Chapter 8.12
ABATEMENT OF DANGEROUS OBSTRUCTIONS IN STREAMBEDS

Sections:

8.12.010    Title Purpose.

8.12.020    Definitions.

8.12.030    Enforcement authority.

8.12.040    Dry season—Inspection for dangerous obstructions—Abatement procedures.

8.12.050    Rainy season—Inspection for dangerous obstructions—Emergency abatement procedures.

8.12.060    Rainy season—Removal of dangerous obstruction at public expense pursuant to owner’s prior authorization.

8.12.070    Removing or defacing notices unlawful—Obstructing abatement unlawful.

8.12.080    Obstructions of drainage channels—Abatement.

8.12.090    Abatement charges made lien.

8.12.100    Drainage improvements—Approval required.

8.12.010 Title Purpose.

This chapter shall be cited as “Regulations for the Abatement of Dangerous Obstructions in Streambeds.” It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a speedy, just, equitable and practicable method, to be cumulative to any other remedy available at law or equity, whereby, during the rainy season each year, the city may summarily remove, or require the removal of, structures, trees end other things which have fallen, or which are in imminent danger of falling, into lakes, creeks and streambeds within the city. Such summary removal is necessary because fallen trees, structures, and other things tend to clog drainage channels, bridges and culverts and to restrict and interfere with the free flow of water during periods of heavy runoff, thereby creating an increased danger of flooding. (Prior code § 5221.1)

8.12.020 Definitions.

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

A. “Dangerous obstruction” means any tree, structure, debris or other thing with a maximum dimension of four feet or more which exists, or which has fallen or is likely to fall during a subsequent flood or wind storm, at a location within or along a streambed where the obstruction could cause interference with or diversion of the stream flow, or could become waterborne during periods of heavy runoff; provided, however, that it shall not mean natural rock or soil formations.

B. “Dry season” means the period extending from May 1st through October 31st of any given year.

C. “Rainy season” means the period extending from November 1st of any given year through April 30th of the succeeding year.

D. “Tree committee” means a technical committee appointed by the council to advise and assist the director of public works in evaluating whether or not any live and standing tree constitutes a dangerous obstruction. (Ord. 1051 § 1 (part), 1985: prior code § 5221.2)

8.12.030 Enforcement authority.

The director of public works is authorized to make such inspections and take such action as may be required to enforce the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that a decision by the director of public works that any live and standing tree constitutes a dangerous obstruction shall be of no force and effect for the purpose of this chapter, except in an emergency situation, unless, and until, the tree committee has reviewed and advised the director of their recommendation. Should the recommendation of the tree committee be unacceptable to the director of public works, he or she shall take the issue to the city administrative officer resolution. In the case where the director must act due to an emergency situation he or she shall first advise the city administrative officer. (Ord. 1051 § 1 (part), 1985: prior code § 5221.3)

8.12.040 Dry season—Inspection for dangerous obstructions—Abatement procedures.

During the period May 1st through September 30th of each year, the director of public works shall inspect all trees, structures and other things within and adjacent to streams, channels and watercourses within the city to determine whether or not any such thing constitutes a dangerous obstruction, as defined in subsection A of Section 8.12.020. Whenever he or she finds any such dangerous obstruction, he or she shall institute public nuisance abatement proceedings for the removal of such obstruction as a hazard, as provided in Chapter 8.24, in sufficient time to permit the completion of the abatement proceedings, including appeals therefrom, before November 1st of the year. (Ord. 1051 § 1 (part), 1985: prior code § 5221.4)

8.12.050 Rainy season—Inspection for dangerous obstructions—Emergency abatement procedures.

A. Thereafter, during the period extending from November 1st of any given year through April 30th of the succeeding year, the director of public works, after each storm or other occurrence which causes a flow in any stream equal to one-half or more of the capacity of the stream, shall inspect the streambed to determine whether or not there are any dangerous obstructions therein. Any such dangerous obstruction found by him or her is declared to be a public nuisance which may be summarily abated pursuant to the emergency procedures set out in this section.

B. The director of public works shall notify the owner and resident of the real property involved of the existence of a dangerous obstruction upon his or her property by all of the following methods, where applicable:

1. Posting notice adjacent to the main driveway entrance to the property;

2. Posting notice upon the main entrance of the principal residence or business building upon the property;

3. Sending notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the person listed on the assessor’s latest equalized roll as to the owner thereof; and

4. Sending notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the occupant of the principal residence upon the property, addressed to the street address thereof.

C. If no protest has been filed with the city clerk by the owner or resident of the property within five days of the mailing of the letters and the posting of the notices, the city or its contract agent may enter upon the property and abate the dangerous obstruction. The costs of abatement shall be assessed as a tax lien upon the property pursuant to the provisions of Sections 8.24.130 through 8.24.150.

