Chapter 17.44


17.44.010    Nuisance designated.

17.44.020    Abatement – Initiation proceedings.

17.44.030    Nuisance declared by enforcement officer.

17.44.040    Voluntary abatement of nuisances.

17.44.050    Failure to voluntarily abate declared nuisance.

17.44.060    Notice of public hearing.

17.44.070    Hearing by city council.

17.44.080    Decision by city council.

17.44.090    Limitation of filing judicial action.

17.44.100    Service of abatement order.

17.44.110    Abatement by property owner.

17.44.120    Abatement by the city.

17.44.130    Record of cost for abatement.

17.44.140    Report – Hearing and proceedings.

17.44.150    Assessment of costs against property – Lien.

17.44.160    Violation – Penalty.

17.44.170    Recovery of attorney’s fees in nuisance abatement actions.

17.44.010 Nuisance designated.

Acts and conditions, when of such magnitude as to be injurious or potentially injurious to the public health, safety and welfare or which have tendency to degrade the appearance and property values of surrounding property, or which cause damage to public rights-of-way, are declared nuisances. The following are also declared public nuisances:

A. Use or maintenance of property in violation of the zoning ordinance;

B. Matters elsewhere described in this code as nuisances;

C. The use or maintenance of any property in any manner as to constitute a public nuisance as defined in Civil Code Section 3480; and

D. The use or maintenance of a building in violation of Chapter 10 of the Housing Code or Section 203(a) of the California Building Code. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.020 Abatement – Initiation proceedings.

The city council on its own motion or an enforcing officer may invoke the provisions of this chapter in lieu or in addition to instituting civil enforcement proceedings or a criminal prosecution as to any violation of this or any ordinance or code of the city or as to any other public nuisance. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.030 Nuisance declared by enforcement officer.

If an enforcement official finds that nuisance exists of any premises located within the city, he or she shall advise the occupant and the owner to abate the nuisance. The occupant and property owner shall be notified of the existence of the nuisance in writing and served personally or by certified mail. The notification shall detail the violations, specify corrective methods and establish a reasonable abatement period. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.040 Voluntary abatement of nuisances.

The owner or tenant of any building, structure or property found to be a nuisance under the provisions of this chapter may abate the nuisance at any time within the abatement period. The enforcement officer shall be advised of the abatement and shall inspect the premises to ensure that the nuisance has in fact been abated. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.050 Failure to voluntarily abate declared nuisance.

If a nuisance is not properly abated within the abatement period, the city council shall hold a public hearing to determine if the declared nuisance should be abated under the police powers of the city. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.060 Notice of public hearing.

A written notice of public hearing shall be served on the owner of the property containing the alleged public nuisance at least 10 days prior to the date set for the city council public hearing. The written notice of public hearing will state time and place of hearing, location and assessor’s parcel number of property involved, and a list of violations. The notice will advise the owner has a right to appear and present evidence. Service shall be made by personal service upon the owner or by certified or registered mail. If there is no known address for the owner, the notice shall be sent in care of the property address. “Owner” as used herein shall mean any person(s) shown as the property owner on the latest equalized property tax assessment rolls. If the owner of record, after diligent search, cannot be found, the notice shall be served by posting a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place upon the property at least 10 days before the hearing and by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the city at least 10 calendar days before the hearing. The failure of any person to receive notice shall not affect the validity of the proceedings. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.070 Hearing by city council.

At the time and place stated in the notice of public hearing, the city council shall hear and consider all relevant evidence, objections, or protests, and shall receive testimony from owners, witnesses, city personnel and interested persons relative to the alleged public nuisance and to the proposed abatement methods. The hearing may be continued from time to time. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.080 Decision by city council.

Following the public hearing, the city council shall consider all evidence and determine whether the premises, or any part of the premises, constitute a public nuisance. If the city council finds that a public nuisance does exist and that there is sufficient cause to abate the nuisance, the city council shall make written findings, and direct the enforcement officer to sign an order ordering the owner to abate the nuisance. The order shall set forth the times within which the work shall be commenced and completed and shall be mailed to the owner. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.090 Limitation of filing judicial action.

Any person wishing to challenge the order of abatement must bring a court action to contest such decision within 30 days after the date of such decision of the city council. Otherwise, all objections to such decision shall be deemed waived. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.100 Service of abatement order.

