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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Filing a Code Complaint

Q. How can I find out if a permit is required and if a permit was issued for suspected illegal construction or activities?

A. To determine if construction work is being done with the required permits, you may look up whether there are active permits online (find the property's APN here) or email the building section:

Q. How do I file a complaint?

A. Complaint forms are available at the Planning Department. Complaints may also be filed online by completing our Code Complaint Form.

Q. Is my complaint confidential?

A. The name of the complainant is kept confidential. If litigation ensued, the name of the complainant could be made known to the judge who may or may not decide to make such information public.

Q. What happens with my complaint?

A. Your complaint is entered into a computer system and information concerning any issued building and development permits is researched along with information from various county departments. A first contact letter is then sent to the owner and an investigation file is prepared.

Q. How can I check the status of my complaint once it is filed?

A. If you wish to have receipt of your complaint acknowledged, you may indicate so on the complaint form when you file it. Also, you may call the Planning Department Code Compliance telephone at (831) 454-2580 to inquire about the status of your complaint.

Q. May I withdraw a complaint once I file one?

A. Once the complaint has been processed, a first contact letter is sent to the property owner and an acknowledgement letter is sent to the complainant. At this point in time, your complaint cannot be withdrawn.

Q. Who addresses animal noise complaints?

A. County Animal Control. They can be reached at 831-454-7303.

Frequently Asked Questions About Resolving a Code Complaint

Q. I have been issued a Notice of Violation for a County Code violation. What do I do now?

A. Contact the Code Compliance Investigator that issued the notice, their name and telephone number is written on the notice. To respond by e-mail, which is preferred, visit (INSERT LINK to contacts page)

Q. How do I get a copy of the Ordinance section listed on the Notice of Violation to understand what the violation is?

A. The County Code is available online and you may view and/or print the code section listed on the Notice of Violation.

Q. What happens if the code violation remains uncorrected?

A. If you do not resolve the violation within 90 days, enforcement sanctions may be initiated. These sanctions may include referral to an Administrative Hearing Officer for the imposition of civil penalties or referral to Superior Court.

Q. Why is the Notice of Violation recorded on the property's title?

A. The Notice of Violation is recorded on the title of the property to inform any prospective purchaser or anyone who may assume financial interest in the property that a violation has been confirmed on the property.

Q. What is the process to correct a Code violation?

A. Make an appointment to meet with the appropriate planning counter staff to discuss options and submittal requirements.

Q. What happens when I comply by either removing the violation or legalizing the construction under permit?

A. Contact the Code Compliance Investigator who issued the notice of violation.

Q. How do I get the recorded violation removed or "expunged"?

A. If a Notice of Violation has been recorded on the title, you must request that this notice be expunged, e.g. erased. Recording an Expungement, which indicates that the violation has been corrected, accomplishes this. Payment of all Code Compliance enforcement costs as well as an expungement fee is required before the expungement will be recorded. Contact the Code Compliance Investigator who recorded the Notice of Violation on your property and he/she will have the appropriate forms and documents prepared.

Q. Is there a statute of limitations on land use violations?

A. County of Santa Cruz Chapter 1.12.010 states "It shall be a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which any violation of, or failure to comply with, any provision of this code is committed, continued or permitted." Therefore, there is no statute of limitations on land use violations.