Chapter 8.36
REGULATION OF PROPERTY MAINTENANCE

Sections:

8.36.010    Title.

8.36.020    Findings and purpose.

8.36.030    Authority.

8.36.040    Applicability.

8.36.050    Definitions.

8.36.060    Conditions constituting a nuisance.

8.36.061    Substandard property.

8.36.062    Landscape maintenance.

8.36.070    Requirement to abate public nuisances.

8.36.080    Illegal dumping.

8.36.090    Responsibility for property maintenance.

8.36.100    Inspection.

8.36.101    Determination by Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official.

8.36.102    Informal notice.

8.36.103    Formal notice of substandard property.

8.36.104    Combining notices.

8.36.105    Service of notice.

8.36.106    Other interested parties.

8.36.107    Declaration of substandard building or property.

8.36.108    Posting of signs.

8.36.110    Summary abatement of immediate dangers.

8.36.120    Abatement of nuisance violation.

8.36.130    Applicability of other laws.

8.36.140    Severability.

8.36.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as “the ordinance regulating property maintenance.” (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.020 Findings and purpose.

The City Council finds that the adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter will serve the following purposes:

(A) To enhance and promote the maintenance of real property, both improved and unimproved, and by so doing, improve the livability, appearance and social and economic conditions of the community;

(B) To attempt to ensure that real properties, whether improved or unimproved, do not reach such a state of deterioration or disrepair as to cause the depreciation of the value of surrounding property or be materially detrimental to nearby properties and improvements;

(C) To promote compliance with the goals, policies and implementation measures of the Palmdale general plan, specifically by establishing minimum standards and procedures to permit the abatement of blighted areas within the City. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.030 Authority.

The City Council finds and determines that the City is authorized in accordance with its police power to implement and enforce this chapter in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare of its residents by requiring the maintenance of improved and unimproved property within the City. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.040 Applicability.

The provisions contained in this chapter shall apply to all improved and unimproved commercial, residential, industrial and open space land located within the City. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.050 Definitions.

(A) “Hazard” means any condition or circumstance which poses a potential or actual risk to human life or to the public health, safety or welfare.

(B) “Nuisance” means anything which is injurious or potentially injurious to the public health, safety or welfare, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, or defaces public or privately owned real property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property, or unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any public street or highway.

(C) “Property owner” and “owner” means the owner or owners of record of real property as shown on the latest assessment roll of Los Angeles County, or as otherwise identified by a title report on the property. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.060 Conditions constituting a nuisance.

It is unlawful for any person owning, leasing, renting, occupying or having charge of any property in the City to maintain such property in such a manner that any of the following conditions are found to exist thereon and to be of such a nature as to be injurious or potentially injurious to the public health, safety and welfare or to have a tendency to degrade the appearance and property values of surrounding property:

(A) Property Conditions Constituting a Nuisance.

(1) Overgrown, diseased, dead or decayed trees, weeds or other vegetation within portions of the City that are partially or fully developed, which:

(a) Constitute a fire hazard or a condition considered dangerous to the public health, safety and general welfare due to a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, obstruction of vehicular line of sight, impairment of vehicular traffic or the ability to clearly observe safety signs and signals, or which

(b) May result in the harborage of vermin, or pest or disease infestation, or which

(c) Constitute an unsightly appearance that has the potential to degrade or negatively impact the appearance of surrounding properties;

(2) The accumulation of lumber, junk, trash, debris or salvage materials so as to be visible at ground level from a public street, alley or from adjoining property, except that nothing herein shall preclude the placement of firewood when stacked in accordance with applicable health and fire codes for use on the premises;

(3) The accumulation of animal feces or animal-related wastes;

(4) Outdoor storage, so as to be visible at ground level from a public street or from adjoining property for a period exceeding 30 days, or as a part of a continuing practice, of any of the following items:

(a) Broken or discarded furniture, appliances, boxes and containers, play equipment, toys and similar household articles,

(b) Abandoned, inoperative, wrecked or dismantled autos, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, camper boats or other recreational vehicles,

(c) Discarded, wrecked or inoperable machinery and tools,

(d) Salvage materials, scrap metal or other building and construction materials including, but not limited to, dirt, sand, gravel, lumber, concrete, tile, rocks, bricks and other similar materials;

(5) Unmaintained garbage or trash cans, dumpsters or receptacles that are visible from public rights-of-way or which cause offensive odors or constitute a source of wind-blown trash or debris to adjacent properties;

(6) Conditions which, due to their accessibility to the public, may be hazardous or dangerous, including but not limited to:

