Chapter 8.48


8.48.010    Purposes.

8.48.015    Public nuisances designated.

8.48.020    Abatement of nuisance.

8.48.030    Responsibility for abatement.

8.48.040    Notice of hearings for nuisance abatement.

8.48.050    Hearing procedure.

8.48.060    Compliance with abatement order.

8.48.070    City expenses – Record of costs and recovery of attorneys’ fees.

8.48.080    Hearing on the cost of abatement.

8.48.090    Nuisance abatement lien and special assessment procedures.

8.48.100    Graffiti abatement charges.

8.48.110    Order for treble costs of abatement.

8.48.120    Judicial remedies.

8.48.130    Emergency abatement.

Prior legislation: Ords. 536 and 692.

8.48.010 Purposes.

A. In order to further the stated goals of the city and to protect its citizens and their property from conditions which are offensive or annoying to the senses, detrimental to property values and community appearance or hazardous or injurious to the health, safety or welfare of the general public, the city council has determined that this chapter is necessary to effectively abate or prevent the development of such conditions in the city.

B. It is the intention of the city council in adopting this chapter to set forth guidelines for determining what conditions constitute a public nuisance; to establish a method for giving notice of the conditions and an opportunity to correct them; to ensure that public nuisances on public and private property are abated efficiently and expeditiously; and finally, in the event a public nuisance on private property is not abated or corrected, to provide a procedure for a hearing and determination of the facts and manner in which the conditions shall be corrected or removed.

C. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a just, equitable, and practical method, in addition to any other remedy available at law, whereby lands or buildings which are dilapidated, unsafe, dangerous, unsanitary, cluttered with weeds, debris, abandoned vehicles, machinery or equipment, or are a menace or hazard to life, limb, safety, health, morals, property values, aesthetic standards or the general welfare of the city may be required to be repaired, renovated, vacated, demolished, made safe, or cleaned up by removal of offensive conditions.

D. In addition to the abatement procedures provided herein, this chapter declares certain conditions to be public nuisances and that maintenance of such conditions shall be a misdemeanor.

E. This chapter is not intended to enforce conditions, covenants and restrictions (CC&Rs) on property, or to supersede them. This chapter will be enforced uniformly within the city regardless of CC&Rs. Therefore, this chapter does not abrogate the right of any homeowners’ association or private citizen to take actions, legal or as otherwise provided in the CC&Rs, to force compliance with the CC&Rs applicable to the tract or association even though the CC&R provisions may be the same, more restrictive or may not be covered by this chapter. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.015 Public nuisances designated.

It is unlawful, and it is declared to be a public nuisance, for any of the following conditions to be allowed to exist on any property within the city, public or private:

A. Any violation of any provision of PVEMC Title 8, 12, 15, 17, 18, or 19.

B. Land, the topography or configuration of which, in any manmade state, whether as a result of grading operations, excavations, fill, or other alteration, interferes with the established drainage pattern over the property or from adjoining or other properties which does or may result in erosion, subsidence or surface water drainage programs of such magnitude as to be injurious to public health, safety and welfare or to neighboring properties.

C. Buildings or structures which are partially destroyed, abandoned or permitted to remain in a state of partial construction without any substantial construction activity taking place for more than six months after the issuance of a building permit.

D. The failure to secure and maintain from public access all doorways, windows and other openings into vacant or abandoned buildings or structures.

E. Painted buildings and walls, retaining walls, fences or structures that require repainting, or buildings, walls, fences or structures upon which the condition of the paint has become so deteriorated as to permit decay, excessive checking, cracking, peeling, chalking, dry rot, warping or termite infestation.

F. Broken windows.

G. Any overgrown, dead, decayed, diseased or hazardous tree, weeds, vegetation or debris which:

1. May harbor rats, vermin or other disease carriers;

2. Is maintained so as to cause an obstruction to the vision of motorists or a hazardous condition to pedestrians or vehicle traffic;

3. Creates a dangerous condition or constitutes an attractive nuisance;

4. Is detrimental to the appearance of the neighboring properties or substantially detracts from the appearance of the immediate neighborhood or reduces or has the potential to reduce the property values in the immediate neighborhood; or

5. Constitutes a fire hazard.

H. Building exterior, roofs, landscaping, grounds, walls, retaining and crib walls, fences, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks or walkways which are maintained in such condition so as to become defective, unsightly or no longer viable.

I. The accumulation of dirt, litter, feces, or debris in doorways, adjoining sidewalks, parking lots, landscaped or other areas.

J. Lumber, junk, trash, garbage, salvage materials, rubbish, hazardous waste, refuse, rubble, broken asphalt or concrete, containers, broken or neglected machinery, furniture, appliances, sinks, fixtures or equipment, scrap metals, machinery parts, or other such material stored or deposited on property such that they are visible from a public street, alley or neighboring property.

