CHAPTER 1
DEFINITIONS, GENERAL PROVISIONS, AND ADMINISTRATIVE CITATIONS

Article I. Definitions and General Provisions.

1.1 How Code designated and cited.

The ordinances embraced in the following chapters and sections shall constitute and be designated "The Code of the City of Fairfield, California, 1960," and may be so cited. Such code may also be cited as the "Fairfield, City Code, 1960."

1.2 Definitions and rules of construction.

In the construction of this code and of all ordinances of the city, the following rules shall be observed, unless such construction would be inconsistent with the manifest intent of the city council or the context clearly requires otherwise:

City. The words "the city" or "this city" shall be construed as if followed by the words "of Fairfield."

Code. The words "the code" or "this code" shall mean "The Code of the City of Fairfield, California, 1960."

Computation of time. The time in which any act provided by law is to be done is computed by excluding the first day and including the last, unless the last day is a holiday and then it is also excluded.

Council. Whenever the word "council" is used in this code, it shall be construed to mean the city council of the City of Fairfield.

County. The words "the county" or "this county" shall mean the County of Solano.

Day. A day is the period of time between any midnight and the midnight following.

Daytime, nighttime. "Daytime" is the period of time between sunrise and sunset. "Nighttime" is the period of time between sunset and sunrise.

Gender. The masculine gender includes the feminine and neuter.

In the city. The words "in the city" shall mean and include all territory over which the city now has, or shall hereafter acquire jurisdiction for the exercise of its police powers or other regulatory powers.

Joint authority. All words giving a joint authority to three or more persons or officers shall be construed as giving such authority to a majority of such persons or officers.

Month. The word "month" shall mean a calendar month.

Number. The singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular.

Oath. "Oath" includes an affirmation.

Officers, departments, etc. Officers, departments, boards, commissions and employees referred to in this code shall mean officers, departments, boards, commissions and employees of the City of Fairfield, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Official time. Whenever certain hours are named in this code, they shall mean Pacific Standard Time or Daylight Savings Time, as may be in current use in the city.

Or, and. "Or" may be read "and," and "and" may be read "or," if the sense requires it.

Owner. The word "owner," applied to a building or land, shall include any part owner, joint owner, tenant in common, tenant in partnership, joint tenant, or tenant by the entirety of the whole or part of such building or land.

Person. "Person" includes any person, firm, association, organization, partnership, business trust, corporation, or company.

Personal property includes every species of property, except real property, as defined in this section.

Preceding, following. The words "preceding" and "following" mean next before and next after, respectively.

Process includes a writ or summons issued in the course of judicial proceedings of either a civil or criminal nature.

Property. The word "property" shall include real and personal property.

Real property shall include lands, tenements, and hereditaments.

Shall, may. "Shall" is mandatory and "may" is permissive.

Signature or subscription by mark. "Signature" or "subscription" includes a mark when the signer or subscriber cannot write, such signer’s or subscriber’s name being written near the mark by a witness who writes his own name near the signer’s or subscriber’s name; but, a signature or subscription by mark can be acknowledged or can serve as a signature or subscription to a sworn statement only when two witnesses so sign their own names thereto.

State. The words "the state" or "this state" shall be construed to mean the State of California.

Tenant or occupant. The words "tenant" or "occupant," applied to a building or land, shall include any person holding a written or an oral lease of, or who occupies the whole or a part of such building or land, either alone or with others.

Tenses. The present tense includes the past and future tenses, and the future includes the present.

Week. A week consists of seven consecutive days.

Writing. Writing includes any form of recorded message capable of comprehension by ordinary visual means. Whenever any notice, report, statement or record is required or authorized by this code, it shall be made in writing in the English language, unless it is expressly provided otherwise.

Year. The word "year" shall mean a calendar year, except where otherwise provided.

1.3 Provisions considered as continuations of existing ordinances.

The provisions appearing in this code, so far as they are the same as those of ordinances existing at the time of the effective date of this code, shall be considered as continuations thereof and not as new enactments.

1.4 Effect of repeal of ordinances.

The repeal of an ordinance shall not affect any ordinances in force before or at the time the ordinance repealed took effect.

The repeal of an ordinance shall not affect any punishment or penalty incurred before the appeal took effect, nor any suit, prosecution, or proceeding pending at the time of the repeal, for any offense committed under the ordinance repealed.

