Chapter 16.16
CERTIFICATES, ADJUSTMENTS AND MERGERS

Sections:

16.16.005    Purpose of provisions.

16.16.010    Certificates of compliance.

16.16.020    Lot line adjustments.

16.16.030    Lot combinations/voluntary mergers.

16.16.040    Reversions to acreage.

16.16.050    Merger and resubdivision.

16.16.005 Purpose of provisions.

This chapter explains the application requirements and review procedures for lot line adjustments, certificates of compliance, lot mergers and reversions to acreage. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)

16.16.010 Certificates of compliance.

A. Purpose.

1. Where no adequate record exists to demonstrate that a parcel of land was legally created (a) by approval of the City, or (b) in compliance with the Subdivision Map Act prior to March 4, 1972, a certificate of compliance may be requested. (The Subdivision Map Act did not regulate minor subdivisions of four or fewer parcels until March 4, 1972.)

The Subdivision Map Act states:

For purposes of this (section) or of a local ordinance enacted pursuant thereto, any parcel created prior to March 4, 1972 shall be conclusively presumed to have been lawfully created if any subsequent purchaser acquired that parcel for valuable consideration without actual or constructive knowledge of a violation of the local ordinance.

A recorded certificate of compliance establishes for the public record that the subject parcel is recognized as a separate legal parcel. If the parcel was created illegally and does not comply with current city subdivision standards or those in effect at the time the parcel was illegally created, then a conditional certificate of compliance may be applied for (also see Chapter 16.24, Violations and Enforcement). In such cases, all conditions of the certificate of compliance must be satisfied prior to the city’s issuance of any permit or other grant of approval for development of the affected property.

2. While issuance of a certificate of compliance may verify the legality of a parcel, it does not ensure that it is a developable parcel. Nor does the issuance of a certificate automatically entitle the parcel owner to issuance of a building permit or other development permits and approvals without applications for and compliance with city requirements for those permits and approvals.

B. Application Requirements. Any person owning real property may apply for a certificate of compliance or a conditional certificate of compliance. Each separate parcel for which a certificate is requested shall require a separate application. The appropriate application form shall be submitted with the required fee, a preliminary title report not more than six months old, a chain of title, and any maps or other supporting documents deemed necessary by the director or the city engineer to clarify when and how the parcel was created.

C. Time Limits for City Review. Within fifty days of acceptance of a complete application, the director shall determine whether a certificate of compliance or a conditional certificate of compliance should be recorded.

D. Certificate of Compliance.

1. Upon payment by the applicant of the appropriate recording fee, the director shall cause a certificate of compliance to be filed for record with the county recorder if evidence contained in the application supports a finding that the subject parcel is in compliance with the Subdivision Map Act, this title and other applicable provisions of the municipal code.

2. No Public Notice or Hearing. Except for notice to the applicant prior to action by the director, public notice and public hearings are not required for certificates of compliance under Section 66499.35(a) of the Subdivision Map Act because issuance of such certificates is ministerial.

E. Conditional Certificate of Compliance.

1. If the director determines that the subject property does not comply with provisions of the municipal code or the Subdivision Map Act, he or she may impose conditions currently applicable to subdivisions, or conditions applicable to subdivisions at the time the current owner of record acquired the property (if the current owner is not the same as the owner of record at the time of the initial creation of the lot).

2. Appeal. The conditions imposed by the director may be appealed to the planning commission within ten calendar days of the action taken.

F. Recordation and Compliance with Conditions. Upon payment by the applicant of the appropriate recording fee, and following the expiration of the ten-day appeal period or the council’s action on appeal, the director shall cause a conditional certificate of compliance to be filed with the county recorder. The certificate shall identify the property and serve as public notice that fulfillment and implementation of the conditions shall be accomplished before any subsequent issuance of a permit or other approval for development of the property. Compliance with the conditions shall not be required until a permit or other grant of approval for development is issued. The property owner shall notify the director when all conditions have been met. If compliance with conditions is satisfactory, the director shall cause a certificate of compliance to be filed with the county recorder.

G. Effect of Parcel or Final Map. Recordation of a final parcel or final map shall constitute a certificate of compliance for all parcels described therein. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)

16.16.020 Lot line adjustments.

A. Purpose. Lot line adjustments of five or more parcels shall be subject to the same application requirements as those required for a tentative parcel map as described in Section 16.10.010. Lot line adjustments involving four or fewer lots, being adjustments between adjacent legal lots, may be used to accomplish the following objectives, subject to the required findings and possible conditions of approval outlined below:

1. To eliminate an existing encroachment; or

2. To meet or more closely meet the minimum lot size and area requirements of the zoning district classification in which the subject property is located; or

3. To meet building setback requirements; or

4. To better recognize topographic features; or

5. Other purposes approved by the director.

B. Application Submittal Requirements. Applications and fees for lot line adjustments involving four or fewer parcels shall be filed with the community development department, and shall contain the following items:

1. Preliminary title report.

2. An authorization consenting to the proposed adjustment signed by all parties having a record title interest in the property to be subdivided.

