Chapter 18.41


18.41.010    Purpose.

18.41.020    Appointment of board and length of term.

18.41.030    Composition of board.

18.41.040    Appeals.

18.41.050    Conduct of hearing.

18.41.060    Limitation of authority.

18.41.010 PURPOSE.

A board of building and fire appeals is hereby established to hear and decide appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the chief building official and/or the fire chief regarding the application and interpretation of the various provisions of Title 18 (Buildings and Construction) and Title 19 (Fire Prevention Code) of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code. The board of building and fire appeals shall determine whether the orders, decisions and determinations of the chief building official and/or fire chief are consistent with the responsibilities as set forth in Section 204 of the Uniform Administrative Code, the other California building and construction codes adopted by reference in Title 18, the California Fire Code adopted by reference in Title 19 (including all local amendments thereto), or with any other applicable provision of federal, state or local law for which the chief building official and/or fire chief has enforcement responsibility. The board may be used to determine the suitability of alternate materials and methods of construction.

(Ord. 2010-23 § 14 (part), 2010).


The board of building and fire appeals shall consist of five regular members. Special members as listed, but not limited to those as specified, in Section 18.41.030 will serve with the regular members at the request of the regular members. The city council shall appoint all members to terms not to exceed four years. Members may be reappointed to additional consecutive terms by said council without limitation. Such board shall act voluntarily, and without commission.

(Ord. 2010-23 § 14 (part), 2010).


(a)    Regular Members. Each member shall be licensed as an architect, engineer (structural, civil, mechanical or electrical), general building contractor, engineering contractor, electrician, plumber, or mechanical or sheet metal contractor. A nonjurisdictional building inspector (either private or of another municipality), fire inspector or similar person demonstrating a suitable technical background may be considered as an alternate member by the city council. Retired technical members demonstrating the necessary background and experience may be placed on the board as appropriate by appointment. The chief building official or, alternatively, the city fire chief, depending upon the nature of the appeal before the board, shall be an ex officio member and act as secretary, but shall have no power to vote. The chief building official and fire chief may delegate this duty to the deputy building official and fire marshal in their absence as appropriate.

Membership of the board shall include the greatest range of professional experience as may be reasonably available.

(b)    Special Members. Special members shall consist of at least the following: two representatives of the disabled community; an energy contractor or representative of an energy conservation design service and a fire code professional that is nonjurisdictional.

Such special members shall be called upon from time to time by the chairperson of the board to assist in making determinations on those matters involving their particular field of expertise and shall hold full voting rights when so employed.

(Ord. 2010-23 § 14 (part), 2010).

18.41.040 APPEALS.

Any appeal of technical action by the chief building official or fire chief in relation to the California Building, Plumbing, Electrical, Mechanical, Residential, Green Building Standards or Fire Codes must be made within five working days from such action. Any appeal of a notice and order by the chief building official or fire chief in relation to the Uniform Housing Code or the International Existing Building Code must be filed within thirty calendar days from the date of service of such order; provided, however, that if the building or structure is in such condition as to make it immediately dangerous to life, limb, property or safety of the public or adjacent property and is ordered vacated and posted in accordance with the provisions of the two codes, such appeal shall be filed within ten calendar days from the date of service of the notice and order. Appeals shall be in writing and may either be submitted in a letter by the appellant or on a form provided by the building official or fire chief, with an appeal fee established by the city of Santa Cruz. Within fifteen working days after receipt of the notice of appeal, the building official or fire chief shall notify the chairperson of the board of building and fire appeals. If possible, the appeal shall be heard by the board within thirty days of notice to the chairperson, but no later than sixty days from the filing of an appeal. The board shall be limited to the technical merits of the appeal and shall have no authority over the interpretation of the administrative aspects of these codes or the power to waive requirements of the codes.

(Ord. 2010-23 § 14 (part), 2010).


The board of building and fire appeals shall adopt bylaws and, at their first official meeting, elect a chair and vice-chair. The chair and vice-chair shall be elected annually to coincide upon the appointment of new members. The findings and decisions of the board shall be final and shall be presented to the appellant in writing.

(Ord. 2010-23 § 14 (part), 2010).


The board of building and fire appeals shall have no authority relative to interpretation of the administrative provisions of this title or Title 19, nor shall the board be empowered to waive requirements of this title or Title 19.

(Ord. 2010-23 § 14 (part), 2010).