CHAPTER 5
PENALTIES AND REMEDIES

1.5.002 Violations as Misdemeanors or Infractions; Public Nuisances.

a.    It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any provision or to fail to comply with any of the requirements of this Code or any other ordinance of the City, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to any City ordinance or the provisions of any Code adopted by reference by any City ordinance, or any condition of an approval, permit or license granted pursuant to any City ordinance. Any person violating any of such provisions or failing to comply with any of such requirements shall be guilty of a misdemeanor or an infraction if so specified. Each such person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which any violation is committed, continued, or permitted by such person, and shall be punishable accordingly.

b.    Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section or any other provision of any City ordinance, any violation constituting a misdemeanor may, in the discretion of the enforcing authority, be charged and prosecuted as an infraction.

c.    Where no specific penalty is provided therefore, any person convicted of a misdemeanor under the provisions of a City ordinance shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

d.    Any person convicted of an infraction under the provisions of a City ordinance shall be punishable for a first conviction by a fine of not more than $100, for a second conviction within a period of one year by a fine of not more than $200, and for a third or any subsequent conviction within a period of one year by a fine of not more than $500.

e.    In addition to the penalties by this section any condition caused or permitted to exist in violation of any of the provisions of this Code, or any other ordinance of the City, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to any City ordinance, or the provisions of any Code adopted by reference by any City ordinance, or in violation of any condition of an approval, permit or license granted pursuant to a City ordinance, shall be deemed a public nuisance and may be abated by the City in a summary action pursuant to this Title, or any civil action, and each day such condition continues shall be a new and separate offense.

1.5.004 Prohibited Acts.

Whenever in any provision of this Code or ordinance of the City any act or omission is made unlawful, it shall include causing, permitting, aiding, abetting, suffering or concealing such act or omission.

1.5.006 Imposition of Penalty.

The provisions of this Code or any ordinance of the City which declare certain crimes to be punishable as therein mentioned devolve a duty upon the court authorized to pass sentence to determine and impose a punishment described.

1.5.008 Determination of Punishment.

Whenever in any provision of this Code or ordinance of the City the punishment for a crime is left undetermined between certain limits, the punishment to be inflicted in a particular case shall be determined by the court authorized to pass sentence, within such limits as may be prescribed by this Code or City ordinance.

1.5.010 Place of Confinement.

Every person found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this Code or an ordinance of the City and sentenced to imprisonment shall be imprisoned in the County Jail.

1.5.012 Authority to Arrest.

Every officer and employee of the City having any duty to enforce any of the provisions of this Code, or any ordinance of the City, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to City ordinance, or the provisions of any Code adopted by reference by City ordinance, is hereby authorized, pursuant to Section 836.5 of the Penal Code, to arrest a person without a warrant whenever any such officer or employee has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a misdemeanor or infraction in the presence of such officer or employee which is a violation of a provision of this Code, or any ordinance of the City, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to City ordinance, or the provisions of any code adopted by reference by City ordinance, which such officer or employee has the duty to enforce.

1.5.014 Violations of City Ordinance; Notice to Appear.

If any person is arrested for a violation of any provision of this Code, or any ordinance of the City, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to City ordinance, or the provisions of any Code adopted by reference by City ordinance, and such person is not immediately taken before a magistrate as prescribed by the Penal Code, the arresting officer or employee shall prepare in duplicate a written notice to appear in court, containing the name and address of such person arrested, and the offense charged. If the violation is designated as a misdemeanor, the notice shall also specify the time and place where the arrested person shall appear in court, which shall be a date at least 10 days after the date of arrest. The arresting officer or employee shall deliver one copy of the notice to the arrested person, and the arrested person, in order to secure release, must give his/her written promise to appear in court by signing the duplicate notice which shall be retained by the arresting officer or employee. Thereupon the arresting officer or employee shall release the person arrested from custody. The arresting officer or employee shall, as soon as practicable, file the duplicate notice with the magistrate specified in such notice.

