Chapter 1.7
ADMINISTRATIVE CITATIONS

Sections:

1.7.01    Authority and Purpose.

1.7.02    Definitions.

1.7.03    Procedures—General.

1.7.04    Procedures—Issuance of administrative citation.

1.7.05    Contents of administrative citation.

1.7.06    Appeal of administrative citation.

1.7.07    Hearing procedures.

1.7.08    Fines assessed.

1.7.09    Collection of fines.

1.7.10    Other code enforcement methods.

1.7.11    Guidelines.

1.7.12    Severability.

1.7.01 Authority and Purpose.

A.    The City Council finds and declares that there is a need for an alternative method of enforcement for violations of the Municipal Code and that an appropriate method of enforcement is an administrative citation program.

B.    The Council additionally finds that it is in the public’s interest to streamline enforcement of violations of City laws by providing for administrative citations. This is so because the issuance of an administrative citation provides for a quick resolution of uncontested violations, but continues to give persons who have been issued citations a hearing before a neutral party. It also allows the City to recover costs associated with the enforcement process, which can only be done in very limited circumstances with a criminal citation. This makes code enforcement equitable since the community is not forced to fund correction of the damage a code violation can visit on the community.

C.    Pursuant to Article XI, section 7, of the California Constitution, the City has the authority to make and enforce within its jurisdictional limits all laws for the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Clovis which are not in conflict with general state laws. In addition, California Government Code section 36901 specifically provides that the City may impose civil fines, penalties and forfeitures, up to a maximum of $1,000, for violations of City ordinances. Further, California Government Code section 53069.4 was adopted by the legislature in 1995 and became effective January 1, 1996. That statutory provision expressly authorizes the City to establish an administrative citation program for violations of city ordinances.

D.    The Council further finds that certain violations of the Municipal Code may be of such a nature, or the administrative citation may be ineffective in ensuring compliance with the Municipal Code, that existing enforcement mechanisms may have to be utilized. These methods include, but are not necessarily limited to, the use of a criminal citation or complaint, or civil injunction. Therefore, nothing in this Chapter is intended to preclude the City’s use of alternative code enforcement methods. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997)

1.7.02 Definitions.

For purposes of this Chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

A.    The term “City Manager” shall mean the City Manager for the City of Clovis or his or her designated representative.

B.    The term “Person” means any natural person, firm, association, business, trust, organization, corporation, partnership, company or any other entity.

C.    The term “Enforcement Officer” means any person authorized to enforce violations of the Municipal Code.

D.    The term “Hearing Officer” means any person appointed by the City Manager to preside over the administrative hearings provided for by this Chapter.

E.    The term “Responsible Party” means any person who is responsible for violating the provisions of the Municipal Code as more particularly described in section 1.7.04A of this Chapter. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997)

1.7.03 Procedures—General.

A.    Any person violating any provision of the Municipal Code may be issued an administrative citation by an enforcement officer as provided for in this chapter.

B.    Each and every day a violation of any provision of the Municipal Code exists constitutes a separate and distinct offense. Each section of the Municipal Code violated constitutes a separate violation for any day at issue.

C.    A fine for violations of the Municipal Code may be assessed by means of an administrative citation issued by the Enforcement Officer and shall be payable directly to the City.

D.    Administrative fines assessed by means of an administrative citation shall be collected in accordance with the procedures specified in this chapter. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997, as amended by § 1, Ord. 00-30, eff. January 3, 2001)

1.7.04 Procedures—Issuance of administrative citation.

(a)    Upon discovering or observing any violation of the Municipal Code, the Enforcement Officer shall determine the party responsible for the violation. If a business, the responsible party shall be deemed to be the person who is in immediate control of the business on site that day. The Enforcement Officer may also determine that the owner of the business is the responsible party.

