period of 60 days after ceasing to be a resident, whichever occurs first.


33506. The voting members of the conservancy's governing board shall elect a chairperson, vice chairperson, and other officers as determined to be necessary, from among the persons designated in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 33503, to serve for one-year terms.


33507. A majority of the members appointed to the governing board of the conservancy shall constitute a quorum, and, except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 33702, no official action relating to the acquisition of any interest in real property shall be taken by the governing board except in the presence of a quorum and upon the recorded votes of a majority of the members appointed to the governing board. Any official action affecting any matter other than relating to the acquisition of an interest in real property shall be taken by the governing board in the presence of a quorum and upon the recorded votes of a majority of the members appointed to the governing board who are present and voting.


33508. Each voting member of the governing board designated in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 33503 shall receive compensation in an amount set by the governing board, not to exceed seventy-five dollars ($75) for each day, or portion thereof, and not to exceed four hundred fifty dollars ($450) annually, while attending meetings of the governing board, or, upon authorization by the governing board, while on official business of the conservancy, and to receive the actual and necessary expenses incurred in performing those official duties, if that member does not receive compensation on a full-time basis from another source for discharging the responsibilities of any of the offices designated in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 33503. Any member may waive compensation.


33509. (a) Meetings of the governing board are subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code). (b) The governing board shall meet to conduct business of the conservancy only at locations within the territory of the conservancy. This subdivision shall not prohibit members of the governing board, including a quorum thereof, from participating in meetings and conferences conducted outside the territory of the conservancy, so long as those members do not engage in taking official actions of the conservancy while participating in those meetings or conferences.


Chapter 2. Powers And Duties

Ca Codes (prc:33600-33605) Public Resources Code Section 33600-33605



33600. The conservancy shall have and may exercise all rights and powers, expressed or implied, necessary to carry out the purposes and intent of this division, including, but not limited to, the rights and powers expressly set forth in this division.


33601. The conservancy may do all of the following: (a) Sue and be sued. (b) Determine the qualifications of, recommend the salary of, and appoint, an executive director who shall be exempt from civil service and serve at the pleasure of the conservancy. In addition, the conservancy may employ other staff pursuant to the State Civil Service Act and as may be authorized in the annual state Budget Act. (c) Enter into contracts pursuant to Article 4 (commencing with Section 19130) of Chapter 5 of Part 2 of Division 5 of Title 2 of the Government Code, for services requiring knowledge, experience, and ability not possessed by the conservancy's staff. (d) Enter into other agreements with public agencies, private entities, and persons necessary for the proper discharge of the conservancy's duties. (e) In order to further the conservancy's purposes as set forth in Section 33501, award grants to cities, counties, resource conservation districts, or nonprofit organizations that are described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 33702 and that are qualified as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C.A. Sec. 501(c)(3)).


33602. The conservancy may adopt regulations governing the use by the public of conservancy lands and provide for their enforcement. Any regulation shall authorize only those uses of conservancy lands that are consistent with the protection, enhancement, or restoration of those lands and the resource values specified in Section 33500. The violation of any regulation is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or both that fine and imprisonment. One-half of the amount of any fine collected shall be remitted to the conservancy for expenditure, upon appropriation, for carrying out the purposes of this division.


33603. The conservancy may provide interpretive services and facilities and make the minimal improvements necessary to negate the deleterious influence of man on, and to facilitate the public's enjoyment of, and to enhance the public's recreational and educational experiences on, conservancy lands. No improvement shall be undertaken unless it is in furtherance of the conservancy's purposes, as set forth in Section 33501.


33604. Any expenditure by the conservancy that exceeds the amount specified in Section 20162 of the Public Contract Code, except expenditures for the acquisition of land for the purposes of Section 33501, shall be subject to the requirements of Article 4 (commencing with Section 20160) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code.


33605. The conservancy may accept any revenue, money, grants, fees, rents, royalties, goods, services, donations, bequests, or gifts of any interest in real property from any public agency, private entity, or person for any lawful purpose of the conservancy subject to the requirements of Sections 11005 to 11005.7, inclusive, of the Government Code. A gift of personal property that is subject to the requirements of Sections 11005 and 11005.1 of the Government Code shall be deemed approved by the Director of Finance, unless it is disapproved within 60 days of receipt of a request from the executive director of the conservancy to approve the gift.