3. Assessor’s parcel map(s) with the affected properties highlighted.

4. Name, if any, date of preparation, north arrow, scale, and, if based on a survey, the date of the survey.

5. Name and address of the person or entity who prepared the map and the applicable registration or license number.

6. The legal boundaries of the properties to be adjusted, with sufficient information to locate the property and to determine its position with respect to adjacent named or numbered subdivisions, if any.

7. Names and addresses of the applicant(s) and all parties having record title interest in the property being adjusted.

8. Topographic information based on city datum with a reference to the source of the information.

9. Existing streets and lot lines and the location and outline to scale of all structures which are to be retained within the properties and all structures outside the adjustment area within ten feet of the boundary lines; the distances between structures to be retained and notations concerning all structures which are to be removed.

10. The locations, widths and purpose of all existing and proposed easements for utilities, drainage and other public purposes, shown by dashed lines, within and adjacent to the subdivision (including proposed building setback lines, if known); all existing and proposed utilities including size of water lines and the size and grade of sewer lines, location of manholes, fire hydrants, street trees and streetlights.

11. The name, location, width and directions of flow of all watercourses and flood-control areas within and adjacent to the property involved; the proposed method of providing storm water drainage and erosion control.

12. The location of all potentially dangerous areas, including areas subject to inundation, landslide, settlement, excessive noise, and the means of mitigating the hazards.

13. The locations, widths and names or designations of all existing or proposed streets, alleys, paths and other rights-of-way, whether public or private; private easements within and adjacent to the subdivision; the radius of each centerline curve; a cross-section of each street and planned line for street widening or for any other public project in and adjacent to the subdivision; private streets shall be clearly indicated.

14. The lines and approximate dimensions of all lots, and the number assigned to each lot (lots shall be numbered consecutively); the total number of lots; the area of each lot.

15. The locations of any existing or abandoned wells, septic leaching fields, springs, water impoundments and similar features to the extent they affect the proposed use of the property.

16. Preliminary Map (five eighteen-inch by twenty-six-inch copies, folded, and one eight-and-one-half-inch by eleven-inch reduction). Each set of plans must contain:

a. The location, type, trunk and canopy diameter of all trees on the property and indicate status (e.g., to be removed, maintained, or relocated); notations as to general type of vegetation in areas not occupied by trees.

b. A preliminary development plan or statement detailing the purpose of the lot line adjustment.

c. A vicinity map of appropriate scale and showing sufficient adjoining territory to clearly indicate surrounding streets, other land in the subdivider’s ownership, and other features which have a bearing on the proposed subdivision.

d. A description of requested exceptions from the subdivision design standards for such items as lot area and dimensions, street sections or utility easements.

17. Any additional information required by the director in order to verify the legal status of the affected lots and make the required findings.

C. Review Procedure. The community development director shall, within fifty days of the application being accepted as complete, approve, conditionally approve or deny the request and so notify the applicant in writing.

D. Required Findings for Approval. The community development director shall approve a lot line adjustment if all of the following findings can be made:

1. The land taken from one parcel is added to an adjacent parcel, and where a greater number of parcels or building sites than originally existed is not thereby created.

2. The modified parcels are consistent with, or more closely compatible with, the parcel design, minimum lot area, setbacks, environmental quality, and public health and safety criteria specified in the municipal code, the general plan and any applicable specific plan (unless findings can support a reasonable exception).

3. The lot line adjustment does not create (or increase existing) inconsistencies with the zoning regulations, building code and the general plan.

4. The modified lot lines do not alter an existing right-of-way, except with written approval of the city public works director.

5. The adjustment does not result in an increase in the number of nonconforming parcels nor increase the nonconformity of an existing parcel.

E. Required Findings for Denial. The director shall deny a lot line adjustment if any one of the required findings for approval cannot be made.

F. Conditions of Approval. Conditions of approval are limited to those necessary for the parcels to meet general plan or zoning and building code requirements, to require the prepayment of real property taxes prior to recordation of documents effecting the lot line adjustment, or to facilitate the relocation of existing utilities, infrastructure, or easements.

