Chapter 1.50


1.50.010    Purpose.

1.50.020    Definitions.

1.50.030    Scope.

1.50.040    Administrative citation.

1.50.050    Procedures for issuing an administrative citation.

1.50.060    Satisfaction of administrative citation.

1.50.070    Issuing permits or licenses.

1.50.080    Administrative review and hearing.

1.50.090    Right to judicial review.

1.50.100    Collection and lien procedures.

1.50.110    Failure to comply with administrative order.

1.50.010 Purpose.

A. This chapter is adopted pursuant to the city’s police powers and Cal. Gov’t Code § 53069.4 for the purpose of making certain violations of the Palos Verdes Estates Municipal Code subject to an administrative fine and to set forth procedures for the imposition and collection of such fines.

B. The purpose and intent of this chapter is to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the city’s residents and to provide an efficient and cost effective method of enforcing the Palos Verdes Estates Municipal Code and the city’s ordinances. The purpose and intent of the city’s imposition of fines is to encourage compliance with, and deter future violations of, the Palos Verdes Estates Municipal Code.

C. The administrative enforcement procedures set forth in this chapter are in addition to all other legal remedies, criminal or civil, which the city may choose to pursue. Nothing in this chapter is intended to supersede, replace or otherwise limit the now existing powers of the city to enforce its laws. The use of this chapter is at the sole discretion of the city. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.020 Definitions.

A. “Administrative citation” or “citation” means a citation issued pursuant to this chapter.

B. “Day” means a calendar day, unless otherwise specifically expressed.

C. “Department director” means the director or designee of the department responsible for issuing a citation pursuant to this chapter.

D. “Enforcement officer” means any police officer, or city employee or agent, designated by the director of any city department who has the authority and responsibility to enforce the provisions of this code as provided for herein.

E. “Hearing officer” means that person designated by the city manager to conduct an administrative hearing pursuant to this chapter.

F. “Person” means a natural person, corporation, association, partnership, sole proprietorship, public entity, firm, business, trust, or corporation.

G. “Responsible person” means:

1. A person who causes a code violation to occur;

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

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

4. A person who is the owner of, and/or a person who is a lessee or sublessee with the current right of possession of, real property where a code violation occurs; or

5. A person who is the on-site manager of a business who normally works during the business’s operating hours and who is responsible for the activities occurring on such premises.

H. “Violation” means any condition caused or permitted to exist in violation of any provision of this code, or any ordinance of the city, or of any condition of any permit or license required by this code and issued by the city. A violation may include failure to correct, abate or remove any condition expressly prohibited by this code or any ordinance of the city or any such permit or license. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.030 Scope.

A. In addition to any criminal, civil or other legal remedy established by this code or other law that may be pursued to address violations of the municipal code, any violation of the Palos Verdes Estates Municipal Code is subject to the administrative penalty procedures and other provisions of this chapter.

B. Use of the provisions of this chapter does not waive the city’s ability to use any other enforcement remedies authorized by law.

C. Any person who violates the same provision, or who fails to comply with the same sections of this code more than three times within a twelve-month period shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for each violation committed thereafter within that same twelve-month period. Any person who violates or fails to comply with the sections of this code and who possesses no photo identification or refuses to identify him/herself to an enforcement officer, thereby impeding, delaying or obstructing the issuance of an administrative citation, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.040 Administrative citation.

A. Issuing Administrative Citations. The following procedures shall be used in issuing administrative citations:

1. Personal Service. In any case where an administrative citation is issued by personal service the enforcement officer shall attempt to locate and personally serve the responsible person and obtain the signature of the responsible person on the administrative citation. If the responsible person served refuses or fails to sign the citation, the failure or refusal to sign shall not affect the validity of the administrative citation or of subsequent proceedings. Additionally, service under this subsection is effective at the time the notice is personally served.

2. Service of Citation by Mail. If the enforcement officer is unable to locate the responsible person, the administrative citation shall be mailed to the responsible person by certified mail, postage prepaid with a requested return receipt. Simultaneously, the citation may be sent by first class mail. If the citation is sent by certified mail and returned unsigned, then service shall be deemed effective pursuant to first class mail, provided the citation sent by first class mail is not returned.