1.5.016 Payment of Costs of Abatement as Condition for Probation.

Upon any guilty plea or judgment of conviction in any criminal proceeding brought for the violation of any provision of this Code, or any City ordinance, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to any City ordinance, or the provisions of any code adopted by reference by City ordinance, wherein the City has or will incur costs and expenses in removing or abating a nuisance caused, committed or maintained by the defendant as a result of such violation for which the defendant is prosecuted if the defendant is otherwise entitled by law to probation, then the court may require the payment to the City of such costs and expenses as one of the conditions of such probation.

1.5.018 Fees, Charges, Licenses and Taxes Made a Civil Debt.

The amount of any fee, service charge, utility charge, license, or tax of any nature whatsoever imposed by any provision of this Code, or any ordinance of the City, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to City ordinance, or the provisions of any code adopted by reference by City ordinance, or any condition of an approval, permit or license granted pursuant to City ordinance, shall be deemed a civil debt owing to the City. An action may be commenced in the name of the City in any court of competent jurisdiction for the collection of the amount of any such delinquent or unpaid fee, service charge, utility charge, license, or tax, together with any interest as provided in Civil Code Section 3287, and penalties applicable thereto. The remedy prescribed by this section shall be cumulative and the use of a civil action to collect such amount as a prescribed debt shall not bar the use of any other remedy available to the City for the collection thereof.

1.5.020 Collection of Costs by the City.

Wherever the City Attorney is authorized or directed to commence or sustain any civil action or proceeding, either at law or in equity, to enforce any of the provisions of this Code, or any ordinance of the City, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to City ordinance, or the provisions of any code adopted by reference by City ordinance, or any condition of an approval, permit or license granted pursuant to City ordinance, or to enjoin or restrain any violation thereof, or otherwise to abate any public nuisance or to collect any sum of money on behalf of the City, then the City shall be entitled to collect all the costs and expenses of the same, including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys fee and reasonable investigation costs, which shall be set by the court and made a part of any judgment in any such action or proceeding.

1.5.022 Recorded Notice of Violation.

a.    Whenever the City Manager has knowledge of a violation of any provision of this Code, or any ordinance of the City, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to City ordinance, or the provisions of any Code adopted by reference by City ordinance, or any condition of an approval permit or license granted pursuant City ordinance, he/she may notify the owner of the property upon which the violation is located of his/her intent to record a notice of violation in the Office of the County Recorder. Such notice of intent shall be mailed to the owner at the address shown on the latest available assessment roll, or as otherwise known to the City Manager, and a copy thereof shall be posted upon the property. The notice of intent shall describe the nature of the violation and inform the owner that a notice of violation will be recorded unless a hearing before the City Manager is requested by the owner within 20 days from the date of the notice.

b.    In the event a hearing is not requested and the violation has not been corrected, or in the event that after the conduct of a hearing and consideration of all evidence presented thereat by the owner, the City Manager determines that a violation of one or more of the aforementioned codes, ordinances, rules, regulations, orders or conditions in fact exists, the City Manager may record a notice of violation in the Office of the County Recorder. The determination by the City Manager, following a hearing, that a violation exists, may be appealed to the City Council in accordance with the procedure set forth in Section 1.8.002.

c.    At the request of the affected property owner or other interested person and upon determination by the City Manager that the violation has been fully corrected and no longer exists, the City Manager shall furnish to the owner or other interested person a notice of expungement of the previously recorded notice of violation.

d.    The recording of a notice of violation pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any other rights, remedies or actions available to the City by reason of the same violation as described in the notice.