(a) Unused or broken appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, and similar storage chests,

(b) Excavations, wells, shafts, pits and unsecured cellars or basements,

(c) Machinery which is inadequately secured or protected,

(d) Accumulations of lumber, refuse and waste matter, or discarded materials, including, but not limited to, building and construction materials,

(e) Pools, spas, fountains, ponds and tanks which are not maintained in a safe and sanitary manner;

(7) Unmaintained or broken irrigation systems;

(8) Defaced, illegal, unmaintained or unsafe signage;

(9) Unmaintained grease traps; dirt-filled, oil-filled or debris-filled loading areas, parking lots and trash enclosures;

(10) Illegal parking of vehicles:

(a) Parking, storing, or keeping of any motor vehicle within that area of a residential lot customarily considered to be the front yard. The front yard area does not include the driveway. For purposes of this subsection, the driveway shall be limited to: (1) one paved area leading directly from the public right-of-way to an attached garage or carport (whether one-car, two-car, or more), which paved area shall be limited in width to the width of the attached garage(s) or carport(s); (2) where the only garage or carport is a detached rear yard garage or carport, to the width of a single lane driveway, which shall not exceed 12 feet in total width, leading directly in a straight line from the public right-of-way to the rear portion of the lot; (3) one single-lane paved area not exceeding 12 feet in width leading directly in a straight line from the public right-of-way to a side yard parking area as permitted by subsection (A)(10)(c) of this section on the same side of the lot as the principle attached front yard garage or carport; and (4) one circular driveway on a lot with a minimum frontage of 80 feet with no other driveway leading to an approved garage, carport, rear yard or side yard parking area, subject to the approval of the City Traffic Engineer. Any such circular driveway shall not exceed 20 feet in width between the interior and exterior arcs, and shall be abutted by a maintained landscaping area on both interior and exterior arcs. Parking any vehicle on any other portion of the front yard, whether paved or unpaved, including in an area leading to an approved additional paved parking area in a rear or side yard, is prohibited.

(b) Parking, storing or keeping of any recreational vehicle, trailer, boat, or camper within that area of a lot customarily considered to be the front yard. The front yard area does not include the driveway. For purposes of this subsection only, the driveway shall be limited to: (1) one paved area leading directly from the public right-of-way to an attached garage or carport (whether one-car, two-car, or more), which paved area shall be limited in width to the width of the attached garage(s) or carport(s); (2) where the only garage or carport is a detached rear yard garage or carport, to the width of a single lane driveway which shall not exceed 12 feet in width, leading directly in a straight line from the public right-of-way to the rear portion of the lot; and (3) one single-lane paved area not exceeding 12 feet in width leading directly in a straight line from the public right-of-way to a side yard parking area as permitted by subsection (A)(10)(c) of this section on the same side of the lot as the principle attached front yard garage or carport. Parking any recreational vehicle, trailer, boat, or camper on any other portion of the front yard, whether paved or unpaved, including in an area leading to an approved additional paved parking area in a rear or side yard, is prohibited.

(c) Parking, storing or keeping of any motor vehicle within that area of a residential lot customarily considered to be the side yard except when parked on a rock or paved surface. The side yard area does not include a side yard driveway to an approved side yard or rear yard garage or carport.

(d) Parking, storing or keeping of any recreational vehicle, trailer, boat or camper within that area of a lot customarily considered to be the side yard except when parked on a rock or paved surface. The side yard area does not include a side yard driveway leading to an approved side yard or rear yard garage or carport.

(11) Unmounted campers or camper shells stored in the front yard, side yard or driveway areas.

(B) Structural Conditions. Structures or buildings, both permanent and temporary, or other improvements, including, but not limited to, walls, fences, slabs and utility extensions, which exhibit any of the following conditions are deemed to be nuisances:

(1) Are structurally unsafe, either entirely or in part, or which constitute a fire or other hazard;

(2) Have faulty weather protection as determined by the Building Official;

(3) Have crumbling, cracked, missing, broken or loose exterior stucco or other siding, roofs, foundations or floors (including lack of paint or other protective finish), broken or missing windows or doors;

(4) Have dry rot, warping or are infested with termites, insects or vermin, or have paint which is cracked, peeled or blistered rendering the building in such a state of disrepair as to be unsightly;

(5) Are abandoned, partially destroyed or left in a state of partial construction and where the appearance or other conditions of any such building or structure substantially detracts from the appearance of the immediate neighborhood;

(6) Are abandoned and have windows containing broken glass, or no glass at all where the window is of a type which normally contains glass, thereby creating hazardous conditions and inviting trespassers and malicious mischief. Plywood or other similar material (of at least one-half-inch thickness) shall be used to cover such window space. When such covering is required for an extended period of time, the material shall be painted in a color or colors consistent with the remainder of the structure;

(7) Are unoccupied and have been left unlocked or otherwise open and unsecured from intrusion by persons, animals or the elements;

(8) Have exterior walls, fences, driveways, sidewalks or landscape elements which do not require a building permit and which are in a hazardous condition, or hinder free access to public sidewalks, or are in such a state of disrepair as to be unsightly. (Ord. 1261 § 1, 2006; Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.061 Substandard property.