Within five working days following the city council decision, the property owner and/or the person having charge or control of the premises shall be served with a copy of the written order of the city council in the manner provided in EMC 17.44.060. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.110 Abatement by property owner.

The property owner shall, at his or her own expense, abate the nuisance as prescribed by the order of the city council, and prior to the expiration of the abatement period set forth in the order. If the nuisance has been inspected by the enforcement officer and is found to be abated in accordance with the order, proceedings shall be terminated. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.120 Abatement by the city.

If a declared nuisance is not completely abated within the time prescribed by the city council order, the city council is authorized at its discretion to cause the nuisance to be abated by city forces or private contact. In furtherance of this section, the enforcement officer or his or her designated agent(s) is expressly authorized to enter upon the premises for the purpose of abating the nuisance. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.130 Record of cost for abatement.

A. The enforcement officer, or such city official as may be designated, shall keep an account of the costs (including incidental expenses) of abating such nuisance on each separate lot or parcel of land where the work is done. He or she must render an itemized report in writing to the city council showing the cost of abatement including the cost of nuisance abatement proceedings, rehabilitating, demolishing, repairing, or removal of the premises, buildings, or structures and including any salvage value relating thereto; provided, that before the report is submitted to the city council, a copy of the report shall be served in accordance with the provision of EMC 17.44.060 together with a notice of the time when the report shall be heard by the city council for confirmation.

B. The term “incidental expenses” includes, but is not limited to, the actual expenses and costs of the city, including attorney’s fees incurred in the conduct of hearing, in the preparation of notices, specifications and contracts, and in inspecting the work, and the costs of printing and mailing required hereunder. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.140 Report – Hearing and proceedings.

At the time and place fixed for receiving and considering the report, the city council shall hear and pass upon the reports of such costs of abatement, together with any objections or protests. Thereupon, the city council may make such revision, correction or modification in the report, as it may deem just, after which, by motion, the report, as submitted or as revised, corrected or modified, shall be confirmed. The decision of the city council on all protests and objections which may be made shall be final and conclusive. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.150 Assessment of costs against property – Lien.

A. The total cost for abating the nuisance, as confirmed by the city council, shall constitute a special assessment against the respective lot or parcel of land to which it relates. Recordation in the office of the county recorder of a notice of lien, as so made and confirmed, shall constitute a lien on the property for the amount of the assessment.

B. After such confirmation and recordation, a copy may be turned over to the tax collector for the city, whereupon it shall be the duty of the tax collector to add the amounts of the respective assessment to the next regular tax bills levied against the respective lots and parcels of land for municipal purposes. Thereafter, the amounts shall be collected at the same time and in the same manner ordinary municipal taxes are collected, and shall be subject to the same penalties and the same procedure under foreclosure and sale in case of delinquency as provided for ordinary municipal taxes.

C. After recordation, the lien may be foreclosed by an action brought by the city for a money judgment. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.160 Violation – Penalty.

A. Any person who removes any notice or order posted as required in this chapter, for the purpose of interfering with the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, is guilty of an infraction.

B. Any person who obstructs, impedes or interferes with any representative of the city council or with any representative of a city department or with any person who owns or holds any estate or interest in a building which has been ordered to be vacated, repaired, rehabilitated or demolished or with any person to whom any such building has been lawfully sold pursuant to the provisions of this chapter when any of the aforementioned individuals are lawfully engaged in proceedings involving the abatement of a nuisance is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 186, 2003)

17.44.170 Recovery of attorney’s fees in nuisance abatement actions.

In any action, administrative proceeding or special proceeding to abate a nuisance in which the city elects, at the initiation of the action or proceeding, to seek recovery of its attorney’s fees, the prevailing party in the action or proceeding shall recover its attorney’s fees incurred in the action or proceeding. In no action, administrative proceeding or special proceeding shall an award of attorney’s fees to a prevailing party exceed the amount of reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the city in the action or proceeding. “Prevailing party” shall not include a party who complies with a notice of violation issued by the city or an order in any action, administrative proceeding or special proceeding. Attorney fees shall include fees for the services of the city attorney or his or her assistant and deputies, calculated based on the effective hourly rate of such attorney. (Government Code Section 38773.5.) (Ord. 186, 2003)