3. Service of Citation by Posting. If the enforcement officer is unable to effectuate service of the citation under subsection (A)(1) or (2) of this section, a copy of the citation may be posted on any real property within the city in which the city has a reasonable belief that the responsible person may be found or in which the responsible person has a legal interest. Service under this subsection shall be deemed effective on the date when such notice is posted.

4. Service of Citation by Publication. If the enforcement officer is unable to serve the citation by any of the preceding methods, the citation may be published in a newspaper likely to give actual notice to the responsible person. The publication shall be once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper published at least once a week. Service under this subsection is deemed effective twenty-four hours after the fourth weekly publication of the notice.

B. The administrative citation shall contain the following information:

1. The date the administrative citation is issued;

2. The code section(s) violated and a brief description of the conditions resulting in the violation(s);

3. The date, approximate time, and address or description of the location where the violation(s) occurred;

4. The amount of the fine imposed for the violation;

5. The manner by which the administrative citation may be paid, including the location where payments may be tendered and the due date for paying the fine;

6. A description of the penalties for failure to pay the fine;

7. A deadline for any requested corrections of existing violations which triggered the issuance of the administrative citation;

8. A brief description of the administrative citation review process, including the time within which the administrative citation may be contested and the manner in which a request for review of the citation may be requested;

9. To the extent reasonably practical: the full legal name of the responsible person, the responsible person’s current address and mailing address, the responsible person’s telephone number and the responsible person’s signature;

10. An order prohibiting the continued or repeated occurrence of the violation described in the administrative citation; and

11. The name of the enforcement officer. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.050 Procedures for issuing an administrative citation.

A. Prior to the issuance of an administrative citation, a responsible person will first be issued a notice of violation. The notice of violation shall specify the action required to correct or otherwise remedy the violation(s). Upon the issuance of the notice of violation, the code enforcement officer shall assign a specific reasonable period within which to correct or otherwise remedy each violation. If no such period is specifically provided, the responsible person will have fifteen days from the date of issuance to correct or otherwise remedy the violation.

B. Failure to comply with any portion of a notice of violation may result in the issuance of an administrative citation.

C. A notice of violation is not required before any subsequent administrative citations may be issued for a continuing or repeated violation. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.060 Satisfaction of administrative citation.

A. Upon the issuance of an administrative citation, the responsible person must either correct the violation and pay the fine, or file an administrative review.

1. Payment of Administrative Fines. An administrative citation fine must be paid to the city within thirty days from the date of issuance of the administrative citation or, if a request for an initial administrative review is submitted and the review held, then within fifteen days after the date of mailing of the notice of the conclusion of that initial administrative review, whichever is later.

2. Delinquency Penalty. Any responsible person who fails to pay to the city the amount of any fine imposed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter is liable for the payment of an additional delinquency penalty. The delinquency penalty is equal to one hundred percent of the amount due the city, not to exceed one hundred dollars; or if a portion of the fine amount was timely paid, one hundred percent of the amount of the fine remaining unpaid to the city, not to exceed one hundred dollars.

3. Failure of any person to pay the fines assessed by an administrative citation and any delinquency penalty within the time set forth herein shall constitute a debt to the city which may be collected in any manner authorized by law.

4. Remedy the violation within the specific reasonable period outlined in the administrative citation; or if no such period is specifically provided, the responsible person will have fifteen days from the date of issuance to correct or otherwise remedy the violation.

B. File an Administrative Review. An administrative review shall be filed in accordance with the time limits and other provisions of PVEMC 1.50.080. In the event the responsible person fails or refuses to select and satisfy any of the alternatives set forth above, then the penalty shall be immediately due and owing to the city and may be collected in any manner allowed by law for collection of a debt. Commencement of an action to collect the delinquent penalty shall not preclude issuance of additional citations to the responsible person should the violations persist. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.070 Issuing permits or licenses.

If an enforcement officer issues an administrative citation because the responsible person lacks a required permit or license required by this code and the fine is delinquent, the city shall not issue the permit or license until the delinquent fine, and any applicable penalties and interest, are paid. Similarly, no permit or license shall be renewed until any and all outstanding administrative citations have been paid in full, regardless of the violation that triggered the administrative citation. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.080 Administrative review and hearing.

