Chapter 12.56
PRIVATELY INSTALLED IMPROVEMENTS ON PUBLIC PROPERTY OR EASEMENTS

Sections:

12.56.010    Purpose.

12.56.020    “Street system area” defined.

12.56.030    Shoulder parking area.

12.56.040    Shoulder parking area improvement permits.

12.56.050    Private improvements area defined.

12.56.060    Private improvement permits.

12.56.070    All permits revocable/hold harmless agreements.

12.56.080    State law and uniform codes not affected by this chapter.

12.56.090    Right-of-way obstructions – Installing private improvements – Prohibition.

12.56.100    Miscellaneous.

*    Prior ordinance history: Ord. 655.

12.56.010 Purpose.

By resolution(s), the city council has determined which streets, or portions thereof, are included within the city’s “street system.” In many parts of the city, the full width of property dedicated to, or acquired by, the city for street and related purposes has not been accepted into the street system. The city council determines that the public welfare would be more harmed than benefited from a complete prohibition of landscaping or other private improvements located within public rights-of-way but not within the street system. The purpose of this chapter is to regulate such areas in a manner that considers views, preserves necessary parking, does not unduly inhibit future widening of the street system, but at the same time allows privately-installed improvements that are not harmful to the integrity and character of the district in which the property is located. (Ord. 796, 1997)

12.56.020 “Street system area” defined.

“Street system area” as used in this chapter means those street rights-of-way or portions thereof which, pursuant to Streets and Highways Code Section 1806 and Capitola resolutions, have been accepted into the city’s street system. Subject to some minor exceptions, the street system area consists of those areas of street rights-of-way which are actually covered by city installed paving, curb, gutter, or sidewalk. (Ord. 796, 1997)

12.56.030 Shoulder parking area.

The public works director may determine the extent of the area, which is adjacent to the street system area and within the right-of-way, and which, in his or her opinion: is appropriate for either public off-street parking; or has a significant possibility of, in the next five-year period, being utilized by the city for street widening or installation of curb, gutter, or sidewalk; or is located over a utility easement. For purposes of this chapter, such areas shall be known as “shoulder parking areas.” Before any private improvement permits (see Section 12.56.060 of this chapter) are issued pursuant to this chapter, the public works director must determine the shoulder parking area for the block of the street in which the property is located. Whenever any such determination is made, the public works director shall file a record of that determination with the city clerk, who shall cause notice of that determination to be given to each city council member. At the request of any council member, the public works director determinations as to the extent of any shoulder parking area may be reviewed by the city council, which may modify any such determinations at any time. (Ord. 796, 1997)

12.56.040 Shoulder parking area improvement permits.

In the shoulder parking areas, permits may be issued for privately installed improvements such as paving, grading or gravel which do not inhibit the use of those areas for parking or street widening.

Such permits may be issued by the planning commission in conjunction with other land development permits; when there is no concurrent developmental applications, they may be issued by the public works director. (Ord. 796, 1997)

12.56.050 Private improvements area defined.

“Private improvements area,” as used in this chapter, means that portion of any public street right-of-way in the city which is neither street system area nor shoulder parking area. (Ord. 796, 1997)

12.56.060 Private improvement permits.

Permits may be issued to allow certain improvements to be installed and maintained by abutting private property owners, within the private improvements area, as provided in this section.

A. Minor Permits. Permits may be issued by the public works director for the following: items allowed in Section 12.56.040 of this chapter; mailboxes determined by the public works director to be of a reasonable size and reasonably located; property boundary fences not in excess of three and one-half feet in height (for a definition of fences, see Municipal Code Section 17.54.010); at-grade walkways and driveways meeting any applicable standard specifications; landscaping approved as part of a landscaping plan which had planning commission or city council review; or landscaping that does not include plants which, at maturity, will exceed three and one-half feet in height nor develop a root system likely to damage streets, sidewalks or adjoining property, nor expensive to remove at maturity.