Any one or more of the following conditions shall constitute substandard property:

(A) Substandard Buildings.

(1) As declared by the Building Official under the housing, abatement of dangerous buildings, or building code,

(2) As declared by the Senior Code Enforcement or Building Official as determined by this chapter;

(B) Unpainted buildings causing dry rot, warping and termite infestation;

(C) Broken windows constituting hazardous conditions and inviting trespassers and malicious mischief;

(D) Overgrown vegetation causing detriment to neighboring properties or property values;

(E) Dead trees, weeds and debris that:

(1) Constitute an unsightly appearance,

(2) Are dangerous to public safety and welfare, or

(3) Are detrimental to nearby property or property values;

(F) Trailers, campers, boats and other mobile equipment stored for unreasonable periods in yard areas contiguous to streets or highways and causing depreciation of nearby property values;

(G) Inoperable or abandoned motor vehicles stored for unreasonable periods on the premises and causing depreciation of nearby property values;

(H) Attractive nuisances dangerous to children in the form of:

(1) Abandoned and broken equipment, or

(2) Neglected machinery;

(I) Broken or discarded furniture and household equipment in yard areas for unreasonable periods of time;

(J) Clothesline in front yard areas;

(K) Garbage cans stored in front or side yards and visible from the public street except when placed in places of collection at the times permitted;

(L) Packing boxes and other debris stored in yards and visible from public streets for unreasonable periods;

(M) Neglect of premises:

(1) To spite neighbors, or

(2) To influence zone changes, granting of exceptions or special-use permits, or

(3) To cause detrimental effect upon nearby property or property values;

(N) Maintenance of premises in such condition as to be detrimental to the public health, safety or general welfare or in such manner as to constitute a public nuisance as defined by Civil Code Section 3480;

(O) Property, including, but not limited to, building exteriors which are maintained in such condition as to become so defective, unsightly, or in such condition of deterioration or disrepair that the same causes appreciable depreciation of the property values of surrounding property or is materially detrimental to proximal properties and improvements. This includes, but is not limited to, the keeping or disposing of or the scattering over the property or premises of any of the following:

(1) Lumber, junk, trash or debris,

(2) Abandoned, discarded or unused objects of equipment such as automobiles, furniture, stoves, refrigerators, freezers, cans or containers,

(3) Stagnant water or excavations,

(4) Any device, decoration, design, fence, structure, clothesline or vegetation which is unsightly by reason of its condition or its inappropriate location;

(P) Maintenance of premises so out of harmony or conformance with the maintenance standards of adjacent properties as to cause substantial diminution of the enjoyment, use or property values of such adjacent properties;

(Q) Property maintained in violation of the rights of others so as to establish a prevalence of depreciated values, impaired investments, and social and economic maladjustments to such an extent that the capacity to pay taxes is reduced and tax receipts from such particular area are inadequate for the cost of public services rendered therein;

(R) Grading which does not meet the minimum standards of the City or any other County or state law regulating grading. (Ord. 1154 § 9, 1999; Ord. U-1154 § 9, 1999)

8.36.062 Landscape maintenance.

Landscaping shall be maintained (watering, fertilizing, weeding, mowing, pruning, etc.) by the landowner (unless otherwise noted in a rental agreement and/or contract between the landlord and tenant) in accordance with the following: Sites shall be kept clean and maintained at all times. Weeds and trash (wind blown or otherwise) shall not be allowed to accumulate on the site. Vegetation shall receive sufficient water and other required customary care to maintain health and vigor to the maximum extent possible. Pruning and mowing shall be used to maintain plant health and vigor while enhancing its form and structure. Lawn/grass turf blades shall be maintained to not exceed eight inches from grade in height. All dead or obviously unhealthy plant material shall be replaced with new material which is comparable to original installation. (Ord. 1177 § 2, 2001)

8.36.070 Requirement to abate public nuisances.

(A) Any property, building or other improvements found to be maintained in violation of any one or more provisions of PMC 8.36.060 is declared to constitute a public nuisance and shall be abated by rehabilitation, repair, removal or demolition pursuant to the procedures set forth in this chapter.