A. Initial Administrative Review – Request. The responsible person may request an initial administrative review of the citation within fifteen days of its issuance by submitting a request to the city clerk, or his or her designee. This request must: be made in writing and set forth with particularity the reasons the responsible person believes a violation did not occur or that the responsible person was not responsible for the violation(s); must include a copy of the citation; must be received by the city clerk within fifteen days of the issuance of the citation; and must contain the address to which the conclusions of the city’s review should be mailed. A request for an initial administrative review is a mandatory prerequisite to a request for an administrative hearing.

B. Initial Administrative Review – Procedure. The city clerk, or his or her designee, shall forward the initial administrative review request to the department director supervising the enforcement officer who issued the administrative citation for review. The initial administrative review shall be limited to a review of the city’s documentation of the violation.

C. Initial Administrative Review – Decision.

1. Within fifteen days upon receiving the request, the department director shall review the request and provide the city clerk, or his or her designee, with written notification either that:

a. The citation should be vacated because either there was no violation, or the responsible person was not responsible for the violation, and setting forth the basis for that conclusion; or

b. There is no justification found for vacating the citation.

2. The city clerk, or his or her designee, shall mail a copy of the decision to the responsible person at the address on the request for initial administrative review along with, if applicable, a notice establishing the fine due date and the procedure for requesting an administrative hearing.

3. If the initial administrative review upholds the citation, the fine shall be paid to the city within fifteen days after the date the city mailed the responsible person the notice of the initial administrative review decision.

D. Request for Hearing. If the responsible person wishes to contest the decision of the initial administrative review, the responsible person shall request an administrative hearing within fifteen days after the date the city mailed the responsible person the notice of the initial administrative review decision. Requests must be in writing submitted to the city clerk and be accompanied by an advance deposit of the fine.

E. Notification of Hearing. Upon receipt of the payment of the administrative fine and request for a hearing, the city shall give notice to the responsible person of the time, date, and location of the hearing. The hearing shall be held not less than fifteen days, or more than sixty days, after the receipt of the request. Any documentation, other than the administrative citation, that the enforcement officer has submitted or will submit to the hearing officer shall be sent to the responsible person by regular first class mail at least five days before the date on which the hearing is scheduled. The documentation shall be made available upon request at the time of the hearing.

F. Evidentiary Rules. The city bears the burden of proving a violation of the code by a preponderance of the evidence. The administrative citation and any additional reports submitted by the enforcement officer constitute prima facie evidence of the respective facts contained in those documents. Both the responsible person and the enforcement officer have the opportunity to testify, cross-examine witnesses and present additional evidence concerning the administrative citation. Evidence may include, without limitation, witness testimony, documents, or other similar evidence. Formal rules of evidence do not apply, but all evidence presented must be relevant and material to the issues of whether the violation alleged in the citation occurred or whether the responsible person was accountable for the violation.

G. Waiver of Personal Appearance at Hearing. In lieu of personally appearing at an administrative hearing, the responsible person may request that the hearing officer decide the matter based upon the citation itself and written argument and any documentary evidence signed under penalty of perjury submitted by the responsible person prior to the time of the scheduled hearing.

H. Failure to Appear at Hearing. Failure of a responsible person to appear at the hearing is deemed a waiver of the right to be personally present at the hearing. The hearing officer may then decide the matter based upon the citation itself, any documentary evidence previously submitted, and any additional evidence that may be presented at the hearing by the enforcement officer.

I. Attendance of Enforcement Officer. The enforcement officer who issued the administrative citation may, but is not required to, attend the administrative hearing. If the enforcement officer does not attend the administrative hearing he or she may, before the date set for said hearing, submit reports, photos, or other documentation regarding the violation to the hearing officer for consideration at the hearing.

J. Continuation of Hearings. The hearing officer may continue any hearing and request additional information from the enforcement officer or responsible person before issuing a written decision.

K. Decision of Hearing Officer. Based upon the evidence presented at the administrative hearing, the hearing officer shall provide a written decision to the parties within fifteen days of the hearing with one of the following determinations:

1. Determine that the violation for which the citation was issued occurred, and impose a fine in the amount set forth in the fine and penalty schedule. If the violation has not been corrected as of the date of the hearing, the hearing officer may additionally order the responsible person to correct or abate the violation. In this event, the city can retain the fine deposited by the responsible person.

2. Determine either that the violation for which the citation was issued did not occur or that the condition did not constitute a violation of this code. In either event, the city shall refund the deposit, if any, within fifteen days of the decision. A finding by the hearing officer that no violation occurred constitutes a dismissal of the administrative citation at issue, but does not have any effect on any other administrative citations issued or any other action taken by the city.