(b)    Except as provided for in subsection (d) of this section, prior to issuing an administrative citation to a responsible party, the Enforcement Officer shall provide written notice to the Responsible Party of the violation. That notice need not be in any particular form, but shall, at a minimum:

(1)    Describe the nature of the Municipal Code violation, including identifying the Municipal Code section(s) violated;

(2)    Identify what action is necessary to correct the violation;

(3)    Provide the responsible party with not less than ten (10) calendar days to correct the violation, unless: (a) a lesser time is specified elsewhere in the Municipal Code for correcting the violation; or (b) the Enforcement Officer determines that a lesser time is necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare of the citizens of the City; and

(4)    Explain the consequences of a failure to correct the violation.

(c)    The notice required in subsection (b) of this section may be sent to the responsible party by first class mail, certified mail, overnight mail, facsimile, telex, hand delivery, or by any other method reasonably likely to provide notice to the responsible party, by sending the notice to the responsible party’s business address, principal place of business address, residence address, or other address known to the Enforcement Officer by reliable information. The time within which to correct the violation shall run from the date the notice is sent.

(d)    The notice required by subsection (b) of this section may be dispensed with for the following violations: (1) violations that create an immediate danger to the public health, safety and welfare, as determined by the Enforcement Officer, and for which immediate correction is required; (2) noncontinuing violations for which it is not possible or practical to provide prior notice and an opportunity to correct; and (3) repeat or chronic violations where either formal or informal notice of the violation, and previous reasonable opportunities to correct, have been provided. Examples of noncontinuing violations where notice is not practical include, but are not limited to, violations relating to drinking alcoholic beverages on public streets and in public parks, the maintaining of dogs at large and vicious dogs, the spillage of hazardous waste, and the lighting of fires.

(e)    If after the expiration of the time period provided to the responsible party to correct the violation, the responsible party has not corrected the violation, the Enforcement Officer may issue an administrative citation to the responsible party by one of the following methods:

(1)    The Enforcement Officer may attempt to locate the responsible party at the location of the violation during regular business hours if a business, or at any reasonable time if not a business. If the Enforcement Officer is able to locate the responsible party, the Enforcement Officer shall attempt to obtain the signature of that person on the administrative citation. If that person refuses to or does not sign the administrative citation, the lack of signature shall in no way affect the validity of the citation and subsequent proceedings. If the responsible party refuses to sign the citation, the Enforcement Officer may either leave the citation with the responsible party or mail the citation in accordance with this subsection.

(2)    For property related violations, the Enforcement Officer may securely post the citation in a conspicuous place on the property and mail a copy of the citation to the responsible party by first class mail within five days of posting to the responsible party’s business address, principal place of business address, residence address, or other address known to the Enforcement Officer by reliable information.

(3)    The Enforcement Officer may mail the citation to the responsible party by certified and first class mail to the responsible party’s business address, principal place of business address, residence address, or other address known to the Enforcement Officer by reliable information.

The failure of any person to receive an administrative citation shall not affect the validity of any proceedings taken under this chapter. Notice shall be effective on the date the citation is received if personally served, on the date the citation was posted if posted and mailed, or on the date mailed if sent by certified mail.

(f)    The notice provided pursuant to subsection B of this section shall be sufficient notice for subsequent violations of the same code section occurring within one year of the notice even if the violation occurs at a different location, and the Enforcement Officer may proceed directly to an administrative citation on future violations of the same code section occurring within one year of the notice even if the violation occurs at a different location. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997, as amended by Ord. 98-4, eff. March 2, 1998, and § 2, Ord. 00-30, eff. January 3, 2001)

1.7.05 Contents of administrative citation.

The administrative citation shall be on a form approved by the City Manager and shall include the following:

(a)    Date and location of the violation(s) and the approximate time the violation(s) were observed and/or discovered;

(b)    Section(s) of the Municipal Code violated and description of how the section(s) are violated;

(c)    Description of the action required to correct the violation(s);

(d)    Statements to require the violator(s) to immediately correct the violation(s) and to explain the consequences of failure to correct the violation(s);

(e)    Amount of fine imposed for the violation(s);

(f)    Explanation of how the fine shall be paid and the time period by which it shall be paid, and the consequences of failure to pay the fine;