K. Deteriorated parking lots or driveways, including those containing potholes or cracks large enough to pose a hazard to pedestrians or to detract from the appearance of the immediate neighborhood.

L. Abandoned, broken or neglected equipment and machinery, pools, ponds, excavations, abandoned wells, shafts, basements or other holes, abandoned refrigerators or other appliances, abandoned motor vehicles (i.e., any mobile vehicle or trailer which is inoperable or in storage, except as permitted under Chapter 8.40 PVEMC, visible from the street or an adjacent property), any unsound structures, skateboard ramps, or accumulated lumber, trash, garbage, debris or vegetation which may reasonably attract children or others to such abandoned or neglected conditions.

M. Construction equipment, buses, tow trucks, dump trucks, flatbed trucks, grading equipment, tractors, tractor trailers, truck trailers, or any other commercial vehicle over twenty-five feet long or eight feet in height or ninety inches wide, supplies, materials, or machinery of any type or description, parked or stored upon any street or property within a residential zone. “Commercial vehicle,” for the purposes of this section, shall be defined as any motorized or nonmotorized vehicle used or maintained to transport property or goods for profit, or persons for hire or compensation. Any transportation by the person owning, leasing, occupying or having charge of any such vehicle shall be excluded from the provisions of this subsection.

N. Construction debris storage bins stored in excess of fifteen days on a public street or any front or side yard setback area without the express approval of the public works director or which fail to have affixed reflectors which satisfy the minimum standards of the department of public works.

O. Unapproved signs or signs improperly maintained which pose a threat to safety or have become unsightly so as to detract from the appearance of the immediate neighborhood.

P. Any front yard, parkway, or landscaped setback area which lacks turf, other planted material, decorative rock, bark or planted groundcover.

Q. Any condition of vegetation overgrowth which encroaches into, over or upon any public right-of-way including, but not limited to, streets, alleys, or sidewalks, so as to constitute either a danger to the public safety or property or any impediment to public travel.

R. Use of parked or stored recreational vehicles, as defined in PVEMC 8.40.030, as temporary or permanent living space.

S. Animals, livestock, poultry, bees or reptiles kept, bred or maintained for any purpose and in violation of PVEMC Title 6.

T. Any habitation which is overcrowded, as defined by the Uniform Housing Code, or which lacks adequate ventilation, sanitation or plumbing facilities, or which constitutes a fire hazard.

U. Any other condition declared by any state, county or city statute, code or regulation to be a public nuisance.

V. Trailers, campers, boats or motor vehicles present on vacant property or in any yard of developed lots except as may be permitted pursuant to Chapter 8.40 PVEMC. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.020 Abatement of nuisance.

All or any part of a use or the condition of any property, including, without limitation, any use or improvement found to constitute a public nuisance, will be abated by rehabilitation, demolition, repair, cessation of use or a combination thereof, or in such other manner as designated in a nuisance abatement order, which is reasonably required to abate the public nuisance, pursuant to the procedures set forth in this chapter. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.030 Responsibility for abatement.

Whenever the city manager, or designee, reasonably believes a public nuisance exists, the city manager, or designee, may commence abatement proceedings under this chapter. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.040 Notice of hearings for nuisance abatement.

A. Notices. To initiate abatement proceedings, the city manager, or designee, will cause written notice to be mailed and conspicuously posted on the property containing a nuisance. Notice will be titled in letters at least one inch in height and read substantially as follows:

Notice of Public Nuisance Hearing

On ____________, 20__, the City Council of the City of Palos Verdes Estates will hold a public hearing to determine whether this property known and designated as ____________, constitutes a public nuisance. If this property is found to constitute a public nuisance as defined by the Palos Verdes Estates Municipal Code (“PVEMC”), and if the public nuisance is not promptly abated by the responsible person as ordered by the hearing officer, then the City will abate the nuisance. If the City abates the nuisance, the cost of these proceedings, all previous code enforcement efforts concerning this condition of the property, and the cleaning, clearing, rehabilitation, repair, or demolition by the City will constitute a special assessment and a Nuisance Abatement Lien upon such land until paid. The City may foreclose on any such lien in order to reimburse the City for these costs.

The alleged violations consist of the following: ____________________________________

The methods of abatement available are: ____________________________________

All persons having any objection to, or interest in, said matters should attend the City Council hearing to be held in the Council Chamber at Palos Verdes Estates City Hall, located at 340 Palos Verdes Drive West, Palos Verdes Estates, California, on _____, at the hour of ___ a.m./p.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard, when their testimony and evidence will be heard and given due consideration.

Dated: ____________

City Manager

B. Mailing/Posting. Notice of the hearing will be served by posting on the subject property in a conspicuous location and by registered or certified mail (postage fully prepaid) addressed to the owner of the property at the address appearing on the last equalized assessment roll or the supplemental roll, whichever is more current before the hearing notice is mailed. The notice will be posted on the property and mailed at least fifteen days before the hearing date. Proof of posting and mailing will be by declaration. Failure of any person to receive the notice will not affect the validity of any provision set forth in this chapter. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.050 Hearing procedure.