Article 2    ADMINISTRATIVE CITATIONS

1.5.201 Applicability.

a.    This article makes any violation of the provisions of this code (including by reference the Contra Costa County Zoning Code) subject to civil fine.

b.    This article establishes the administrative procedures for the imposition, enforcement, collection, and administrative review of civil fines pursuant to Government Code 53069.4 and the City’s plenary police power.

c.    The issuance of an administrative citation under this article is solely at the City’s discretion and is one option the City has to address violations of this code. By adopting this article, the City does not intend to limit its discretion to utilize any other remedy, civil or criminal, for such violations that the City may select in a particular case.

d.    The purpose of issuing administrative citations pursuant to this article is to encourage voluntary and complete compliance with the provisions of this code for the protection and benefit of the entire community.

e.    Notwithstanding any lease, license or any other instrument or agreement, the owner of any real property has the right to enter upon his or her own property to the extent reasonably necessary to abate any nuisance or correct any violation of this code existing thereon. The provisions of this article shall be an implied term of any instrument affecting the right to possession of real property located in the City.

f.    Because of the serious blighting conditions that can result affecting the residents’ health and safety, this article is intended to impose strict civil liability upon the owners and lessees of real property for all building, housing, fire and health code and zoning violations that occur upon the subject premises.

1.5.202 Definitions.

The following definitions apply to the use of these terms for the purposes of this article:

a.    "Citee" means a person given an administrative citation charging him or her as a responsible person for a code violation.

b.    "Citation" means an administrative citation issued pursuant to this article. Citation includes a Notice of Noncorrection unless the context clearly shows otherwise.

c.    "Building violation" means any violation of this code pertaining to building, plumbing, electrical, or other similar structural or zoning regulations set forth in this code that does not create an immediate danger to health or safety.

d.    "Enforcement Officer" shall mean any City official designated to investigate and enforce violations of this Code, or any other ordinance of the City, or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to any City ordinance or the provisions of any code adopted by reference by any City ordinance, or any condition of an approval, permit or license granted pursuant to any City ordinance.

e.    "Issued" means giving a citation to the citee and issuance occurs on the date when a citation is personally served on the citee, the date it is mailed to the citee, or the date it is posted on real property where a property related violation occurs.

f.    "Issuing department" means the City department that has the authority and responsibility for enforcing the code section(s) designated on a citation as having been violated.

g.    "Hearing Officer" means the person appointed by the City Council to serve as the Hearing Officer for administrative hearings. The hearing officer shall not be a City employee.

h.    "Notice of Noncorrection" means a reissuance of an original citation for a building violation which notes a violation(s) on the original citation has not been corrected within the applicable correction period.

i.    "Responsible person" means:

1)    A responsible person is any of the following:

a)    A person who causes a code violation to occur.

b)    A person who maintains or allows a code violation to continue, by his or her action or failure to act.

c)    A person whose agent, employee, or independent contractor causes a code violation by its action or failure to act.

d)    A person who is the owner of and a person who is a lessee or sub-lessee with the current right of possession of real property where a property related code violation occurs.

e)    A person who is the on-site manager of a business who normally works daily at the site when the business is open and is responsible for the activities at such premises.

2)    For purposes of this subsection, "person" includes a natural person or legal entity, and the owners, majority stockholders, corporate officers, trustees, and general partners of a legal entity.

3)    There shall be a legal rebuttable presumption that the record owner of a parcel according to the County’s latest equalized property tax assessment rolls and a lessee or sublessee of a parcel has notice of any code violation existing on the premises.

4)    For the purposes of this article, there may be more than one responsible person for a code violation, and a minor at least 14 years of age may be a responsible person subject to the provisions of this article.

1.5.203 Administrative Citation for Non –Building Violation.

a.    Any Enforcement Officer upon determining the existence of a public nuisance, as defined by this code or common law, or the existence of a violation of this code including by reference the Contra Costa County Zoning Code) or any other ordinance of the City or any rule, regulation or order promulgated or issued pursuant to any City ordinance or the provisions of any code adopted by reference by any City ordinance or any condition of an approval, permit or license granted pursuant to any City ordinance, which he or she is charged to enforce, has the authority to issue an administrative citation to any responsible person or persons.

b.    An Enforcement Officer may issue a citation for a violation the officer did not see occur if the officer has determined through investigation that the responsible person did commit or allow the violation.

c.    A responsible person to whom a citation is issued shall be liable for and shall pay to the City the fine or fines described in the citation when due pursuant to the provisions of this article.

d.    Each day a violation of this code exists shall be a separate violation and be subject to a separate fine. A citation may charge a violation for one or more days on which a violation exists and for violation of one or more code sections.

e.    The City may take into consideration the fact that a person has been issued citations when the City is determining whether to grant, suspend, revoke, or deny any permit, license, or any type of land use approval for the person where such citations are evidence that the person has committed acts that are not compatible with the health, safety and general welfare of other persons and businesses in the vicinity.

