Chapter 1.41


1.41.010    Purpose and intent.

1.41.020    Overview of process.

1.41.030    Notice of violation.

1.41.040    Recordation of notice of violation.

1.41.050    Nonissuance of permits.

1.41.060    Reinspection fees.

1.41.070    Cease and desist orders.

1.41.080    Reserved.

1.41.090    Reserved.

1.41.100    Administrative citations.

1.41.110    Civil penalties.

1.41.120    Abatement action.

1.41.130    Reserved.

1.41.140    Cost recovery.

1.41.150    Confirmation of costs.

1.41.160    Enforcement.

1.41.170    Satisfaction of lien or obligation.

1.41.180    Abatement fund.

1.41.010 Purpose and intent.

A. It is the purpose and intent of the city council to establish administrative procedures for obtaining prompt compliance in the correction of both major and minor violations of the Chula Vista Municipal Code and state law. Conditions in violation of the municipal code or state law which affect conditions upon or uses of real property within the city of Chula Vista are hereby designated nuisances. The procedures authorized or identified by this chapter are the following: notices of violation; administrative citations; administrative fines and penalties; cease and desist orders; abatement of nuisances; recordation of notices of violation; authorization to charge reinspection fees; cost recovery for costs of enforcement; confirmation of costs; and recordation of liens and assessments for cost recovery.

B. The procedures established in and through this chapter may cross reference, consolidate or incorporate by reference, as applicable, enforcement methods established elsewhere in this code, in order to create a uniform process for prompt code compliance, administrative due process and effective enforcement.

C. The city manager, any cognizant director and the city attorney are each authorized to utilize and initiate the procedures established in this chapter and Chapters 1.30 and 1.40 CVMC.

D. The procedures in CVMC Title 1 may be used as a supplement to criminal or judicial enforcement action, or both, or in lieu thereof. Selection of one method shall not preclude the use of any other method or combination of methods when appropriate.

E. The terms “abatement,” “city manager,” “code enforcement officer,” “director,” “nuisance,” and “responsible party” are as defined in CVMC 1.04.010. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.020 Overview of process.

A. Violations of the municipal code affecting uses of or conditions upon real property may be corrected through the issuance of a notice of violation pursuant to CVMC 1.41.030 to the responsible party requiring certain actions to be taken to bring the property or structure into compliance. The responsible party will be allowed a reasonable period of time in which to correct the violation, normally not less than 10 calendar days. Failure to comply within the time prescribed can then result in the issuance of an administrative citation in accordance with CVMC 1.41.100 or any other method or combination of methods deemed appropriate.

B. An administrative citation is a notice to the responsible party which mandates the corrective action and establishes a fine as a penalty for the prior noncompliance of the notice of violation. Subsequent administrative citations may be issued with increased penalty. Corrective action that may be required of a responsible party includes, but is not limited to, the removal of encroachments into public property, the mitigation or restoration of land or adjoining property for illegal grading or development, the removal or modification of blockages of drainage ways and the removal of structures to rectify any code violation or cure any hazardous condition. It includes any other process necessary for abatement. In addition, through the notice and hearing procedures of Chapters 1.30 and 1.40 CVMC, the responsible party can be made subject to an order of abatement through which the corrective work will be undertaken by the city and the cost will be imposed as a lien against the property if the responsible party fails to respond.

C. Each day a violation exists on real property is a continuing and additional violation, and all remedies, penalties and assessments are cumulative.

D. In addition to a notice of violation, a cease and desist order can be issued pursuant to CVMC 1.41.070 to one or more responsible parties or other persons who perform work in violation of a permit or without a required permit. Violation of the cease and desist order is a separate misdemeanor. A responsible party or any person on scene actively conducting the violation under the direction of a responsible party is subject to arrest without a warrant for continuing work in violation of the cease and desist order, as well as for the actions constituting the violation of this code. A responsible party can be required to obtain necessary permits, restore or revegetate the property, or both, and correct or mitigate the consequences of the violation. Administrative citations can also be issued assessing administrative fines for both the creation of and the continuance of the violation.

