Skip to main content

Assemblymember Connolly Strengthens Community Land Trusts

AB 2897 expands the definition of a community land trust, eliminates an unneeded evaluation requirement, and makes a technical correction to the Welfare Exemption Code.

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 2897, which updates the tax code to reflect an updated and comprehensive definition of a community land trust, eliminates an ambiguous and burdensome local government evaluation requirement, and makes a technical correction to the Welfare Exemption Code.

“Updating the definition of a community land trust allows us to embrace the full range of diverse purposes a community land trust can serve, and aligns its statutory definition with property stewardship practices,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael). “Allowing community land trusts to serve non-residential purposes for collective use enriches our state and benefits our community.”

Community land trusts are nonprofit organizations that steward residential property as affordable permanent housing. Although the community land trust model is well known for providing housing, it is intended to be flexible, allowing for community controlled businesses, services or other kinds of organizational adaptations depending on community need. However, the existing statutory definition is overly narrow, and excludes some community land trusts with diverse and non-residential practices from falling within the category. For example, community land trusts that facilitate stewardship of a community resource, such as a garden, nonprofit office space, or small business retail may not fall under the current statutory definition. Community land trust properties rented to tenants are often eligible for the property tax “welfare exemption”, and in 2022 AB 1206 authorized community land trusts to keep their welfare exemption even if one or more residents’ income increases. This gives community land trusts flexibility in determining who qualifies as low income, so residents can maintain their housing security even if they get a promotion or raise.

AB 2897 will update the statutory language used to define a community land trust in state law to reflect the full range of purposes a community land trust serves today. Further, this bill will remove an ambiguous and burdensome requirement placed upon city or county attorneys to evaluate community land trusts in their jurisdiction. Finally, AB 2897 addresses a technical cross-referencing correction in existing law that allows community land trusts to maintain the property tax Welfare Exemption under the same circumstances as Low-Income Housing Tax Credit projects.

AB 2897 is currently waiting to be assigned to a policy committee.


Assemblymember Connolly represents the entirety of Marin County and Southern Sonoma County