SACRAMENTO -- The
pace of urbanization slowed in Kings
County, with 695 acres of land -- most
of it farmland -- converted to urban
uses from 1998-2000, according to a map
released today by the California
Department of Conservation. The map is
designed to help local governments
evaluate land-use planning decisions.
The Farmland Mapping
and Monitoring Program (FMMP), part of
DOC's Division of Land Resource
Protection, maps 44.1 million acres of
California's public and private land to
produce a major study every two years.
In Kings County, a
net total of 665 acres of farmland --
including 235 acres of prime farmland,
the most productive type -- were
reclassified as urban land by the FMMP.
An additional 72 acres of land
classified as "other" -- a category that
includes wetlands, low-density "ranchettes"
and brush or timberlands unsuitable for
grazing -- was reclassified to urban.
Since the FMMP began
in 1984, 12,057 acres have been
urbanized in Kings County. During the
1996-98 mapping cycle, the total was
Looking ahead, 318
acres -- including 225 acres of prime
farmland -- are committed to
non-agricultural use. Often, this is
land earmarked for development. In some
cases infrastructure development, such
as sewer installation, may be underway.
Kings County was
among the first to be mapped in the
1998-2000 cycle. Of the 890,786 acres
mapped in the county, 607,501 (68.2
percent) were cultivated, 238,301 (26.8
percent) were used for grazing, 28,939
(3.2 percent) were urbanized and 15,979
(1.8 percent) were classified as
The map has been sent
to Kings County planning officials, and
interested parties such as the county
Farm Bureau, Local Agency Formation
Commission, planning consultants and
area resource conservation districts
have received copies.
"We do this mapping
to help counties plan and prepare for
their expected growth in the coming
years," explained Department of
Conservation Director Darryl Young.
"This information is a tool that can
help Kings County and other local
governments balance the needs of a
growing population with those of the
agricultural land will continue to face
development pressure in the foreseeable
future. The California Department of
Finance projects that the county's
population will grow from its current
129,800 to 202,800 by 2020.
According to the
California Department of Food and
Agriculture, the gross value of Kings
County's agricultural production was
more than $885 million in 2000, ranking
it 12th among the state's 58 counties.
examples of agricultural land being
urbanized in Kings County:
Eleven of the 19
conversions of farmland to urban land
noted during this update occurred
around the city of Hanford. New
developments included Stonecreek
(about 80 acres), Vintage Estates (15
acres) and Bridgegate Estates (5
Two new schools --
the 12-acre Pioneer Middle School and
the 10-acre Joseph M. Simas Elementary
School -- were built in Hanford.
Ten acres of new
homes were built in Armona.
About 30 acres of
new housing and a 20-acre sports
complex were noted in Lemoore.
Additionally, about 40 acres of
grazing land were turned into new
homes and a new apartment complex in
The latest statewide
study by the FMMP, Farmland Conversion
Report 1996-98, was released last fall.
About 70,000 acres were urbanized
throughout the state; more than 43,000
acres of the new urban land, an area
about the size of the city of Modesto,
were developed on agricultural land.