E. If the responsible party fails or refuses to correct the violation, proceedings may be undertaken to abate any existing or resulting nuisance, pursuant to Chapter 1.30 CVMC. Abatement orders authorize a director to enter upon property and correct the violation or condition, or the removal of encroachment upon public property. Enforcement costs may be imposed against the responsible party and noncomplying property.

F. During the pendency of the violation and the enforcement process, a notice of violation may be recorded against the property pursuant to CVMC 1.41.040 describing the particulars of the violation to insure that the property is properly abated prior to or upon transfer. The recorded notice of violation will be released upon issuance of a notice of compliance which shall be recorded by the director in due course within 15 days after request for such release by the property owner.

G. During the inspection and enforcement process, cost recovery can be imposed for the cost of reinspection (CVMC 1.41.060) and the costs of city services to abate (Chapter 1.30 CVMC and CVMC 1.41.140). These costs may be recorded as a lien against the property following the procedures under this chapter or the waiver thereof by the responsible party.

H. Various steps or procedures under this chapter may require notice and a hearing pursuant to Chapter 1.40 CVMC. When appropriate, notice and hearing requirements for separate administrative actions may be consolidated. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.030 Notice of violation.

A. A code enforcement officer is authorized to serve a notice of violation upon a responsible party for any violation of the municipal code. The notice of violation will describe the violation, the dates and location of the violation, the applicable code section(s), the corrective action required and a date for compliance reinspection. The responsible party will be advised that a reinspection fee (CVMC 1.41.060) will be imposed for a second and all subsequent reinspection if compliance is not voluntarily obtained, and that an administrative citation may also be issued along with civil penalties pursuant to CVMC 1.41.100 and 1.41.110 until the property is brought into compliance. The responsible party will be allowed a minimum of 10 calendar days to correct minor violations and no less than 30 calendar days for major violations. A code enforcement officer may extend the time for a reasonable period beyond those limits if circumstances dictate. The notice of violation will inform the responsible party of the potential costs and consequences that may ensue under this chapter if voluntary compliance is not obtained within the time prescribed. If the violation is corrected in accordance with the terms of the notice of violation, no costs or charges will be imposed.

B. Service of a notice of violation is effective upon delivery or mailing pursuant to this section. Failure or refusal to sign does not invalidate the notice of violation and subsequent proceedings.

C. The property will be reinspected once for compliance. If the responsible party refuses to allow inspection, after a reasonable demand, the code enforcement officer may obtain an inspection warrant pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 1822.50. Failure of the responsible party to allow inspection or remedy the violation shall result in the issuance of an administrative citation, the charging of reinspection fees, and may result in a separate criminal violation for the failure to allow inspection (CCP Section 1822.57).

D. If the violation also constitutes the performance of work without a required permit or in violation of an issued permit, the code enforcement officer may issue a cease and desist order pursuant to CVMC 1.41.070 to temporarily and immediately enjoin the work and to take any other action appropriate at that time. If the violation creates a hazardous condition which affects public safety or an imminent threat to life, safety, summary abatement may be initiated pursuant to this section. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.040 Recordation of notice of violation.

A. Whenever a violation on real property remains uncorrected after a notice of violation has been issued, a copy of the notice of violation may be recorded by the director in the real property records of San Diego County if the following prerequisites are met:

1. A violation has remained uncorrected on the property for at least 30 calendar days following service of the notice of violation;

2. The owner, if not the responsible party, has been notified of the prospective recordation and been offered the opportunity to correct the violation;

3. The property owner and all of the responsible parties shall be notified that development permits shall be withheld during the time the property remains in violation pursuant to CVMC 1.41.050, except for those permits that are necessary to bring the property into compliance;

4. The responsible party and the property owner have been noticed and offered a hearing pursuant to Chapter 1.40 CVMC to contest the proposed corrective action and the proposed recordation.

B. The director is authorized to record the notice of violation pursuant to this section upon issuance of the final order.

C. Cancellation of Recordation. The director shall issue to the property owner and other responsible parties a signed notice of compliance which states on its face that it cancels the notice of violation once all violations have been corrected and any administrative penalties, costs and fines involved in the enforcement process have been paid. The notice of compliance shall be recorded by the director if the notice of violation was recorded. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.050 Nonissuance of permits.

