Chapter 17.17


17.17.010    Purpose.

17.17.020    Applicability of other provisions.

17.17.030    General requirements.

17.17.040    Visible storage or maintenance—Storage and maintenance to be screened.

17.17.050    Front yard paving.

17.17.055    Front yard parking.

17.17.060    Roofs.

17.17.070    Fences.

17.17.075    Neighborhood preservation.

17.17.080    Prohibited acts.

17.17.090    Private cause of action.

17.17.010 Purpose.

The quality of life in this city is tied to the character and conditions of its neighborhoods. The purpose of these property maintenance standards is to protect the appearance, integrity and character of the community. (Ord. 1277 § 2 Ex. A, 1995)

17.17.020 Applicability of other provisions.

A. Use of property within the city may also be subject to provisions of this code not contained in this chapter, including, but not limited to, the following:

1. Solid waste disposal, Chapter 8.04.

2. Hazardous weeds and debris, Chapter 8.08.

3. Nighttime parking of large vehicles, Section 10.36.150.

4. Parking in yard, Section 10.36.233.

5. Uniform codes (building regulations), Chapter 15.04.

6. Fire prevention code, Chapter 15.08.

7. Satellite dish antenna, Section 17.16.110.

B. Where provisions of this chapter conflict with provisions of other applicable laws, including this code, the more restrictive provision shall prevail. (Ord. 1277 § 2 Ex. A, 1995)

17.17.030 General requirements.

The provisions of this chapter apply to all zones in the city, except as otherwise specified. (Ord. 1277 § 2 Ex. A, 1995)

17.17.040 Visible storage or maintenance—Storage and maintenance to be screened.

Parking, storage, stockpiling, or maintenance of any of the following items on private property must be screened from any public right-of-way, except as provided in subsection D of this section. Objects and activities will be considered “screened” when they are either (1) not visible from a public right-of-way or (2) behind a solid six-foot-high fence, wall, or hedge where such fence, wall, or hedge is otherwise permitted by zoning and building codes.

A. Furniture and Other Equipment. Furniture or other equipment, including but not limited to stuffed couches and chairs, household appliances, sinks, heaters, boilers, tanks, machinery, other household or commercial equipment, or any parts thereof.

B. Materials. Building materials, including but not limited to packing boxes, lumber, dirt piles, wood, landscape materials, or debris.

C. Recreational Vehicles and Related Devices.

1. Any airplane or other aircraft, or any parts thereof.

2. Special mobile equipment or parts thereof, such as tar wagons, water trailers, and similar devices as defined in Section 575 of the Vehicle Code.

3. Boats, trailers, camper shells, recreational vehicles, jet skis or similar devices, or parts from any of these items, unless exempted in subsection (D)(7) of this section.

D. Exceptions. The following may be allowed in front yards under the noted circumstances:

1. Waste haulers and recycling containers may be placed for pickup in accordance with Chapter 8.04 and Section 17.17.075.

2. Portable on demand storage containers (PODS) used for the temporary storage of personal property owned or rented by the occupants may be allowed for a period not to exceed one week.

3. Building materials, vehicles, equipment, or construction tools may be placed in yards during construction with a valid building permit.

4. Personal property owned or rented by the occupants may be repaired, washed, cleaned, and serviced, subject to any other relevant regulations; provided, that vehicles are parked in a driveway and that all work is completed within seventy-two hours.

5. Storage, repair, and maintenance of vehicles or other equipment may be allowed in commercial or agricultural areas visible from a public right-of-way, where these activities are an integral part of the commercial business and are conducted in accordance with all other limitations on that business.

6. Barbecues and furniture that is designed and intended for outdoor use may remain on a porch or in a walled front patio, where the walls are designed in accordance with fence height regulations.

7. Recreational vehicles and trailers with current licenses may be parked in driveways consistent with Section 17.17.055. (Ord. 1579 § 4, 2012; Ord. 1571 § 15, 2012; Ord. 1528 § 3 Ex. A (part), 2009: Ord. 1277 § 2 Ex. A, 1995)

17.17.050 Front yard paving.

No more than fifty percent of any residential front yard (see definition of “front yard”), not to exceed twenty-six feet in width, may be covered by concrete or other impervious material, including driveways, patio areas, walkways, and other landscape features. Exceptions to this standard can be granted through the administrative use permit process should the proposed paving be compatible with the neighborhood. (Ord. 1528 § 3 Ex. A (part), 2009: Ord. 1412 § 2 (part), 2002: Ord. 1277 § 2 Ex. A, 1995)

17.17.055 Front yard parking.

A. Purpose and Application.

1. The purpose of these regulations is to preserve the residential character of streetscapes in the city’s neighborhoods. The expansion of parking in front yard areas off driveways interferes with the pattern of building masses and open areas within neighborhoods, creates vehicle clutter, and results in excessive vehicle parking, which has the effect of creating small parking lots in front yard areas which are intended to remain as open areas within neighborhoods.

2. These regulations apply to vehicle parking within the front yard areas as defined in Section 17.100.060 and shown in Figure 9.7a. No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, unless consistent with the provisions of this section.