B. Major Permits Issued by Planning Commission. The planning commission may issue permits for private improvements not issuable under subsection A of this section. The commission’s decision as to whether to issue such permit shall be made by weighing the following considerations: the expense and difficulty that will be entailed in removing the improvement in the event of street widening; whether the proposed improvements are in conformity with the size, scale, and aesthetics of the surrounding neighborhood; preservation of views; and whether granting the permit would tend to result in the granting of a special privilege, in the sense that granting this permit would tend to preclude granting similar permits to neighboring property. If the benefit to the applicant and community is determined to exceed the detriment to the community, the permit shall be approved. The planning commission may, by providing reasonable notice to neighboring property owners, develop standards or criteria applicable to the entire block within which the property is located. (Ord. 796, 1997)

12.56.070 All permits revocable/hold harmless agreements.

Permits issued under this chapter shall include a statement that by accepting such a permit, the permittee and his or her successor agrees to hold the city, its officers, agents and employees, free and harmless from any liability for injuries to persons or property resulting from the construction or maintenance of such private improvement, and also agrees that the removal of the structure, when so ordered by the city, shall be at the permittee’s expense. Such permit shall also provide that upon failure of the permittee to remove such improvement within a reasonable time after notice from the city manager or designee, the same may be abated and removed by the city and the cost thereof made a lien upon the property (see Section 1.01.090 and Title 4 of this code). As a condition of granting any such permit, the city may require execution and recordation of an agreement between the city and the permittee property owner regarding the requirements of this section. However, failure to obtain or record such an agreement shall not free any applicant, owner, or successor from the requirements of this section. (Ord. 955 § 13, 2011; Ord. 796, 1997)

12.56.080 State law and uniform codes not affected by this chapter.

This chapter shall not expand or limit the effect of: state law or city ordinances relating to when utilities may install or repair their lines within city easements, Uniform Fire Code access requirements, Uniform Building Code provisions (see Chapters 32 and 33 thereof) regarding air space encroachments above public ways, or Municipal Code Chapter 9.40 which contains prohibitions on signs in rights-of-way. (Ord. 796, 1997)

12.56.090 Right-of-way obstructions – Installing private improvements – Prohibition.

A. Except as allowed in this chapter, installing private improvements or otherwise placing obstructions in any public right-of-way is prohibited. For purposes of this chapter, “installing” includes permanent or temporary placing, erecting, constructing, or planting. “Private improvements” means any building, structure, accessory structure, fixture, sign, fence, paving, or landscaping (including trees), or any other object which obstructs all or a portion of any public right-of-way.

B. Exceptions. This section shall not apply to the following cases:

1. Parking of emergency vehicles;

2. Parking of any vehicle in any place where such parking is permitted by law;

3. The city’s placement of structures or barriers for the protection of pedestrians or traffic;

4. The city’s placement of benches;

5. Placement of structures or barriers by the city or any other governmental agency, when such structures or barriers are intended to serve the public convenience, safety, or necessity;

6. The city’s placement of street trees;

7. Placement of newsracks in conformity with provisions of this code regulating newsracks on city sidewalks;

8. Placement of trash or other debris in appropriate containers for pickup by the city’s refuse collection franchisee when placed in accordance with the applicable collection schedules.

C. Public Nuisance Declared. If any vehicle, object, structure, construction material or construction equipment is placed or left upon any public street, sidewalk, roadway, pedestrian way or bicycle path in the city of Capitola, contrary to the terms of this chapter and without the written permission of the director of public works, any such vehicle, object, structure, construction material or construction equipment is declared to be a public nuisance, and the director of public works is hereby authorized and empowered to remove any such vehicle, object, structure, construction material or construction equipment from the public street, sidewalk, roadway, pedestrian way or bicycle path forthwith. If the person owning or otherwise responsible for any such vehicle, object, structure, construction material or construction equipment is present, then before removing the vehicle, object, structure, construction material or construction equipment, the director of public works or the person designated by the superintendent shall warn that person that he or she is in violation of this chapter and shall give that person the opportunity to remove forthwith the vehicle, object, structure, construction material or construction equipment. (Ord. 974 § 1, 2012; Ord. 854 § 1, 2003; Ord. 796, 1997)

12.56.100 Miscellaneous.

A. Whenever an application is made pursuant to this chapter, the city may require of the applicant such title or survey information as is reasonably necessary to respond to the application.

B. The city council may, by resolution, establish application and/or permit fees for applications/permits considered or permits issued under this chapter. (Ord. 796, 1997)