Division 1.
Enactment and Applicability



25.10.1    Title and Authority

25.10.2    Purpose and Intent

25.10.3    Relationship to the General Plan

25.10.4    Responsibility for Administration

25.10.5    Applicability of the Zoning Ordinance

25.10.6    Exemptions from Zoning Ordinance Requirements

25.10.7    Partial Invalidation of Zoning Ordinance

25.10.1 Title and Authority

A.    This Chapter is and may be cited as the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Fairfield, Chapter 25 of the Fairfield City Code, hereafter referred to as “this Ordinance.”

B.    This Ordinance is enacted based on the authority vested in the City of Fairfield by the State of California, including but not limited to the State Constitution; Sections 65800 and subsequent sections of the California Government Code; the California Environmental Quality Act, Housing Act, Subdivision Map Act, and the Health and Safety Code.

25.10.2 Purpose and Intent

This Ordinance carries out the policies of the Fairfield General Plan by classifying and regulating the uses of land and structures within the City of Fairfield. This Ordinance is adopted to protect and promote the health, safety, comfort, convenience, prosperity, and general welfare of residents and businesses in the City. More specifically, the purposes of this Ordinance are to:

A.    Implement the General Plan by encouraging land uses designated by the Plan, while avoiding conflicts between land uses;

B.    Provide regulations for the development of the City that will assist in maintaining a high quality of life without causing unduly high public or private costs for development, or unduly restricting private enterprise, initiative, or innovation in design;

C.    Attain the physical, social, and economic advantages resulting from comprehensive and orderly land use and resource planning;

D.    Reduce hazards to the public resulting from the inappropriate location, use, or design of buildings and other improvements; and

E.    Conserve and protect the City’s natural resources.

25.10.3 Relationship to General Plan

This Zoning Ordinance is the primary tool used by the City of Fairfield to implement the goals, objectives, and policies of the Fairfield General Plan and any Specific Plans adopted to guide development in key areas of the City. No use of land or buildings shall be allowed unless consistent with the General Plan and relevant Specific Plans. (Ord. No. 2017-14, § 4.)

25.10.4 Responsibility for Administration

This Zoning Ordinance shall be administered by the Fairfield City Council, Planning Commission, and Director of Community Development, as provided in Division Four (Permits and Administration). The Director of Community Development shall include his or her designee(s).

25.10.5 Applicability of the Zoning Ordinance

This Zoning Ordinance applies to all land uses, subdivisions, and construction within the City of Fairfield, as follows:

A.    New or changed land uses, structures, or site improvements. It shall be unlawful, and a violation of this Ordinance, for any person to establish, construct, reconstruct, alter, or replace any use of land, structure, or site improvement, except in compliance with the requirements of this Ordinance;

B.    Building or grading permits. Building or Grading Permits may be issued by the Public Works Department only when:

1.    The proposed land use, improvement, and/or structure satisfies the requirements of Subsection (A) above;

2.    The Director of Community Development determines that the site was subdivided in compliance with all applicable requirements of Chapter 25, Article III (Subdivision Rules and Regulations); and

3.    All proposed grading is in compliance with all applicable requirements of Article VI (Grading and Erosion Control).

No construction authorized by a building or grading permit shall be granted a final inspection or a certificate of occupancy, unless the construction complies with any permit issued in compliance with this Ordinance, and all applicable conditions of approval. The Director may grant exceptions to this requirement provided the applicant furnishes financial surety and a written guarantee that he or she shall comply with the conditions by a date certain.

C.    Continuation of an existing land use. An existing land use that was legally established is lawful and not in violation of the Fairfield City Code if operated and maintained in compliance with all applicable provisions of this Ordinance including, where applicable, Section 25.46 (Nonconforming Structures and Uses).

D.    Effect of Zoning Ordinance changes on projects in progress. This Ordinance or amendments to it may impose different standards on new land uses, structures, or improvements than those that formerly applied to existing development. The following provisions determine how the requirements of this Ordinance apply to projects in progress at the time requirements are changed.

1.    Projects with pending applications. Permit applications that have been accepted as complete by the Department before the effective date of this Zoning Ordinance or any amendment, will be processed according to the requirements in effect when the application was accepted as complete. Applications for time extensions shall be consistent with the requirements of this Ordinance that are in effect when the time extension application is accepted as complete.