Figure 9.7a

B. Allowed Front Yard Parking. Vehicles parked in front yard areas of residential lots shall conform to all of the following requirements:

1. Vehicle parking is permitted on driveways leading to garage parking, or other approved off-street parking spaces.

2. Vehicles may only be parked in areas within the driveway width established to serve approved parking spaces as defined in city parking and driveway standards. Vehicle parking on pavement or other surfacing added outside the driveway area does not meet the definition of a driveway. (See Figure 9.7b for examples of allowed front yard parking.) Vehicles shall be parked completely within the driveway surface with all tires completely on the driveway surface.

3. Vehicles may be parked in tandem (one vehicle behind another) provided there is sufficient space that no part of the vehicle overhangs the property line or sidewalk.

Figure 9.7b

Examples of allowed front yard parking for typical two-car garage and side loaded two-car garage. Vehicles are parked in driveway within area leading to approved parking in garage.

C. Prohibited Front Yard Parking.

1. Vehicles shall not be parked outside the driveway width area leading to garage spaces or other approved parking or in any other manner inconsistent with subsection B of this section. Vehicle parking next to driveways, whether paved or unpaved, is prohibited. (See Figures 9.7c and 9.7d.)

Figure 9.7c

Examples of prohibited front yard parking for typical two-car garage and side loaded two-car garage. Vehicles next to driveway and over sidewalk are illegally parked.

2. Parking where vehicles are “straddling” or are partially on the driveway and partially on an unpaved or paved surface next to the driveway is prohibited. (See Figure 9.7d.)

Figure 9.7d

Vehicles parked partially on driveway (straddling) are illegally parked.

3. Vehicles may not be parked diagonally or in any other configuration which would require vehicle circulation outside the width of the driveway area except as provided in subsection (B)(3) of this section (tandem parking). (See Figure 9.7e.)

Figure 9.7e

Diagonally parked vehicles are illegally parked.

D. Single Car Garages and Single Car Parking. Residential properties which have parking configurations of a single car garage or single car surface parking similar to Figure 9.7f may establish an additional parking pad between the driveway and the nearest interior property line upon approval of a construction permit and conformance with the following requirements:

1. The parking pad shall meet minimum parking space dimensions of parking and driveway standards to ensure adequate space for vehicle parking on the driveway and adjacent parking pad.

2. The parking pad shall meet minimum depth requirements of the parking and driveway standards (typically eighteen and one-half feet) and vehicles may not be parked to overhang the sidewalk or property line into the public right-of-way.

3. The parking pad space shall be surfaced with alternative paving to achieve aesthetic and environmental objectives. Examples of alternative paving surfaces include, but are not limited to: interlocking pavers, eco-block, porous AC paving, or cobblestone. Parking pads for single car garages and single car parking established prior to the adoption of this section may be exempted from this requirement.

4. Vehicle Circulation. There shall be adequate driveway ramp access such that vehicles can access the parking pad location from the public right-of-way without crossing over sidewalk area or other public improvements outside of the driveway ramp area including transitions.

Figure 9.7f. Single Car Driveway

E. Legal Nonconforming Front Yard Parking. In cases where permits have been granted prior to allow parking in the front yard area that is not in conformance with subsection B of this section; or, in cases where pavement surfacing has been constructed to provide parking in conformance with Section 17.16.020(D)(8) (parking in “other yards”) prior to the adoption of this section, such parking shall be considered a legal nonconforming use, and may continue. Vehicle parking on pavement or other surfacing added outside the driveway area to access such parking in “other yards” does not meet the definition of a driveway per subsection B of this section and shall not be deemed a nonconforming use. (Ord. 1579 § 5, 2012)

17.17.060 Roofs.

A. No furniture or equipment, including chairs, mattresses, couches, recreational furniture, or other materials may be placed on any roof, patio cover, carport, shed top, or similar structure, except for the following.

B. Exceptions.

1. Roof-top equipment, including antennas, satellite dishes, masts, poles, heating, ventilation, air conditioning equipment and similar devices that are designed for roof-top installation, and were lawfully installed, may remain on the roof as long as they are properly maintained.

2. Furniture or other equipment may be placed on a roof deck or other similar place that was lawfully designed and created for such use. (Ord. 1277 § 2 Ex. A, 1995)

17.17.070 Fences.

All fencing that is visible from a public right-of-way shall be maintained so that fencing materials and support are structurally sound, with no missing material. (Ord. 1277 § 2 Ex. A, 1995)

17.17.075 Neighborhood preservation.

It shall be unlawful and a public nuisance for any person, firm or corporation owning, leasing, occupying, or having possession of any private property in the city to maintain such property in such a manner that any of the following conditions are found to exist thereon:

A. Refuse, green waste, and recycling receptacles shall not be within the front yard area except as provided in Chapter 8.04 which states:

Refuse and garbage containers shall not be placed adjacent to the street for pickup more than twenty-four hours before pickup time, and such containers shall be removed within the twelve-hour period following pickup, except in the Business Improvement Area (as defined in Chapter 12.36). In the Business Improvement Area, refuse and garbage containers shall not be placed adjacent to the street for pickup before 5:00 p.m. or the close of business on the day preceding pickup, whichever is later. Such containers shall be removed before 10:00 a.m. following pickup.