After a notice of violation has been recorded against the property pursuant to CVMC 1.41.040, the city manager shall withhold the issuance of any permits for development as allowed by law upon that property, save for those permits necessary to correct the violation(s). A party whose permits are to be withheld shall be noticed as part of the recordation process pursuant to CVMC 1.41.040 and offered a hearing pursuant to Chapter 1.40 CVMC in which to contest this decision. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.060 Reinspection fees.

A. Reinspection fees are authorized to recover city costs when excessive time and effort becomes necessary to obtain code compliance. Reinspection fees are an appropriate method to recover costs that are disproportionately attributable to recalcitrant responsible parties.

B. After a notice of violation or an administrative citation is issued, or an order is issued by or under the authority of a director which requires corrective action by a responsible party, that party will be notified that it will be liable for any reinspection fees necessary if the condition remains uncorrected. The first inspection following the issuance of the notice of violation, citation or order is considered part of the normal cost of enforcement and will not be charged if the condition is then promptly corrected. Otherwise, it will be included as part of the costs of enforcement.

C. Reinspection fees may be collected and enforced as part of the enforcement process or in combination with other administrative proceedings under this chapter, provided the responsible party was notified in advance of its liability for reinspection fees under subsection (B) of this section. Appeals, service of notice and hearing procedures are established in Chapter 1.40 CVMC.

D. Reinspection fees will be charged on the basis of actual staff time utilized for the inspection(s), based upon the master fee schedule on file in the office of the city clerk. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.070 Cease and desist orders.

A. A director or code enforcement officer is authorized to issue personally, or to serve in accordance with CVMC 1.40.030, a written cease and desist order upon any person violating a provision of the municipal code through which work is being performed without a permit, if required, or in violation of an issued permit. Cease and desist orders are particularly appropriate for violations of land grading, watercourse and water and sewer regulations and related work which alters the condition of real property or through which environmental degradation or pollution will continue to occur if not stopped immediately.

B. It is unlawful for any person to whom a cease and desist order has been personally issued or served to continue to perform work in violation of the terms of that order.

C. It is unlawful for any responsible party to whom a cease and desist order has been served to continue to perform work or to allow or permit another to continue to perform work in violation of the terms of that order.

D. Prosecution under subsection (B) or (C) of this section does not bar prosecution or administrative enforcement, or both, of the previous underlying violations for any or all days the violation had been in existence, or for the continuance of the underlying violation.

E. Any director or code enforcement officer in whose presence a violation of subsection (B) or (C) of this section occurs may arrest the violator without a warrant, and a police officer may accept custody of that arrestee for criminal enforcement processing.

F. The director may initiate other administrative enforcement and compliance methods in accordance with this chapter and Chapters 1.30 and 1.40 CVMC, as appropriate. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.080 Reserved.

1.41.090 Reserved.

1.41.100 Administrative citations.

A. The council finds that there is a need for an alternative method of enforcement for minor violations of the municipal code and applicable state codes. The council further finds that an appropriate method of enforcement for minor violations is an administrative citation program. The procedure established in this section shall be in addition to criminal, civil or any other legal remedy established by law which may be pursued to address violations of the municipal code or applicable state code.

B. An administrative citation can be issued to a responsible party for violation of a regulatory provision of this code or state law, and the responsible party be required to pay an administrative fine. Administrative citations and penalties are particularly appropriate in cases of structural, building and zoning violations that do not create an immediate danger to health or safety if the responsible party has failed to correct the violation after the issuance of a notice of violation pursuant to CVMC 1.41.030.

C. An administrative citation may be issued in lieu of the initiation of a criminal action for the same violation. However, in particularly egregious cases, criminal enforcement may be appropriate for continuing violations if the administrative citation is ignored by the responsible party.

D. The amount of administrative fine that may be imposed for each separate violation of the same code section is as follows:

1. One hundred dollars ($100.00) for a first violation; $200.00 for a second violation within the 12 calendar months of the first violation; $500.00 for each additional violation occurring after the second violation and within 12 months of any prior violation.

2. Issuance of an administrative citation and payment of the administrative fine does not excuse compliance and corrective action regarding the violations. Although continuing violations of the municipal code are separate offenses, the responsible party shall be allowed a reasonable time of not more than 30 days in which to correct the violation before a second or subsequent administrative citation may be issued.