1.5.204 Administrative Citation for Building Violation.

a.    When a citation is issued for a building violation, a 30-day correction period shall be provided for the correction of the violation and the citee shall correct the violation within that period. No responsible person for a building violation shall be liable for a civil fine unless the violation continues after the 30 days allowed for its correction (plus any extension) and he or she is issued a Notice of Noncorrection.

b.    The citee of a building violation may request an extension of the correction period provided that a request is filed with the Director of the issuing department before the 30-day period ends. The Director may in his or her discretion grant a reasonable extension of the period of time to correct the violation if the citee has supplied substantial evidence showing that the correction cannot reasonably be made within the 30-day period. The Director’s decision shall be in writing and is final. The filing for such an extension does not, unless granted, extend the 30-day correction period or any other time periods set by this article.

c.    If a building violation has not been corrected by the end of the correction period, the Enforcement Officer has authority to issue to the responsible person a Notice of Noncorrection. The citee to whom the Notice of Noncorrection is issued shall be liable for and shall pay to the City the fine or fines described in the Notice of Noncorrection. Additional citations may be issued and fines imposed for every day the violation continues uncorrected from the date the Notice of Noncorrection is issued and the citee shall be liable for and shall pay to the City any additional fine which shall be due on the date any new citation is issued.

d.    If upon reinspection the Enforcement Officer determines the violation has been corrected, he or she will issue a Notice of Decision to the citee indicating correction has been made.

1.5.205 Citation Contents.

Each administrative citation shall contain the following information:

a.    Name of the responsible person for the violation of this code.

b.    Date on which an inspection established the code violation.

c.    Issuing department for the code section(s) violated.

d.    The code section violated.

e.    Address where the code violation occurred.

f.    Description of the violation established by inspection.

g.    Amount of the fine for the violation and procedure to pay the fine and avoid a late payment penalty.

h.    Designation of a building violation (if applicable), date the 30-day correction period expires, and how to request an extension of that period, and designation of a Notice of Noncorrection for a building violation that has not been corrected.

i.    Designation of any prior citations, issued for the same code violations, if known.

j.    Description of the procedure for requesting a Waiver of Fine Deposit and/or an Administrative Hearing to contest a citation.

k.    Removed.

l.    A notice that the code violation is a nuisance and that collection of unpaid fines and/or nuisance abatement costs can be enforced as an assessment pursuant to the procedures in this Code.

m.    Signature of the Enforcement Officer issuing the citation.

n.    Date the citation is issued.

o.    A self-addressed envelope in which the citee can send to the City the fine or a request for a Waiver of Fine Deposit and/or an Administrative Hearing.

p.    Any other information deemed necessary by the City Attorney or Director of Administrative Services for enforcement or collection purposes.

1.5.206 Service of Citation.

A citation may be served as follows:

a.    An Enforcement Officer may personally serve the citation on the citee. The citee is required to sign a copy of the citation showing his or her receipt of the citation.

b.    An Enforcement Officer may mail the citation by first class mail, if the citee is not present for personal service when the officer determines there has been a violation. The citation shall be mailed to the citee’s address shown on the county’s last equalized property tax assessment rolls for a property related violation, or to any address known for the citee for all other violations.

c.    An Enforcement Officer may post the property in a conspicuous place with a copy of the citation when the citee resides at an unknown address other than where the violation occurs. A copy of the citation will also be mailed to the citee at the property address.

