Code Compliance Overview
Responsibilities of the Code Compliance Section
- Building Code requirement for permits
- Zoning Ordinance
- Environmental Protection Ordinances
- Abatement of Dangerous Buildings
Code Compliance Investigators respond to complaints from the public and referrals from local agencies. The mission of this section is to ensure the equitable and consistent enforcement of local building and land use regulations as adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
The Code Compliance Investigators respond to complaints from the public and referrals from local agencies, such as local fire departments, sheriff, and State agencies, such as the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The mission of this section is to ensure the equitable and consistent enforcement of local building and land use regulations as adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
The Enforcement Process
The process usually begins with a "Stop Work" notice or the filing of a complaint, alleging that a violation of County land use regulations has occurred. A First Contact Letter is sent to the property owner, informing them of the complaint. Next, the Investigator, reviews the complaint, completes research of available building land use information and records, and conducts a site inspection.
If the reported allegation is confirmed, a Notice of Violation is posted on the property, and the owner is notified, by mail and informed that the violation must be corrected within 90 days usually. The property owner has 20 days within which to appeal the issuance of this notice. If the notice is not appealed, it may be recorded on the title to the property, informing any future owner of the violation and that it must be corrected.
The property may be reinspected, usually 90 days after the notice was issued, and if the violation has been corrected, the investigation is resolved. If the violation remains, the matter may be referred for an administrative hearing, or to County Counsel, or the District Attorney for legal action. Although voluntary compliance is sought, uncorrected violations can result in significant penalties to the property owner. Additionally, the property owner or responsible party is liable for enforcement costs, that is staff time spent on obtaining compliance.
In some cases where resolution of a violation is relatively simple, the code investigator may post an administrative citation rather than sending a first contact letter. Administrative citations come with a $100 fine for a first offence, per code section violated. If the violation is not rectified within a reasonable amount of time, further citations may be posted daily until the violation has been resolved. A second citation is a $200 fine, and every citation thereafter carries a $500 fine.
The Abatement Process
Code Compliance has access to a limited amount of funds available for the abatement of properties where compliance efforts have been exhausted. These cases typically involve dangerous buildings and neglected properties. Once the nuisance has been abated, the cost of that action will be attached to the property tax bill for cost recovery.
To File A Complaint
A complaint can be filed using our online code compliance complaint form, in writing, or by FAX. The source of all complaints remains confidential and will not be released by the County, unless required to do so by Court Order.
Report a violation by fax: 831-454-2131, attn: Code Compliance
Code Compliance, Planning Department
701 Ocean Street, 4th Floor
Santa Cruz, California 95060