(g)    Rights of appeal;

(h)    Signature of the enforcement officer; and

(i)    Signature of the violator or the address where the citation is served, posted or mailed. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997, as amended by § 3, Ord. 00-30, eff. January 3, 2001)

1.7.06 Appeal of administrative citation.

See Chapter 28 of Title 5. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997, as amended by Ord. 98-3, eff. April 2, 1998, § 4, Ord. 00-30, eff. January 3, 2001; § 6, Ord. 14-02, eff. March 5, 2014)

1.7.07 Hearing procedures.

See Chapter 28 of Title 5. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997, as amended by Ord. 98-3, eff. April 2, 1998, by direction of the City Attorney, February 1, 2000; § 5, Ord. 00-30, eff. January 3, 2001; § 6, Ord. 14-02, eff. March 5, 2014)

1.7.08 Fines assessed.

(a)    With the exception of violations that are automatically deemed infractions under the Municipal Code, and with the exception of certain animal control violations and certain violations pertaining to the possession or use of illegal fireworks identified in this section, the amount of the fine assessed for each administrative citation issued for the same violation(s) within one year of the last administrative citation shall be as follows:

(1)    First administrative citation: one hundred and no/100ths dollars ($100.00);

(2)    Second administrative citation: five hundred and no/100ths dollars ($500.00);

(3)    Third administrative citation: one thousand and no/100ths dollars ($1,000.00).

With the exception of certain animal control violations and certain violations pertaining to the possession or use of illegal fireworks identified below, for violations of the Municipal Code that are automatically deemed infractions, the amount of the fine assessed for each administrative citation issued for the same violation(s) within one year of the last administrative citation shall be as follows:

(1)    First administrative citation: fifty and no/100ths dollars ($50.00);

(2)    Second administrative citation: two hundred and no/100ths dollars ($200.00);

(3)    Third administrative citation: five hundred and no/100ths dollars ($500.00).

For violations of the Municipal Code pertaining to animals making excessive noise, the amount of the fine assessed for each administrative citation issued for the same violation(s) within one year of the last administrative citation shall be as follows:

(1)    First administrative citation: thirty and no/100ths dollars ($30.00);

(2)    Second administrative citation: sixty and no/100ths dollars ($60.00);

(3)    Third administrative citation: two hundred and no/100ths dollars ($200.00).

For violations of the Municipal Code pertaining to the possession or use of illegal fireworks, the amount of the fine assessed for each administrative citation shall be one thousand and no/100ths dollars ($1,000.00).

For the purposes of this subsection, the “same violation” shall mean violations of the same code section, even if they occur at a different location.

(b)    Payment of the fine shall not excuse the failure to correct the violation nor shall it bar further enforcement action by the City.

(c)    All fines assessed shall be payable to the City.

(d)    Interest on unpaid fines shall accrue in accordance with Section 5.29.106. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997, as amended by direction of the City Attorney, February 1, 2000; § 6, Ord. 00-30, eff. January 3, 2001; Ord. 06-13, eff. May 17, 2006; § 6, Ord. 14-02, eff. March 5, 2014; § 1, Ord. 14-09, eff. August 6, 2014)

1.7.09 Collection of fines.

See Chapter 29 of Title 5. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997, as amended by § 7, Ord. 00-30, eff. January 3, 2001; § 6, Ord. 14-02, eff. March 5, 2014)

1.7.10 Other code enforcement methods.

Nothing in this Chapter precludes the City from using any other available methods to enforce the provisions of the Municipal Code. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997)

1.7.11 Guidelines.

The City Manager may adopt guidelines to aid in the interpretation and enforcement of this Chapter. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997)

1.7.12 Severability.

If any section, subsection, phrase, or clause of this Chapter 7 is for any reason held to be invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Chapter. The City Council hereby declares that it would have adopted this Chapter and each section, subsection, phrase, or clause thereof irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, phrases, or clauses be declared invalid. (Ord. 97-2, eff. March 10, 1997)