Chapter 3. Open-space Protection Program

Ca Codes (prc:33700-33704) Public Resources Code Section 33700-33704



33700. (a) As used in this chapter, "mountainous lands" means all lands, irrespective of their angle of slope or other natural or manmade terrain features, within the territory of the conservancy that lie above the floor of the Coachella Valley, if there is no alluvial fan, or that lie above any alluvial fan extending onto the valley floor, as more specifically set forth in that certain map entitled "Coachella Valley Mountainous Lands Map" and dated ____ __, 1999, and placed on file with the Secretary of State, which map is hereby incorporated in this subdivision by this reference. The map described in this subdivision may be combined with, and made a part of, the map described in Section 33502. (b) The governing board of the conservancy may adjust the boundary delineating mountainous lands within the conservancy's territory, but not by more than 100 yards from the boundary mapped as specified in subdivision (a), to avoid bisecting any single lot or parcel in existence on January 1, 1991, or to conform the boundary to more readily identifiable natural or manmade features in existence on January 1, 1991, if the adjustment will not jeopardize any of the resource values specified in Section 33500. Any adjustment in the boundary shall be reflected in a revision to the map specified in subdivision (a), which revision shall be promptly filed with the Secretary of State. (c) In the event of any inconsistency between the definition of "mountainous lands," as set forth in this section, and the map described in this section, the definition shall control. (d) As used in this chapter, "natural community conservation lands" means all lands within the territory of the conservancy, the preservation of which is necessary to implement a natural community conservation plan that has been approved by the Department of Fish and Game pursuant to Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 2800) of Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code.


33701. The conservancy may not exercise the power of eminent domain. The conservancy may request the State Public Works Board to exercise the power of eminent domain on behalf of the conservancy pursuant to the Property Acquisition Law (Part 11 (commencing with Section 15850) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code). The conservancy may initiate a request only with respect to uninhabited real property within the territory of the conservancy containing mountainous lands and after providing at least 60 days' notice of its intention to request acquisition by eminent domain. The notice shall be sent either to the city in which the real property is situated; the county if the real property is situated in an unincorporated area; or the Tribal Council of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians if the real property is situated within the trust lands of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. The State Public Works Board shall not, acquire any real property by eminent domain in response to a request of the conservancy if either of the following is the case: (a) No part of the real property is mountainous land. (b) The acquisition is objected to by the city in which the real property is situated; by the county if the real property is situated in an unincorporated area; or by the Tribal Council of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians if the real property is situated within the trust lands of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. To be effective, the objection shall be made by a resolution of the city council, the county board of supervisors, or the Tribal Council of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, as the case may be, adopted within 60 days from the date of receipt of notice from the conservancy. The city, the county, or the tribal council, as the case may be, may at any subsequent time rescind its objection.


33702. (a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), the acquisition of real property or interests in real property under this division is subject to the Property Acquisition Law (Part 11 (commencing with Section 15850) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code). (b) Any acquisition of real property or any interest in real property within the territory of the conservancy that is located in an area designated as a National Scenic Area and that has a value of less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000), is not subject to the Property Acquisition Law. (c) Any acquisition of real property from the County of Riverside that was acquired by the county as a result of the nonpayment of taxes, and that has a value of less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000), is not subject to the Property Acquisition Law if the Administrative Secretary of the State Public Works Board has received written notice that the conservancy has adopted a resolution requesting that the real property be removed from public sale and the Director of Finance has not, within 60 days from the date that the written notice was received, notified the executive director of the conservancy that the real property must be acquired under the Property Acquisition Law. (d) The committee that is responsible for developing the Coachella Valley natural community conservation plan as of December 31, 1999, or any subsequent committee that is responsible for overseeing the implementation of any state-approved Coachella Valley natural community conservation plan, habitat conservation plan, or similar program, shall be the advisory committee to the conservancy in its implementation of any aspect of the plan or program. Prior to the acquisition of property or the taking of other actions in furtherance of the plan or program, the conservancy shall consult with the advisory committee. (e) Except as provided in Section 33701, and subject to Section 33507, the conservancy may acquire any property, and any interest in property, on behalf of itself or a state agency represented on the governing board, within its territory if acquisition of the property is in furtherance of the conservancy's purposes, as set forth in Section 33501. The conservancy may initiate, negotiate, and participate in agreements with local, state, and federal public agencies or nonprofit entities for the management of land under the conservancy's ownership or control, in furtherance of the conservancy' s purposes. The conservancy may also hold, manage, maintain, administer, occupy, and care for that property in the event that no appropriate public or private entity is available to undertake that responsibility without cost to the conservancy. (f) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the conservancy shall not sell, exchange, lease, or otherwise dispose of or encumber, any mountainous lands or natural community conservation lands unless authorized by a four-fifths vote of the governing board or a two-thirds vote of the electors residing within the conservancy. (2) The conservancy may transfer any mountainous lands or natural community conservation lands to another public agency or to any nonprofit organization that has as its primary purpose the preservation, protection, or enhancement of land in its natural, scenic, historic, agricultural, forested, or open-space condition or use, if the transfer is authorized in the presence of a quorum and upon the recorded votes of a majority of the voting members of the governing board, and if the transferee agrees to hold, manage, maintain, administer, occupy, and care for the property in perpetuity and in furtherance of the conservancy's purposes, as set forth in Section 33501. (3) Any lease entered into pursuant to this subdivision shall not exceed five years and shall include the express provision that the lease may be terminated at any time that the governing board determines that the land is needed for conservancy purposes. (g) Notwithstanding subdivision (e) and the requirements specified in subdivision (f), the conservancy may sell, exchange, lease, or otherwise dispose of or encumber, property that is not mountainous land or natural community conservation land on any terms that are in the best interests of the conservancy.