The “front yard” area is defined as:

The area of a residential lot that lies between the street property line and the walls of any residences that face the street.

Trash, green waste, and recycling receptacles shall be completely screened from public view from the public right-of-way that abuts the front yard by a fence, landscaping, or wall that is otherwise permitted by zoning and building codes. Multifamily developments, condominium projects, and other common interest residential units which are approved for individual waste wheelers shall remove waste wheelers from the common area visible from the public right-of-way in accordance with this section. Multifamily projects with shared bin service shall utilize approved enclosure locations consistent with project approvals.

B. Buildings which are abandoned partially destroyed or damaged or left in an unreasonable state of partial construction, whose owners have been notified by the city that the property has been determined to be in violation of this section. An abandoned building means any building or structure which is not occupied, used or secured for a period of one year or more. A partially destroyed or damaged building means any building or structure in which twenty-five percent or more of the structure has been destroyed or damaged and not repaired or replaced for a period of one year or more. An unreasonable state of partial construction is defined as any unfinished building or structure that has been in the course of construction for two years or more, and the condition of said unfinished building or structure or accumulation of construction materials substantially detracts from the appearance of the immediate neighborhood.

C. Paint or finish material on the exterior surface of a building or other structure that has become substantially deteriorated, damaged, or unsightly so as to significantly detract from the appearance of the immediate neighborhood. For the purposes of this chapter, “substantially” shall be defined as the absence or deterioration of a required protective covering exceeding twenty-five percent of the exterior surface area, including, but not limited to, chipping, curling, damaged or missing paint. Exterior surfaces shall include gutters, downspouts, trim, doors, windows, fences, and walls.

D. Broken, deteriorated, neglected, abandoned, or substantially defaced structures, equipment, machinery, ponds, pools, or excavations visually impacting on the neighborhood or presenting a risk to public safety or nuisance attractive to children. For the purposes of this chapter, “nuisance attractive to children” shall mean any condition, instrumentality or machine located in a building or on premises, which is or may be unsafe or dangerous to children by reason of their inability to appreciate the peril therein, and which may reasonably be expected to attract children to the premises and risk injury by playing with, in, or on it.

E. Parking lots, driveways, paths or other paved surfaces, except when located in a rear or side yard of a single family dwelling, which contain substantial cracks, potholes or other deficiencies posing a substantial risk of harm to the public.

F. Trees, weeds, or other types of vegetation that are dead, decayed, infested, diseased, overgrown, or harbor rats or vermin and are visible from a public right-of-way. For the purpose of this chapter, “overgrown” is limited to lawns or weeds over twelve inches in height. Creek, riparian areas, open space, grassland communities, or other sensitive habitat and unique resource areas as defined by the general plan are subject to separate regulations.

G. Buildings, structures, or other surfaces upon which graffiti exists. Graffiti, as used in this chapter, shall mean defacement, damage, or destruction by the presence of paint, ink, chalk, dye, or other similar substance; or by carving, etching, or other engraving.

H. Any violation of the provisions of a conditional use permit, planned development permit, architectural review approval, variance or other land use entitlement or land use permit.

I. Maintenance of property in such condition as to be detrimental to the public health, safety, or general welfare in such a manner as to constitute a public nuisance as defined by Civil Code Section 3480. (Ord. 1579 § 6, 2012: Ord. 1571 § 16, 2012; Ord. 1553 § 17, 2010: Ord. 1412 § 3 (part), 2002)

17.17.080 Prohibited acts.

A. Unlawful Acts. It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation that owns, occupies or controls property in the city of San Luis Obispo to maintain or fail to maintain such property in violation of Section 17.17.040, 17.17.050, 17.17.055, 17.17.060, 17.17.070, or 17.17.075.

B. Type of Offense. Any person who violates Section 17.17.040, 17.17.050, 17.17.055, 17.17.060, 17.17.070, 17.17.075(A), or 17.17.075(C)—(H) shall be guilty of an infraction. Violations shall be punishable as set forth in Chapter 1.12. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed or constituted to prevent the city from commencing any civil proceeding otherwise authorized by law for the declaration or abatement of a public nuisance. (Ord. 1579 § 7, 2012: Ord. 1412 § 2 (part), 2002: Ord. 1277 § 2 Ex. A, 1995)

17.17.090 Private cause of action.

If the owner of any premise fails or neglects to comply with the provisions of this chapter, it shall constitute a public nuisance, pursuant to Section 8.24.020(B) of the San Luis Obispo Municipal Code. Any aggrieved party may, in addition to any other right or remedy he or she may possess either at law or in equity, pursue a private cause of action to abate a public nuisance, as specified in Section 8.24.190 of the San Luis Obispo Municipal Code. (Ord. 1277 § 2 Ex. A, 1995)