2.    Approved projects not yet under construction. Any approved development project for which construction has not begun as of the effective date of this Zoning Ordinance or amendment, may still be constructed as approved, so long as required Building Permits have been obtained before the expiration of any applicable permit issued pursuant to this Ordinance, or, where applicable, before the expiration of any approved time extension granted under Section 25.42 (Permit Implementation).

3.    Approved projects not requiring construction. Any approved land use not requiring construction that has not been established as of the effective date of this Zoning Ordinance or amendment, may still be established in compliance with its approved permit, so long as establishment occurs before the expiration of the permit, or, where applicable, before the expiration of any approved time extension granted under Section 25.42 (Permit Implementation).

4.    Projects under construction. A structure that is under construction on the effective date of this Zoning Ordinance or any amendment need not be changed to satisfy any new or different requirements of this Zoning Ordinance, so long as construction is completed prior to the expiration of the applicable building permit(s), including time extensions.

E.    Conformity of lots created prior to adoption of this Ordinance. Any lot created legally prior to the adoption of this Ordinance that no longer meets the minimum lot size established by this Ordinance shall be considered conforming.

F.    Other requirements may still apply. Nothing in this Zoning Ordinance eliminates the need for obtaining any other approval or entitlement required by other provisions of the City Code or the requirements of any City department, or any local, State, or Federal agency.

G.    Conflicting permits and licenses to be void. All permits or licenses shall be issued by the City in compliance with the provisions of this Zoning Ordinance, after the effective date of this Zoning Ordinance or any applicable amendment. Any permit or license issued in conflict with this Zoning Ordinance shall be void.

25.10.6 Exemptions from Zoning Ordinance Requirements

The following activities, land uses, structures, and/or site improvements are exempt from the permit requirements of this Zoning Ordinance, but are not exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or any requirements resulting from City implementation of the Act, unless specifically exempted from CEQA:

A.    Decks, paths and driveways. Decks, platforms, on-site paths, and driveways that are not required to have a Building Permit by Chapter 5 (Building and Housing Codes) of the City Code, or a Grading Permit by Chapter 25, Article VI (Grading and Erosion Control) of the City Code, and are not over 30 inches above natural grade and not over any basement or story below.

B.    Swimming pools (residential). Swimming pools proposed in conjunction with any residential land use shall be exempt from this Ordinance.

C.    Governmental activities. Certain governmental agencies as prescribed by State law.

D.    Interior remodeling. Interior alterations that do not increase the number of rooms or the floor area within the structure, change the use of any portion of the structure as regulated by this Ordinance, or require exterior modifications.

E.    Exterior color changes. Exterior color changes to detached single-family dwellings and any type of attached dwellings on properties two acres or less.

F.    Repairs and maintenance. Ordinary repairs and maintenance, if the work does not result in any change in the approved land use of the site or structure, or the addition to, enlargement or expansion of the structure or site improvements, and if any exterior maintenance and repairs employ the same materials and design as the original.

G.    Temporary construction trailers. A mobile home, travel trailer, or other recreational vehicle used as a construction office on the same site as an approved construction project that has complied with the requirements of Chapter 5 of the City Code and the Uniform Building Code. Temporary construction offices shall not be placed in the public right-of-way. Up to one sleeping trailer for use by on-site security shall also be permitted.

H.    Utilities. The erection, construction, alteration, or maintenance by a public utility or public agency of underground or overhead utilities (i.e., water, gas, electric, telecommunication, supply or disposal systems, including wires, mains, drains, sewers, pipes, conduits, cables, fire-alarm boxes, police call boxes, traffic signals, hydrants, etc.), but not including structures (e.g., substations), shall be permitted in any zoning district without limit as to height, provided that the route of any electrical transmission line(s) shall be subject to Planning Commission review and approval prior to acquisition of rights-of-way. Satellite and cellular telephone antennas are subject to Section 25.32.3 (Antennas and Communications Facilities).

25.10.7 Partial Invalidation of Zoning Ordinance

If any article, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this Zoning Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid, unconstitutional or unenforceable, these decisions shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Zoning Ordinance. The Fairfield City Council hereby declares that this Zoning Ordinance and each article, chapter, section, Subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase and portion thereof would have been adopted irrespective of the fact that one or more portions of this Zoning Ordinance may be declared invalid, unconstitutional or unenforceable.