1.5.207 Amount of Civil Fines.

a.    The amount of the fines for violating particular provisions of this code shall be set in a schedule of fines adopted by resolution by the City Council and shall be consistent with the fine amounts authorized by Government Code Section 36900 or successor legislation. The schedule may include escalating fine amounts for repeat code violations occurring within specified periods of time.

b.    The schedule of fines may also specify the amount of interest and late payment penalty owed for any fine not paid when due. A late payment penalty and interest shall be owed for fines not paid within 30 days of their due date.

c.    Fines are due on the day the citation is issued, except that fines for building violations shall be due on the day the Notice of Noncorrection is issued.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 02-08, adopted January 22, 2008)

1.5.208 Payment of Civil Fines.

a.    Fines shall be paid to and received by the Finance Department within 30 days of the due date. Payment shall be made by mailing the envelope attached to the citation and enclosing the fine amount paid by check or money order. The Finance Director for purposes of convenience and ease of processing may authorize payment to be made in accordance with any other method, at any location located within the City, or to any address.

b.    Payment of a fine shall not excuse the citee from correcting the code violation. The issuance of a citation and/or payment of a fine does not bar the City from taking any other enforcement action regarding a code violation that is not corrected, including issuing additional administrative citations and/or criminal complaints.

c.    Any fine not paid within 30 days of its due date shall be deemed to be delinquent and shall be considered to be a debt to the City. The fine may be collected by any method used to collect civil debts due and owing to the City, including reference to a collection agency or service.

1.5.209 Request for Administrative Hearing.

a.    Any person receiving an administrative citation may contest it by filing a request for an Administrative Hearing, except that a hearing for a building violation may not be requested unless and until a Notice of Noncorrection is issued. To obtain a hearing, the citee shall file a signed written request on an appeal form to be provided by the City. The request for a hearing shall indicate the grounds for contesting the citation and fine. A citee may contest the citation by denying that a violation occurred, by denying that it was not corrected within the correction period, if applicable, or by denying that the citee is a responsible person for the violation.

b.    To be effective and complete, the request must be received by the City Clerk’s Office within ten (10) regular business days of the date the citation was issued. Upon receipt of the request, the Code Enforcement Manager shall conduct an initial review of the matter by examining the written request and the citation and determine whether issuance of the citation was erroneous. If the Manager determines the issuance of the citation was erroneous, the Manager shall cause the citation to be cancelled and shall so inform the citee. Otherwise, the Manager shall cause a notice to be sent to the citee stating that an initial review has determined that the citation was not erroneously issued and that an administrative hearing will be scheduled upon payment of the fine or a determination of the citee’s inability to pay the fine. Payment of the fine or application for waiver of fine must be received by the City within ten (10) regular business days of the notice regarding the initial review of the matter. All requests shall be date-stamped upon receipt. If the deadline to request a hearing or fine payment falls on a weekend or City holiday, then the deadline shall be extended until 5:00 p.m. on the next regular business day.

c.    Any person who intends to request an Administrative Hearing and is financially unable to make the Advance Deposit as required by this section, may file a request for a hardship waiver on a form provided by the City.

i.    The request for a hardship waiver shall be filed with the Community Development Director or designee ("Director") within ten (10) regular business days of the date of issuance of the notice regarding initial review of the matter as set forth in subsection (b) of this section. The requirement for submitting an Advance Deposit shall be stayed unless and until the Director has rendered a decision on the request for a hardship waiver.

ii.    The Director may waive the requirement for an Advance Deposit and issue the waiver only if the citee submits to the Director a signed, sworn affidavit, together with any supporting documents or materials, demonstrating to the satisfaction of the Director the person’s actual financial inability to provide the Advance Deposit in advance of the hearing. The person requesting the hardship waiver bears the burden of establishing by substantial evidence that he or she does not have the financial ability to make the Advance Deposit.

iii.    The Director shall either grant or deny the request within ten (10) days of receipt of such request. If the Director denies the request for a hardship waiver, the Director shall issue a written decision on the request to the person requesting the waiver. The decision of the Director shall be final. A copy of the Director’s decision shall be mailed to the citee at the address provided in the request for the hardship waiver.

