Chapter 12- Development Credits



          12.010                    Background.

          12.020                    Purpose and Intent.

          12.030                    Definitions.

          12.040                    Development Credits Program Provisions.

          12.060                    Clustering.






12.010          Background.

Agriculture is an important component of the Mono County economy and cultural identity. The landowners of two valleys in particular, Bridgeport and Hammil, have expressed a strong desire to preserve their agriculturally designated lands. In these regions, a development credit program was crafted in the 1980s that allocated a fixed number of development credits to each parcel of agriculturally designated land based upon the total acreage of the individual parcel, or the total aggregated acreage of each individual landowner. Historically a “ledger” of development credits was maintained by the Community Development Department. This ledger is no longer maintained, as the number of development credits is tracked for each parcel directly on the Land Use Designation maps. Previously, the Area Plans for Bridgeport and Hammil valleys have described the Development Credits program. This chapter was created during the 2013 General Plan Update to better organize information regarding the existing development credit program and facilitate expanded agriculture preservation policies.

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12.020          Purpose and Intent.

The purpose of the Development Credits program is to:

  • Implement the policies of the General Plan, including the area plans of the Hammil Valley, Bridgeport Valley and Bodie Hills.
  • Encourage the continuation of agricultural production.
  • Ensure the retention of parcels sized large enough for viable agricultural production by allowing a process to transfer the development potential of large parcels to smaller parcels, clustered in appropriate locations.  

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12.030          Definitions.

Development Credit: One development credit permits the construction of one single-family residence. Accessory Dwelling Units, pursuant to Chapter 16 of the Mono County Land Development Regulations, shall not be considered as a development credit.

Exclusive Agriculture: A land use designation given to a parcel that has no remaining development credits.

Cluster development: The concentration of detached single-family residences onto smaller lots than ordinarily permitted by the base designation, while not exceeding the permitted density for the total acreage being considered. This permits optimum use of the land; i.e., responding to site constraints by clustering away from the area of sensitivity or high agricultural value, yet not decreasing the allowable density.

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12.040          Development Credits Program Provisions.

The following development credit program provisions are applicable to all Agriculture land use designations with the DC suffix on the Land Use Designation maps (see

  1. Residential Development

One development credit permits the construction of one single-family residence. Accessory Dwelling Units, pursuant to Chapter 16 of the Mono County Land Development Regulations, shall be permitted and shall not be considered as a development credit.

  1. Subdivision Potential

Development credits shall be considered in the subdivision process. Parcels with multiple development credits may, through the subdivision process, cluster parcels smaller than otherwise allowed by the land use designation in appropriate locations. The total number of development credits allocated to a parcel equals the total number of developable parcels that may be created.

  1. Minimum Parcel Size and Designation
    1. In the Bridgeport Valley and Bodie Hills, no parcel may be created less than one acre in size.
    2. In the Hammill Valley, no parcel may be created less than 10 acres in size.

Parcels created through the subdivision process that are less than the minimum allowed parcel size for the AG designation shall be redesignated with the RR designation.

  1. Farm Labor Housing

Exclusive farm labor housing is allowed without consideration of development credits on parcels that support ongoing agricultural operations.

  1. Exclusive Agriculture


  1. One Exclusive Agriculture parcel per map may be created through the subdivision process.
  2. Exclusive Agriculture parcels will be noted on the Land Use Designation maps at as AG parcels with the EX suffix.
  3. Exclusive Agriculture parcels of 160 or more acres are permitted one single-family dwelling and one Accessory Dwelling Unit pursuant to Chapter 16 of the Mono County Land Development Regulations.
  4. Exclusive Agriculture parcels shall not be further subdivided, decreased in size by a lot line adjustment, or merged with nonexclusive agriculture parcels.
  5. Exclusive Agriculture parcels may be enlarged through lot line adjustment or merger only when the larger parcel will remain completely with the Exclusive Agriculture designation.

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12.060          Clustering.

Wherever feasible, residential development shall occur on clustered parcels of the minimum parcel size allowed by each community. The location of the residential clusters shall be guided by the following policies:

  1. Adjacent to existing residential development (if feasible);
  2. A buffer may be required in consultation with adjacent agricultural landowners;
  3. Avoiding steep slopes and fault hazard areas;
  4. Avoiding wetlands and areas subject to flooding;
  5. Away from visually sensitive areas, such as ridgelines or along scenic highways;
  6. Minimizing impacts to wildlife including migrating deer, sage grouse, etc.;
  7. Minimizing impacts to cultural resource sites;
  8. Proximate to existing access and utilities (if feasible);
  9. On soils of sufficient structural and sanitary waste disposal capabilities.
  10. To avoid impacts to irrigated land; and
  11. On soils rated Class II or poorer by the Soil Conservation Service land use capability classifications.

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