3. Determine that the person cited was not the responsible person as to the violation. In this event the city shall refund the deposit, if any, within fifteen days of the decision.

L. The administrative hearing officer’s decision must explain the basis for the decision and be served upon the responsible person by first class mail to the address stated on the request for hearing form. If applicable, the order must set forth the date by which compliance must be achieved and the imposed fine paid to the city. The order is final on the date of mailing, which is deemed the “date of service,” and must notify the responsible person of the right to appeal to the superior court, as further described in PVEMC 1.50.090. There is no right to an appeal other than as provided in PVEMC 1.50.090. The administrative hearing officer’s decision shall be the final administrative order and decision pursuant to Cal. Gov’t Code § 53069.4(b). (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.090 Right to judicial review.

If an administrative order is rendered in favor of the city, the responsible person may seek judicial review of the administrative order in the Los Angeles County superior court, by filing an appeal of the administrative order pursuant to, and paying the fee required by, Cal. Gov’t Code § 53069.4 within twenty days after service of the administrative order. Pursuant to Cal. Gov’t Code § 53069.4, the appealing party must serve a copy of the notice of appeal in person or by first-class mail upon the city clerk. If no notice of appeal is filed within the twenty-day period, the administrative hearing officer’s decision is final. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.100 Collection and lien procedures.

A. Recovery of Administrative Citation Fines and Costs. In addition to any other legal remedy, the city may place a lien on property owned by the responsible person in an amount equal to the sum of the fines delinquent for more than ninety days, plus penalties and interest. Imposition of a lien must stem from a citation for the condition or use of real property, or any improvements thereon, owned by the responsible person.

B. Lien Procedure.

1. The city manager may initiate proceedings to record a lien conforming with this code if the decision is not appealed.

2. Before recording the lien, the department director must submit a report to the city manager, or designee, stating the amount due and owing.

3. The department director must then contact the city clerk and arrange a time, date, and place for the city council to consider the report and any protests or objections to it.

4. The department director must serve the responsible person with a hearing notice not less than ten days before the hearing date. The notice must set forth the amount of the delinquent administrative fine, and any penalties and interest that are due. Notice must be delivered via first-class mail, postage prepaid, addressed to each responsible person’s address as it appears on the last equalized assessment roll or supplemental roll of the county of Los Angeles, whichever is more current. Service by mail is effective on the date of mailing and failure of responsible person to actually receive notice does not affect its validity.

5. At the conclusion of the hearing, the city council shall adopt a resolution confirming, discharging, or modifying the lien amount.

C. Recording a Lien. Within thirty days following the city council’s adoption of a resolution imposing a lien, the department director shall file same as a judgment lien in the Los Angeles County recorder’s office. Before recordation of the lien, the city must give notice to the owner of record of the subject parcel in the manner required by Cal. Gov’t Code § 38773.1(b).

D. Administrative Fee. Each responsible person against whose property an assessment is levied pursuant to this chapter shall also be assessed an administrative fee in an amount established by city council resolution based on the costs incurred in levying the assessment. The administrative fee shall be included in the lien amount approved by the city council and recorded against the responsible person’s property.

E. Satisfaction of Lien. Once the city receives full payment for outstanding principal, penalties, and costs, the department director shall either record a notice of satisfaction or provide the responsible person with a notice of satisfaction for recordation at the Los Angeles County recorder’s office. This notice of satisfaction shall cancel the city’s lien. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)

1.50.110 Failure to comply with administrative order.

In the absence of a timely appeal to the superior court, failure to comply with a final administrative order directing the abatement of a continuing violation by the date specified in the order shall be a misdemeanor for each day thereafter, or any portion thereof, that the violation is maintained or permitted. In the event of a timely appeal to the superior court pursuant to PVEMC 1.50.090, and provided the city prevails thereon, each day, or any portion thereof, that a continuing violation is maintained or permitted after a court-ordered abatement date shall be a misdemeanor. Filing a misdemeanor action does not preclude the city from pursuing any other remedies to gain compliance provided in this code or under state law. For purposes of this chapter, a “continuing violation” shall mean a single, ongoing condition or activity in violation of the municipal code. (Ord. 718 § 1, 2016)