3. A responsible party may request administrative review of an administrative citation pursuant to Chapter 1.40 CVMC.

E. The administrative citation shall contain the following information:

1. Date of the violation;

2. Address and location of violation;

3. Description of violation;

4. Applicable codes and statutory sections violated;

5. Corrective action required;

6. An order to bring the violation into compliance;

7. Notice of the fines to be imposed;

8. A date, not less than 20 days, by which payment of the fine must be made;

9. Location for payment;

10. Notification that payment does not excuse correction of the violation;

11. Notice of right to request review pursuant to Chapter 1.40 CVMC.

F. A party filing a timely request for review pursuant to Chapter 1.40 CVMC shall post a deposit with the director. Enforcement of the administrative fine shall be stayed pending the decision of a hearing examiner if a hearing is requested. Procedures for review shall be in accordance with Chapter 1.40 CVMC. The deposit will be returned if the appeal is granted. A final order is not subject to judicial review after 20 days have elapsed from the date of its issuance, unless the party complies with Government Code Section 53069.4. See CVMC 1.40.020(H). A final order may be enforced pursuant to CVMC 1.41.160. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.110 Civil penalties.

A. The council finds that there is a need for alternative methods of enforcement of the Chula Vista Municipal Code and applicable state codes. The council further finds that the assessment of civil penalties through an administrative hearing procedure for code violations is a necessary alternative method of code enforcement. The administrative assessment of civil penalties established in this section is in addition to any other administrative or judicial remedy established by law which may be pursued to address violations of the municipal code or applicable codes.

B. Civil penalties may be assessed against a responsible party for continued violations of the municipal code or applicable state codes, whether of the same section or any combination, that reflect a continuing disregard for the requirements of such laws. The director may issue a notice and order to the responsible party assessing a civil penalty pursuant to this section. The civil penalty may be enforced against the responsible party as a lien pursuant to CVMC 1.41.140.

C. Except for violations of land grading ordinances contained in Chapter 15.04 CVMC, civil penalties may be assessed at a daily rate not to exceed $2,500 per violation per day.

D. The civil penalty for violations of land grading permits or land grading work done without the issuance of a permit shall be based on an estimate by the director of grading work performed. The rate of civil penalties shall be as follows:

1. Less than 250 cubic yards, but not meeting the requirements for an exemption from grading permit under CVMC 15.04.150: $1,000 per violation;

2. Two hundred fifty-one (251) to 500 cubic yards: $5,000 per violation;

3. Five hundred one (501) to 1,000 cubic yards: $10,000 per violation;

4. Over 1,001 cubic yards: $25,000 per violation;

5. In the event any individual, firm, company, developer or property owner causes a second violation of the land grading permit ordinance, either on the same property or different property and whether or not part of the same development, the rate of civil penalties shall be doubled. For third and subsequent violations, the rate of civil penalties shall be multiplied by a factor of four.

E. Civil penalties under this section may be accrued retroactive to the date the violations were first discovered, as evidenced by the issuance of a notice of violation pursuant to CVMC 1.41.030, or any later date determined by the director. In determining the amount to be imposed on a daily rate, the director shall consider the following factors:

1. Duration of the violation;

2. Frequency or occurrence of the violation;

3. Frequency or occurrence of other violations during the period of accrual;

4. Seriousness of the violation in relation to its threat or impact upon public health, welfare or safety;

5. History of the violations;

6. Activity taken by the responsible party to obstruct or interfere with correction of the problem;

7. Good faith or bad faith efforts by the responsible party to comply;

8. The impact of the violation on the surrounding property and community;

9. The financial ability of the responsible party to have corrected the violation in a timely fashion.

F. The director shall comply with Chapter 1.40 CVMC concerning notice of the proposed civil penalties and the right to a hearing to contest or confirm. Unless contested, the notice and order shall be final and be enforced pursuant to CVMC 1.41.160. If contested, the hearing examiner shall limit the hearing to the following issues:

1. Whether the responsible party maintained a use or condition on real property that violated the municipal code or state law on the dates specified; and

2. Whether the civil penalty assessed is consistent with the criteria expressed in subsection (E) of this section. The hearing examiner may, however, exercise discretion pursuant to CVMC 1.40.020(E) and increase or decrease the penalties assessed to a level determined to be supported by the evidence meeting the criteria under subsection (E) of this section.