33702.5. The conservancy may enter into an option to purchase real property in fee or any lesser interest and may transfer an option subject to the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 33702.


33703. This division is not intended to infringe on the existing authority of the County of Riverside or the cities lying within the conservancy's territory to plan and control land uses, and no provision of this division shall be construed as conferring on the conservancy the authority to plan or control the use of any land except those lands that the conservancy may acquire and hold.


33704. The Legislature hereby acknowledges the role of the former Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy, a California nonprofit corporation, and its successor, the Coachella Valley Mountains Trust, a California nonprofit corporation, in providing the leadership within the community that led to the creation of the conservancy pursuant to this division. Accordingly, the conservancy created by this division shall consult, and coordinate its program, with the trust, and any successor entity, for as long as it may exist.


Chapter 4. Finances

Ca Codes (prc:33800-33806) Public Resources Code Section 33800-33806



33800. (a) The conservancy may incur debt only for the purpose of acquiring real property. To acquire that property, the conservancy may only borrow money from, and incur a debt to, an entity that is represented on the conservancy's governing board if the debt instrument pertaining to the acquisition of the property states that the security for the debt created therein is limited to the real property to be acquired, and includes an acknowledgment that no state funds or state credit will be obligated or committed to repay the debt. (b) Any debt instrument that is entered into by the conservancy after January 1, 1997, shall be null and void, except for a debt instrument that complies with subdivision (a) and is approved by the Department of Finance.


33802. The conservancy may fix and collect fees for the use by the public of any lands owned or otherwise controlled by the conservancy. No fee shall, however, exceed the conservancy's cost of providing the service for which the fee is charged.


33803. (a) The conservancy may raise revenues for any lawful purpose of the conservancy pursuant to this chapter. (b) If the conservancy proposes to raise revenue by the levy of an assessment on real property or by the levy of any type of tax or increase in any existing tax authorized by this chapter, and the law authorizing the assessment or tax requires the approval of the electors of the conservancy, the assessment or tax may not be levied unless and until it is approved by the electors of the conservancy at an election held for that purpose. Any assessment or tax levied by the conservancy shall be approved by two-thirds of the votes cast by the electors of the conservancy if the law authorizing the assessment or tax requires approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, or shall be approved by a majority of the votes cast by the electors of the conservancy if the law authorizing the assessment or tax provides for approval by a majority of the votes cast. (c) Any election conducted by the conservancy shall be consolidated with a statewide election or any election conducted throughout the County of Riverside.


33804. The conservancy is expressly authorized to raise revenues by any, or a combination, of the following: (a) An assessment to finance capital improvements and land acquisition, which may be levied within one or more zones within the conservancy's territory established to reflect the level of service provided by the conservancy within the zone, as provided in the Improvement Act of 1911 (Division 7 (commencing with Section 5000), Streets and Highways Code), the Improvement Bond Act of 1915 (Division 10 (commencing with Section 8500), Streets and Highways Code), the Municipal Improvement Act of 1913 (Division 12 (commencing with Section 10000), Streets and Highways Code), and the Landscaping and Lighting Act of 1972 (Division 15 (commencing with Section 22500), Streets and Highways Code). At the election authorizing the assessment, the conservancy may propose a range of assessment rates, within which range the rate may from time to time be adjusted by the governing board to reflect the conservancy's revenue needs. (b) A special tax, as provided in Article 3.7 (commencing with Section 53720) of Chapter 4 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code. (c) A special tax levied pursuant to the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 (Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 53311) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code).


33805. Upon making the determination that immediate revenues are insufficient for the acquisition of property, other capital expenses, or the funding or refunding of any outstanding indebtedness, the governing board of the conservancy may call an election on a proposition to incur indebtedness in a specified amount and to issue limited obligation bonds.


33806. The Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The money in the fund shall be made available for expenditure by the conservancy, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the purposes of this division.


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