PACE Program Update Seeks to Expand Opportunity to Farmers


The County’s Planning & Development Services (PDS) Sustainability Section manages the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) Program, which promotes the long-term preservation of agriculture in the unincorporated area of San Diego County. Under the PACE Program, willing agricultural property owners receive one-time compensation for placing an easement on their property that ensures the property will remain in agricultural use.

On March 3rd, the County’s Board of Supervisors adopted (Item 10) the PACE Program Update, which included new eligibility criteria to provide this opportunity to a larger group of agricultural landowners, and an update to the ranking criteria used for easement selection. In order to meet the eligibility requirements for the expanded program, properties must meet the following criteria:

  1. Active agriculture for at least two years immediately prior to application
  2. Property must be zoned A70 – Limited Agriculture, A72 – General Agriculture, RR – Rural Residential, S90 – Holding Area, or S92 – General Rural

To determine property Zoning and program eligibility, a Property Summary Report may be generated using the County’s Self-Service portal.

PACE Program
PACE Program Guidelines

Ranking criteria options were also presented to the Board of Supervisors for consideration and direction. To ensure that PACE Program applications are reviewed consistently, applications are evaluated and scored using the ranking criteria outlined in the PACE Program Guidelines. The Board directed the implementation of a weighted criteria which emphasizes the preservation of important agricultural resources and properties that contribute as a wildlife buffer to the County’s adopted South County Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) and draft North and East County MSCPs.

2021 PACE Application Cycle Now Open!

The County is excited to announce the 2021 application cycle for the PACE Program is now open for applications! Key dates for the 2021 PACE application cycle are:

  • Monday, March 22, 2021 - PACE application period opens
  • Monday, April 19, 2021 - First review of PACE applications
  • Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - Final submission date for PACE applications
Sign up for PACE Program

Be sure to sign up to receive updates on the PACE Program and stay informed of upcoming County conservation updates and events! If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Neal at or (858) 505-6677.