G. Recorded Deeds. The Subdivision Map Act requires that lot line adjustments be reflected in a recorded deed (Section 66412(d)). Therefore, following the director’s approval, the applicant shall submit for recordation an agreement relating to lot line adjustment, quitclaim deeds and acceptance thereof (if the adjustment involves parcels with separate landowners), or a declaration of lot line adjustment (if the adjustment involves only one landowner). No record of survey shall be required for a lot line adjustment unless required by Section 8762 of the Business and Professions Code. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)

16.16.030 Lot combinations/voluntary mergers.

Lot lines may be eliminated, and adjacent lots may be voluntarily joined into a single parcel of land through the recordation of a notice of merger and certificate of subdivision compliance.

A. Application Submittal Requirements. An application and required fees for processing and recording a voluntary merger shall be filed with the community development department, and shall contain such information and reports as may be required by the application submittal package or by the community development director in order to verify:

1. Ownership;

2. That the affected lots were legally created; and

3. That the legal description of property to be merged matches the legal description of the same property as it is reflected in recorded deeds or maps.

B. Review and Recordation. Once planning and engineering staff have determined that information submitted with the application is consistent with recorded information pertinent to the merger, community development staff shall forward the notice of merger and certificate of subdivision compliance to the county recorder. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)

16.16.040 Reversions to acreage.

This section establishes procedures for processing requests for reversions to acreage in accordance with Chapter 6, Article 1 of the Subdivision Map Act. Requests for reversions to acreage shall be reviewed and acted upon by the city council.

A. Initiation of Proceedings (Section 66499.12 of the Subdivision Map Act). Proceedings for reversions to acreage map may be initiated by either of the following:

1. By Owner(s). A petition of all the owners of record in the form prescribed by and containing the information required by this section and the Subdivision Map Act.

2. By City Council. A resolution of the city council at the request of any person or on its own motion.

B. Data Required for a Reversion to Acreage (Section 66499.13 of the Subdivision Map Act). The following data shall be provided:

1. Adequate evidence of title to the real property within the subdivision and one or more of the following:

a. Evidence of the consent of all the owners of any interest in the property; or

b. Evidence that none of the improvements required to be made have been made within two years from the date the parcel or final map was recorded, or within the time allowed by the improvement agreement, whichever is later; or

c. Evidence that no lots shown on the parcel or final map have been sold within five years from the date the map was recorded.

2. A parcel or final map shall be provided with the petition, prepared in accordance with this title, which delineates the dedications which are not proposed to be vacated, as well as any dedications which are required as a condition of the proposed reversion to acreage.

C. Fees. All petitions for reversion to acreage shall be accompanied by the applicable fees for processing; such fees are nonrefundable. Fees for a reversion to acreage through resolution of the city council shall be paid by the person requesting such resolution.

D. Required Findings for Approval (Section 66499.16 of the Subdivision Map Act). Subdivided real property may be reverted to acreage only if the planning commission finds that:

1. Dedications or offers of dedication to be vacated or abandoned are unnecessary for present or prospective public purposes; and

2. Either:

a. All owners of an interest in the real property within the subdivision have consented to reversion; or

b. None of the improvements required to be made have been made within two years from the date the parcel or final map was filed for record, or within the time allowed by agreement for completion of the improvements, whichever is the later; or

c. No lots shown on the parcel or final map have been sold within five years from the date such map was filed for record.

E. Required Conditions of Approval. As conditions of reversion to acreage the city shall require:

1. Dedications or offers of dedication necessary for the public purposes specified in the general plan, municipal code or other applicable ordinance.

2. Retention of all previously paid fees if necessary to accomplish the purpose of this chapter.

3. Retention of any portion of required improvement security or deposits if necessary to accomplish the purpose of this title.

F. Filing Reversion Map with County Recorder. The proposed reversion to acreage shall be effective upon the recording of the parcel or final map by the county recorder.

G. Return of Fees, Deposits; Release of Securities. When a reversion to acreage is effective, all fees and deposits shall be returned and all improvement security released, except those retained in accordance with subsection E of this section. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)

16.16.050 Merger and resubdivision.

Subdivided lands may be merged and resubdivided without reverting to acreage by complying with all the applicable requirements for the subdivision of land as provided by this chapter pursuant to the Subdivision Map Act. Any unused fees or deposits previously made pursuant to these regulations pertaining to the property shall be credited pro rata towards any of the requirements for the same purposes which are applicable at the time of resubdivision. Any streets or easements to be left in effect after the resubdivision shall be delineated on the map. After approval the map shall be delivered to the county recorder for recording. The filing of the final map shall constitute legal merging of the separate parcels into one parcel and the resubdivision of such parcel and shall also constitute abandonment of all streets and easements not shown on the map. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)