iv.    If the request for a hardship waiver is denied, the citee shall submit the full Advance Deposit to the City within ten (10) regular business days after the date of the Director’s decision. If the request for a hardship waiver is granted, but the Administrative Citation is upheld by the Hearing Officer, the fine shall be due and payable within ten (10) working days after the date the Hearing Officer’s decision is issued.

d.    The person requesting the Administrative Hearing may file a written declaration with the Hearing Officer before the hearing or personally attend the hearing on the date, time and place specified on the citation. A failure to file a written declaration before the hearing or personally attend the hearing will be considered a non-appearance. Non-appearance by the citee shall constitute an abandonment of the request, unless the hearing was continued pursuant to Section 1.5.210(f).

e.    Failure to request a hearing in accordance with the provisions of this Section shall constitute a waiver of rights to contest an administrative citation and the imposition of a fine.

(Secs. 1, 2, Ordinance No. 06-17, adopted May 9, 2017; Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 02-17, adopted March 28, 2017)

1.5.210 Hearing Procedures.

a.    The Administrative Hearing shall be conducted by a Hearing Officer not more than forty-five (45) regular business days after the City Clerk’s office receives the request for Administrative Hearing, unless continued with the consent of the citee.

b.    The Enforcement Officer shall ensure that the pertinent citation records are delivered to the Hearing Officer for a citation set for a hearing. The Enforcement Officer shall also make available to the citee before the hearing a copy of any additional reports concerning the citation that are provided to the Hearing Officer.

c.    The citee shall be given the opportunity to testify and to present evidence relevant to financial hardship or the code violation specified in the citation. A parent or legal guardian of a citee who is a juvenile, under 18 years of age, shall accompany the citee.

d.    The citation and any other reports prepared by the Enforcement Officer, or at his or her request, concerning the code violation or attempted correction of the code violation that are provided to the Hearing Officer shall be accepted by the Hearing Officer as prima facie evidence of the code violation and the facts stated in such documents.

e.    Neither the Enforcement Officer nor any other representative of the City shall be required to attend the hearing, nor shall the Hearing Officer require that there be submitted any evidence, other than the citation, that may exist among the public records of the City on the violation. However, any such appearance and/or submission may be made at the discretion of the Enforcement Officer or any City employee or agent.

f.    The Hearing Officer may continue a hearing if a request is made showing good cause by the citee or a representative of the City. All continuance requests shall either: (i) be made in person at the hearing by the citee or his or her representative if the citee is physically unable to attend, or (ii) be made by a written request received by the City Clerk’s Office at least 24 hours before the hearing date. If the continuance is granted, a new hearing date shall be scheduled to take place within 45 days. If the continuance is denied, the hearing shall proceed then and there as scheduled, and if the citee is not present the request(s) shall be deemed abandoned in accordance with subsection h. below. The Hearing Officer’s decision is final and he or she shall either personally give the Notice of Decision to the citee or the representative if present at the end of the hearing or request that the notice be mailed by the Hearing Officer.

g.    The hearing shall be conducted informally and the legal rules of evidence need not be followed. The Hearing Officer does not have the authority to issue a subpoena.

h.    The failure of the citee to appear at the hearing, unless the hearing was continued per subsection f. above, shall constitute an abandonment of the request for waiver of the fine deposit and/or the contest, and a failure to exhaust administrative remedies concerning the violation set forth in the citation. The failure to appear by the citee shall be noted on the Notice of Decision by the Hearing Officer which will be mailed to the citee by the Director of Administrative Services’ Office.

(Sec. 3, Ordinance No. 06-17, adopted May 9, 2017; Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 02-08, adopted January 22, 2008)

1.5.211 Administrative Hearing Decision.

a.    After considering all the evidence and testimony submitted at the Administrative Hearing, the Hearing Officer shall issue a written decision to uphold or cancel the citation. The Hearing Officer may issue a ruling at the end of the hearing or take the matter under advisement. The decision may be personally delivered to the site or mailed to the site.

b.    The fine shall be due on the date the decision is given to the citee at the end of the hearing by the Hearing Officer.