1.5 Severability of parts of code.

It is hereby declared to be the intention of the city council that the sections, paragraphs, sentences, clauses and phrases of this code are severable, and if any phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this code shall be declared unconstitutional or otherwise invalid by the valid judgment or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction, such unconstitutionality or invalidity shall not affect any of the remaining phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs and sections of this code.

1.6 Catchlines of sections.

The catchlines of the several sections of this code printed in boldface type are intended as mere catchwords to indicate the contents of the section and shall not be deemed or taken to be titles of such sections, nor as any part of the section, nor, unless expressly so provided, shall they be so deemed when any of such sections, including the catchlines, are amended or re enacted.

1.7 General penalty.

Whenever in this code or in any other ordinance of the city, any act is prohibited or is made or declared to be unlawful or an offense, or the doing of any act is required or the failure to do any act is declared to be unlawful, the violation of such provision of this code or any city ordinance shall be an infraction where no specific penalty is provided therefor.

Every violation determined to be an infraction is punishable by (1) a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for a first violation; (2) a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200) for a second violation of the same ordinance within one year; (3) a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one year.

Every day any violation of this code or any other ordinance of the city shall continue shall constitute a separate offense. (Ord. No. 79-29, § 1; Ord. No. 88-24, § 1.)

Any person who willfully violates his or her written promise to appear or a lawfully granted continuance of his or her promise to appear in court is guilty of a misdemeanor, regardless of the disposition of the charge upon which he or she was originally arrested. (Ord. 94-21, § 1.)

1.8 Authority of deputies.

Whenever a power is granted to, or a duty is imposed upon, a public officer or employee, the power may be exercised or the duty may be performed by a deputy of the officer or employee, or by a person authorized by the officer or employee, unless this code expressly provides otherwise. (Ord. No. 84-12, § 1.)

Article II. Administrative Citations.

1.10 Purpose and Intent.

This Article establishes an enforcement mechanism for all violations of the City Code. The procedures established in this Article are in addition to any other procedures or legal remedies used to address violations of this Code.

1.11 Definitions.

(a)    Enforcement Officer. An Enforcement Officer is any person designated by ordinance or appointed by the City Manager or his or her designee to implement the provisions of this Article. (Ord. 2007-18, § 1.)

(b)    Administrative Citation. An Administrative Citation is an official notification, on an appropriate form as established by this Article, of violation of any provision of the City Code. Said Citations require correction of the violation and impose fines upon the responsible party.

1.12 Administrative Citation; Fines.

(a)    A fine for violation of the City Code may be assessed through an Administrative Citation, issued by the Enforcement Officer and payable directly to the City.

(b)    Each day of violation of the City Code constitutes a separate, additional violation.

(c)    Said fine shall be collected in accordance with the procedures specified in this Article.

(d)    The City Council shall establish by resolution the amount of the fine to be assessed for Administrative Citations.

(e)    Payment of the fine shall not excuse the failure to correct the violation nor shall it bar further enforcement action by the City.

(f)    All fines shall be payable to the City at the address provided on the Administrative Citation.

(g)    Any fine paid pursuant to subsection a) above shall be refunded if it is determined, after an appeal hearing, that there was no violation as charged in the Administrative Citation.

(h)    If payment of a fine is not received by the City within thirty (30) days of service of the Administrative Citation, then a late fee shall be assessed. The amount of the late penalty shall be fifty percent (50%) of the total amount of the fine owed.

(i)    The City may collect any past due Administrative Citation fines and/or late payment charges by the use of the small claims court, or any other legal remedy.

1.13 Procedures for Administrative Citations.

(a)    The City Manager may establish appropriate administrative regulations for implementing this Article.

(b)    The City Manager or his or her designee shall appoint an Enforcement Officer(s) to implement the provisions of this Article.

(c)    When the Enforcement Officer observes a violation of the City Code, the Enforcement Officer may issue an Administrative Citation to any responsible person.

(d)    Each Administrative Citation shall contain the following information:

(1)    The date of the violation;

(2)    The address or a definite description of the location where the violation occurred;

(3)    The name, address, and other identifying information for the person being cited.

(4)    The section of this Code violated and a description of the violation;

(5)    The fine schedule for the violation;

(6)    A description of how, when and where the fine must be paid;

(7)    An order prohibiting the continuation or repeated occurrence of the violation;

(8)    A brief description of the appeal process;

(9)    The name and signature of the citing Enforcement Officer.