(B) Any property, building or other improvement found to be maintained in such condition as to constitute a public nuisance as defined anywhere in this code, the statutes of the state of California or in the common law, is declared to constitute a public nuisance subject to abatement under the procedures set forth in this chapter. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.080 Illegal dumping.

(A) Unlawful Dumping in Public Places. No person shall dispose of or dump waste matter of any kind or composition upon any public property, street or alley of the City including trash dumpsters, cans and receptacles, except where public property is provided and set apart by the City for such use.

(B) Unlawful Dumping on Private Property. No person shall dispose of or dump any waste matter in or upon any private property including any portion of the right-of-way thereof, or in or upon any private property into or upon which the public is admitted by easement or by license, or upon any private property without the consent of the property owner.

(C) Lawful Stockpiling or Storage. This section does not restrict a property owner in the use of his or her own private property for the legal storage or stockpiling of materials (in conformance with any applicable state, County or City permit or code), unless the placing, depositing or dumping of the materials on the property creates a public health and safety hazard, a public nuisance, or a fire hazard, as determined by the Los Angeles County Health Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department or the City’s Senior Code Enforcement Officer or such officer’s designee. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.090 Responsibility for property maintenance.

(A) Every owner of real property within the City is required to maintain such property in a manner so as to not violate the provisions of this chapter, and such owner remains liable for violations thereof regardless of any contract or agreement with any third party regarding such property.

(B) Every occupant, lessee, tenant or holder of any interest in real property, other than the owner thereof, who has assumed responsibility for the maintenance of such property under the terms of a written lease, rental agreement, or other contractual arrangement shall maintain the property in a manner so as not to violate the provisions of this chapter, to the extent of that legal responsibility. At the request of the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or such officer’s designee, the person claiming a limitation on his or her responsibility for maintenance of such property shall produce for inspection the document establishing such limitation. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.100 Inspection.

(A) Authorized Representatives. The Senior Code Enforcement Officer, the Building Official or their respective designees are authorized to make inspections and take such actions as may be required by this chapter to abate public nuisances.

(B) Inspection of Premises. Whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that a condition, activity, or use of property exists which constitutes a public nuisance or hazard, the Senior Code Enforcement Officer, the Building Official or their respective designees may request to enter the premises at a reasonable time for the purpose of inspection. If the premises are occupied, entry shall be requested and appropriate identification shall be presented. If the premises are unoccupied, a reasonable effort, as deemed appropriate by the Senior Code Enforcement Officer, the Building Official or their respective designees, shall be made to locate the property owner and to obtain the right of inspection in accordance with state law. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.101 Determination by Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official.

Whenever the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official determines by inspection that any existing building or portion thereof is substandard or any lot or other premises is substandard, or both, as defined in this chapter, such building or premises, or both, are declared a public nuisance, and the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official shall order the abatement of the nuisance by demolition, repair or rehabilitation of the substandard (condition) at the option of the party concerned, by repair, demolition or demolishment. (Ord. 1154 § 1, 1999; Ord. U-1154 § 1, 1999)

8.36.102 Informal notice.

When the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or the Building Official has determined an existing building, portion thereof, lot or premises is substandard, as defined in this chapter, in addition to any notices hereafter required by this chapter, the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official may give to the occupants of the substandard property, and to any other person whom he or she deems should be so notified, information concerning the provisions of this chapter, any violation thereof, how the person notified may comply and any other information deemed expedient. The Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official may post such information on the substandard property or on the substandard building. (Ord. 1154 § 2, 1999; Ord. U-1154 § 2, 1999)

8.36.103 Formal notice of substandard property.

(A) If, in the opinion of the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official, a property is found to be substandard, as defined in this chapter, the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official shall give to the party concerned written notice stating the conditions which make the property substandard.

(B) The notice may require the owner or person in charge of the premises to remove within 30 days, or within another time limit which the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official may stipulate, the conditions which cause the property to be substandard if, in order to comply with such notice, it is necessary to remove any vehicle or any part thereof, such notice shall include a description of such vehicle and the correct identification number and license number, if available at the site. (Ord. 1154 § 3, 1999; Ord. U-1154 § 3, 1999)

8.36.104 Combining notices.

A notice of substandard property and of a substandard building on such property may be combined into one notice. (Ord. 1154 § 4, 1999; Ord. U-1154 § 4, 1999)

8.36.105 Service of notice.

(A) Proper service of a notice provided for in PMC 8.36.102, 8.36.103 and 8.36.104 shall be by personal service or by registered or certified mail upon every party concerned, by posting a copy of the notice on the substandard building, if any, and upon the substandard property, if any. It shall be deemed a reasonable effort has been made to serve such notice when registered or certified letters have been mailed to the address of the interested party as shown on the official record. When an address is not so listed or contact cannot be made at the listed address, the service shall be by posting a copy of the notice on the substandard building, if any, or on the substandard property.