G. The director shall issue a final order based on the proceedings under subsection (E) of this section and establish a date for payment, following which date an enforcement lien shall be imposed upon the property. The imposition of an enforcement lien may be made a part of the proceedings and notice and order under CVMC 1.41.100 or this section. (Ord. 3401 § 1, 2017; Ord. 3377 § 1, 2016; Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.120 Abatement action.

Procedures for the abatement of nuisances, when required for corrective action, are contained in Chapter 1.30 CVMC. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.130 Reserved.

1.41.140 Cost recovery.

A. Pursuant to Government Code Section 38773, costs and penalties that may be recovered and enforced against responsible parties under this chapter include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. City’s direct cost for abatement of nuisances, together with applicable overhead;

2. Costs of salary and applicable overhead of those City employees and contract personnel involved in the investigation, enforcement and remediation or abatement of a nuisance;

3. City costs for equipment use or rental;

4. Court costs and witness fees;

5. Costs of geotechnical, engineering and other technical services and studies;

6. Administrative fines and civil penalties imposed pursuant to this chapter;

7. Reinspection fees pursuant to CVMC 1.41.060;

8. Costs of monitoring programs necessary for correcting, monitoring, abating or mitigating nuisances and violation;

9. Any other fee, cost or expense reasonably and rationally related to the City’s enforcement efforts to abate a nuisance or correct a violation of this code or applicable state law;

10. Treble damages recoverable pursuant to Government Code Section 38773.7 (see CVMC 1.41.160(B)).

B. Attorneys’ fees may be recovered by the prevailing party only in individual actions or proceedings in which the City elects, at the initiation of that individual action or proceeding, to seek recovery of its own attorneys’ fees. If the City does not elect, at the initiation of an individual action or proceeding, to seek recovery of its own attorneys’ fees, no other party shall seek or recover attorneys’ fees. (Ord. 3398 § 1, 2017; Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.150 Confirmation of costs.

Following the conclusion of the city’s remediation, abatement or corrective actions, the director shall notify the property owner and appropriate responsible parties of a proposed assessment of costs against each individually and as a lien or assessment against the real property that was the subject of abatement or corrective action. Notice and an opportunity to be heard and contest the basis for the assessment of costs or lien shall be provided to those parties in accordance with Chapter 1.40 CVMC. Following any hearing or waiver thereof, the city manager may then issue a final order of confirmation of costs against the respective responsible parties. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.160 Enforcement.

A. In accordance with Government Code Section 38773, the city manager or a director, or both as appropriate, may enforce the confirmation of costs as follows:

1. As a personal obligation against a responsible party; and

2. Either:

a. As a recorded lien with the priority of a judgment lien in the real property records of the county against any real property which was the subject of abatement or corrective action; or

b. As an assessment against the property which was subject to abatement or corrective action, to be collected in the same manner as municipal taxes.

B. The city manager, city attorney or director is authorized to obtain judicial enforcement for the foreclosure of the lien, where appropriate. In addition, pursuant to Government Code Section 38773.7, the city manager may seek treble damages for the abatement costs where the corrective action arose out of or constituted a second or subsequent civil or criminal judgment within a two-year period, as provided for in that section. Enactment of this subsection constitutes the enactment of an ordinance authorizing the recovery of treble damages in accordance with Government Code Section 38773.7. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.170 Satisfaction of lien or obligation.

Upon payment in full by one or more responsible parties for all costs of enforcement and the satisfactory completion of all corrective action required, the city manager or director shall promptly issue to all responsible parties a notice of compliance. The notice of compliance will be signed and identify the affected real property by address, legal description and tax assessor’s parcel number, and be recorded in the real property records of the county by the director if a lien was recorded. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).

1.41.180 Abatement fund.

The city manager shall budget for estimated expenses for abatement and code enforcement purposes in the annual budget process. Revenue received shall be deposited in a designated account in the general fund. All penalties and fines collected under CVMC 1.41.140 shall be deposited to the general fund. (Ord. 2718 § 3, 1998).