1.5.212 City Council Review.

If the Citee is dissatisfied with decision of the Hearing Officer, he or she may request review of the matter by the City Council. Such request shall be made on a form provided by the City and filed with the City Clerk on or before the fine due date indicated on the Hearing Officer’s decision. The Citee may file with the City Council any written argument or explanation that the Citee wishes the City Council to consider. The Council may review the matter based upon the written record presented to it, or at its discretion may allow oral argument to be made by the parties. The City Council shall announce its decision on the review of the matter at the meeting where the matter is considered, or at such a meeting to which the matter may be continued by the Council. The City Clerk shall send a notice to the Citee indicating the decision made by the City Council and the time and procedure for seeking judicial review of the decision.

1.5.213 Judicial Review.

No person may seek judicial review of the Hearing Officer’s decision until that person has requested review of the decision by the City Council and has received a notice of the City Council’s decision.

a.    Within twenty (20) days of service of the City Council’s decision, a person may contest the decision by filing a written appeal with the Superior Court. The fee for filing the appeal shall be in accordance with the current Superior Court fee schedule. A copy of the appeal shall be served in person by or by first class mail upon the City Clerk within two (2) days of filing the appeal with the Court. Failure to file an appeal and pay the filing fee within the prescribed time shall constitute a waiver of the right to judicial review and the decision of the City Council shall be deemed confirmed.

b.    The conduct of the appeal and disposition by the court shall be in accordance with Government Code Sec. 53609.4 or successor legislation.

1.5.214 Collection of Unpaid Fines.

a.    The City at its discretion may pursue any and all legal and equitable remedies for the collection of unpaid fines, interest and penalties.

b.    Pursuit of one remedy does not preclude the pursuit of any other remedies until the total fines, interest and penalties owed by a person under this article have been collected.

c.    The City may refuse to issue, extend, or renew to any person, who has unpaid delinquent fines, interest, penalties, liens or assessments, any City permit, license, or other City approval pertaining to the property that is the subject of the fine and citation.

d.    Any permit, license, or any type of land use approval issued by the City to a person who has unpaid fines, interest and penalties totaling $500 or more that remain delinquent for 30 days or longer shall automatically be suspended. The suspension becomes effective 10 days after the day notice of the suspension is placed in the U.S. mail postage prepaid addressed to the responsible person, and continues until the delinquency is paid in full. The person may request a review hearing pursuant to the procedures in Section 1.5.209 on the issue of delinquency, if the request is filed before the 10 day period ends. Continuing to operate under a suspended permit, license or approval shall be grounds for the City Council to revoke the permit, license or approval. Revocations may be made by the City Council at a public hearing for which the person is given at least 10 days prior written notice.

e.    The City Attorney, at his or her discretion, may also issue a criminal complaint to any citee for a code violation when the applicable fine, interest or penalty has not been paid.

f.    Any violation of this code (including by reference the Contra Costa Zoning Code) shall constitute a nuisance. To compel code compliance, the City may seek to abate the nuisance pursuant to the procedures of this code.

g.    All citations shall contain a notice that unpaid fines, interest and penalties are subject to the assessment procedures of this code.

h.    A citee may contest the amount and/or validity of any assessment for a civil fine at the public hearing when the City Council considers the resolution to certify the assessments. Such contests by a citee shall be limited to the amount of the assessment and may not consider the validity of the underlying code violation. Pursuit of such an objection by a responsible person is necessary to exhaust the administrative remedies concerning a legal challenge to the validity of any such assessment.

i.    The mother, father and the legal guardian if there is no living parent, of a citee who is a minor shall be liable for any fines imposed upon the minor pursuant to the provisions of this article. Any such fines may be collected from the minor or a parent or guardian.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 11-07, adopted May 29, 2007)