(B) The designated period within which the owner or person in charge is required to comply with such notice shall begin on the date the owner or person in charge receives such notice by personal service or registered or certified mail. If such notice is by posting, the designated period shall begin 10 days following the date of posting. (Ord. 1154 § 5, 1999; Ord. U-1154 § 5, 1999)

8.36.106 Other interested parties.

If the notice of substandard building or property requires the repair or demolition of any building and if the demolition or other work necessary to remove the substandard conditions set forth in such notice is not completed within the time specified in such notice and the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official intends to directly proceed to demolish the substandard building or portions thereof, or cause such other work to be done to the extent necessary to eliminate the hazard or other substandard conditions which have been found to exist and, by a document recorded in the office of the Department of Registrar-Recorder prior to the recordation of the declaration of substandard building or property, whether such document describes the property or not, it appears that a person other than a party concerned has any right, title, lien or interest in the property or any portion thereof, and such person has not previously been notified of the substandard building or property conditions or previously been served a copy of the notice of substandard building or property and the address of such person is known to the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official or can be ascertained by the exercise of due diligence, the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official shall serve a copy of the notice of substandard building or property on such person as provided in this chapter. Such person may request a hearing as outlined in PMC 8.36.120. (Ord. 1154 § 6, 1999; Ord. U-1154 § 6, 1999)

8.36.107 Declaration of substandard building or property.

The Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official may file with the Department of Registrar-Recorder a declaration that a substandard building or substandard property or both have been inspected and found to be such, as defined in this chapter, and that all parties concerned have been or will be so notified. The costs incurred by the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official in the investigation of such properties and the processing of the declaration and notification of concerned parties shall be due prior to release of such notice. After the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official finds that the public nuisance had been abated and either that such abatement has been accomplished at no cost to the City, or such costs have been placed upon the tax rolls as a special assessment pursuant to Section 25845 of the Government Code, or that the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official’s jurisdiction has been prompted by government acquisition of the property, the Official shall record in the Department of Registrar-Recorder a document terminating the above declaration. (Ord. 1154 § 7, 1999; Ord. U-1154 § 7, 1999)

8.36.108 Posting of signs.

The Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official shall cause to be posted at such substandard building or property a notice of substandard building or property and/or a sign to read:

SUBSTANDARD PROPERTY: DO NOT ENTER OR DAMAGE, BY ORDER OF THE CODE ENFORCEMENT DIVISION OR DIVISION OF BUILDING AND SAFETY OF THE CITY OF PALMDALE. Palmdale Municipal Code 8.36, Regulation of Property Maintenance.

Such sign may contain such additional information and warnings that the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official considers expedient. Such notice or sign shall remain posted until the required repairs, demolition, removal, barricading or property cleanup is completed. Such notice or sign shall not be removed without permission of the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or Building Official. No person shall enter except for the purpose of making the required repairs or of demolishing the substandard building except as specifically approved. (Ord. 1408 § 12, 2010; Ord. 1154 § 8, 1999; Ord. U-1154 § 8, 1999)

8.36.110 Summary abatement of immediate dangers.

Whenever any conditions on or use of property causes or constitutes or reasonably appears to cause or constitute an imminent or immediate danger to the health or safety of the public or a significant portion thereof, the Director of Planning may order, without notice or judicial action, the immediate abatement of the public nuisance. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.120 Abatement of nuisance violation.

The City shall require the abatement of nuisance violations pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 8.10 PMC. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.130 Applicability of other laws.

(A) This chapter does not exclusively regulate the conditions and use of property within the City. This chapter shall supplement other provisions of this code and other statutes, ordinances or regulations now existing or subsequently enacted by the City, the state or any other entity or agency having jurisdiction.

(B) The procedures for abatement set forth in this chapter are not exclusive and are in addition to any other provisions set forth in this code or by state law for the abatement of public nuisances. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)

8.36.140 Severability.

If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter. The City Council declares that it would have adopted this chapter, and each section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, phrases, or portions be declared invalid or unconstitutional. (Ord. 1028 § 1, 1994)