(e)    The person cited shall be requested to sign the citation to acknowledge receipt of the citation.

1.14 Notices.

All notices required under this Article shall be served on the responsible party in accordance with the following provisions:

(a)    If the person cited is not the owner of the business where the alleged violation occurred, written notice shall be personally delivered or sent by certified mail to the owner of the business at the address of the property where the alleged violation occurred.

(b)    If the person cited is not the owner of the property where the alleged violation occurred, written notice shall be personally delivered or sent by certified mail to the property owner at the address shown on the last equalized County assessment role.

(c)    When personal service or service by certified mail upon the person cited is unsuccessful, a copy of the notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the property where the alleged violation occurred.

1.15 Appeal of Administrative Citation.

(a)    Any recipient of an Administrative Citation may contest the citation by requesting an appeal hearing within ten (10) calendar days from the date of the citation. The Appeal must be in writing on a form furnished by the City specifying the basis for the appeal in detail. The person requesting the appeal hearing shall deposit with the City either the amount of the fine or a hardship waiver pursuant to Section 1.15. If the deadline to request an appeal hearing falls on a weekend or City holiday, then the deadline shall be extended until 5:00 p.m. on the next regular business day.

(b)    The City shall hold a hearing within thirty days of receipt of an appeal. The person requesting the appeal hearing shall be notified of the time and place of the hearing at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the hearing.

(c)    In order to hear appeals of Administrative Citations, the City Manager shall appoint one or more Hearing Officers who shall serve at his or her pleasure. A hearing officer may be a City employee.

(d)    The failure of any person with an interest in the property to receive properly addressed notice of the hearing shall not affect the validity of any proceedings under this chapter.

(e)    Failure to file an appeal in accordance with the provisions of this section shall constitute a waiver of rights to contest the accompanying Administrative Citation and the imposition of the fine.

1.16 Hearing Procedure.

(a)    The Hearing Officer shall conduct an orderly hearing and accept evidence on which persons commonly would rely in the conduct of their business affairs.

(b)    At the appeal hearing, the party contesting the citation shall be given the opportunity to testify and to present evidence, including witnesses, concerning the alleged violation. Any other interested party, including but not limited to the property or business owner, employees, or neighbors, may also present testimony.

(c)    The Administrative Citation and any additional reports submitted by the Enforcement Officer shall constitute prima facie evidence of the facts contained in those documents.

(d)    The Hearing Officer may take the matter under consideration or may continue the hearing and/or request additional information from the Enforcement Officer and/or the person cited.

(e)    The Hearing Officer shall determine whether to affirm or dismiss the Administrative Citation. The hearing officer may not reduce, waive or conditionally reduce the fines established by the City.

(f)    The Hearing Officer shall make findings based on the record of the hearing and shall issue a written decision based on the findings. The City shall preserve all exhibits submitted by the parties for a 30-day period and shall serve the decision by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested within ten (10) working days after the hearing. The decision of the hearing officer affirming or dismissing the citation is final and conclusive, without right of further administrative appeal.

1.17 Hardship Waiver.

(a)    Any recipient of an Administrative Citation who requests an appeal hearing and is financially unable to deposit the required fine may file a request with the City of Fairfield Revenue Officer for a hardship waiver of the advance deposit requirement.

(b)    Requests for hardship waivers shall be filed with the request for an appeal hearing. The request shall be accompanied with a sworn affidavit, together with any supporting documents or materials demonstrating to the satisfaction of the Revenue Officer the person’s actual financial inability to deposit the fine in advance of the appeal hearing.

(c)    The Revenue Officer shall either grant or deny the request for a waiver within ten days of receipt of such request. If the Revenue Officer denies the request for a waiver, he/she shall issue a written determination on the person requesting the hardship waiver. The decision of the Revenue Officer shall be final.

(d)    If the request for a hardship waiver is denied, the fine shall be deposited with the City within ten days of the denial or thirty days from the date of the Administrative Citation, whichever is later.

(e)    If the request for a hardship waiver is granted, but the Administrative Citation is upheld by the Hearing Officer, the fine must be paid within ten (10) working days.

1.18 Right to judicial review.

Any person aggrieved by an administrative decision of a Hearing Officer may obtain review of the administrative decision be filing a petition for review with the Municipal Court in Solano County in accordance with the timeliness and other provisions set forth in California Government Code Section 53069.4. (Ord. No. 99-2, § 4.)