D. If the owner or resident files a protest within the five-day period, the council shall meet in emergency session to determine whether or not the tree, structure or other thing in question constitutes a dangerous obstruction. The decision of the council shall be final and the city may proceed with the summary abatement of any such thing found to be a dangerous obstruction by the council; provided, however, that the council shall first deliver written notice of its intention to proceed with abatement to any adult person found at the residence address within the city given by the owner or resident in the protest; and, further provided, that the summary abatement shall not commence until at least three regular working days after the delivery of the notice. The costs of abatement shall be assessed as a tax lien upon the property pursuant to the provisions of Sections 8.24.130 through 8.24.150.

E. Before the city summarily removes any obstructions under the provisions of subsection D of this section, the city shall prepare and file with the city clerk a detailed report setting forth its reasons for finding the existence of a dangerous obstruction. Wherever possible, photographs should be provided to augment the report. The report and photographs shall be public records available at all times for inspection by the public. (Ord. 1051 § 1 (part), 1985: prior code § 5221.5)

8.12.060 Rainy season—Removal of dangerous obstruction at public expense pursuant to owner’s prior authorization.

On or before September 30th of each year, the owner of any real property within a streambed may file written authorization with the director of public works for the city to enter upon his or her property and summarily remove any dangerous obstruction found on the property during the ensuing rainy season, without the obligation of providing him or her with further notice or opportunity to be heard. The authorization would assist and expedite the city’s effort to protect the public health, safety and welfare during the rainy season, and the director of public works is authorized to remove any such obstruction at city expense. (Ord. 1051 § 1 (part), 1985: prior code § 5221.6)

8.12.070 Removing or defacing notices unlawful—Obstructing abatement unlawful.

A. It is unlawful for any person to remove, deface or mutilate any notice, order, statement or resolution posted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

B. It is unlawful for any person to obstruct, impede or interfere with any owner or his or her agent or with any representative of the city when engaged in performing any act reasonably necessary for the execution of any order of abatement issued pursuant to this chapter. (Prior code § 5221.7)

8.12.080 Obstructions of drainage channels—Abatement.

Any structure, fence, conduit, wall, tree, masonry, pipe, lumber or other material which obstructs or constitutes a hazard to the free flow of water through a stream, drainage channel or watercourse is declared to be a public nuisance. Any such public nuisance may be abated under the direction of the director of public works fifteen days after the official has caused a notice of the hazardous condition to be mailed to the concerned property owner or owners by registered mail return receipt requested with a five-day return requested and the cost of such removal shall, after confirmation by the council, constitute a lien and special assessment against the concerned parcel or parcels in accordance with Sections 38773 and 38773.5 of the Government Code of the state, unless the property owner maintaining such nuisance files an appeal from the determination of the director of public works to the council with the city clerk within ten days from the date of mailing the required notice to the property owner. In the event such an appeal to the council is filed, a hearing will be held before the council and no action shall be taken by the director of public works to abate the condition which he or she has classified as a public nuisance until the council has announced its decision. At least ten days prior to the date set for such hearing, the city clerk shall mail a notice by certified or registered mail return receipt requested to the owner of the affected parcel or parcels as shown on the last equalized assessment roll. The owner of the real property on which the nuisance is located may appear in person at the hearing or present a written statement under penalty of perjury in time for consideration at the hearing explaining why, in his or her opinion, the condition of the property does not constitute a nuisance or why the cost of abating the public nuisance should not be assessed against the property upon which the nuisance is located. (Ord. 1051 § 1 (part), 1985: prior code § 5220.10)

8.12.090 Abatement charges made lien.

If the property owner fails to appeal to the city council within the allotted time or if the council finds that the condition of the property noted by the city engineer constitutes a public nuisance and that the property owner should be responsible for the cost of removing such nuisance, the full cost of abating the public nuisance shall be made a special assessment against the concerned parcel or parcels. The precise cost of the removal shall be announced and confirmed by the city council at a duly noticed hearing of the council as soon as the final costs have been ascertained. The assessment may be collected at the same time and in the same manner as ordinary municipal taxes are collected and shall be subjected to the same penalties and the same procedure and sale in case of delinquency as provided for ordinary municipal taxes. All laws applicable to the levy, collection and enforcement of municipal taxes shall be applicable to such special assessment. (Prior code § 5220.11)

8.12.100 Drainage improvements—Approval required.

Any and all drainage improvements on private property must be approved by the city engineer prior to installation. Failure to secure such approval shall render the improvement subject to the public nuisance abatement procedure set forth in Section 8.12.080. (Prior code § 5220.12)