A. The hearing will be conducted by the city council. At the time set for such hearing, the city council will conduct a hearing to determine, based upon the evidence presented, whether a public nuisance exists on the subject property. At the hearing, the city council will accept evidence from any person if such evidence bears on the issue of whether a public nuisance exists on the subject property. The city council is authorized to take testimony and is authorized to administer oaths or affirmations under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2093(a). Based upon the evidence submitted, including, without limitation, any written staff reports regarding the alleged nuisance, the city council will determine whether or not a public nuisance exists on the subject property. If a public nuisance is found to exist, the city council shall issue an order requiring abatement of the public nuisance within a reasonable time and manner as set forth in the order.

B. The city council’s decision shall be by resolution, which shall contain the informal findings of the council upon which the determination of nuisance is based, an order requiring abatement of the nuisance, a description of the actions necessary to abate the nuisance, and a deadline for completion of the nuisance abatement activities. The city council’s decision is final. Any property owner shall have the right to have the nuisance, as declared, abated, provided the same is completed prior to the expiration of the period of time set forth in said resolution. The time set for abatement, upon good cause shown, may be extended for a reasonable time by the council. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.060 Compliance with abatement order.

At no cost to the city, the responsible person will comply with all of the provisions of an abatement order. If the responsible person fails, for any reason, to comply with an abatement order within the time required in the order, the city manager, or designee, will cause the nuisance described in the abatement order to be abated by city forces or by private contractor. The city attorney is authorized to take such action as needed to gain entry upon the property where the public nuisance exists for purposes of abating a public nuisance. Upon obtaining an abatement warrant, the city manager, or designee, is expressly authorized to allow city forces or a private contractor to enter upon the premises for the purpose of abating the nuisance in the manner herein provided and consistent with the terms of the abatement warrant. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.070 City expenses – Record of costs and recovery of attorneys’ fees.

A. The city manager or designee will keep an account of the costs, including incidental expenses, of abating the nuisance on each separate lot or parcel of land where the work is done. The term “incidental expenses” includes but is not limited to the actual expenses and costs of the city in preparation of notices, specifications and contracts, inspection of the work, and the cost of printing and mailing required under this chapter, and any attorneys’ fees expended in the abatement of the nuisance, through civil action or otherwise. The city attorney shall be responsible for keeping an accounting of attorneys’ fees and costs and transmitting the same to the manager.

B. In any action, administrative proceeding or special proceeding to abate a nuisance brought pursuant to this code, the prevailing party may recover attorneys’ fees. The recovery of attorneys’ fees by the prevailing party is limited to those individual actions or proceedings in which the city elects, at the initiation of that individual action or proceeding, to seek recovery of its own attorneys’ fees. In no action, administrative proceeding, or special proceeding shall an award of attorneys’ fees to a prevailing party exceed the amount of reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the city in the action or proceeding. (Ord. 712 § 1, 2014; Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.080 Hearing on the cost of abatement.

A. The city manager or designee will give notice of the cost of abatement by registered or certified mail (postage fully prepaid) addressed to the owner of the property at the address appearing on the last equalized assessment roll or the supplemental roll, whichever is more current before mailing of the cost notice. The cost notice will include a statement of the hearing rights of the property owner concerning the cost of abatement. If, within fifteen days after the mailing of the cost notice, the property owner requests a hearing on the issue of the cost of the abatement, a hearing on the matter will be scheduled before the city council.

B. Notice of the hearing will be mailed at least ten days before the hearing by registered or certified mail to the property owner. The city council may, by resolution, either confirm the cost of abatement or modify such amount. The decision of the city council is final. The city manager or designee will give notice of the council’s decision on the cost of abatement by registered or certified mail to the property owner. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.090 Nuisance abatement lien and special assessment procedures.

A. Lien. Pursuant to Cal. Gov. Code §§ 38773, 38773.1, and 38773.5, and any successor statutes, persons failing to abate a public nuisance as ordered pursuant to this chapter will be obligated to pay all city expenses of abating the nuisance and all administrative costs associated therewith. A nuisance abatement lien in favor of the city for such expenses will be created and recorded pursuant to this section against the property on which the nuisance is maintained. The notice of lien for recordation shall be in a form substantially as follows:


Claim of the City of Palos Verdes Estates

Pursuant to Chapter 8.48 of the Palos Verdes Estates Municipal Code, the property hereinafter described was lawfully declared a public nuisance by resolution of the City Council of the City of Palos Verdes Estates dated ____________, 2___. The City has since caused the nuisance to be abated. The City Council, on the ____ day of ____________, 2___, assessed the cost of such abatement upon the property and the same has not been paid nor any part thereof. The City of Palos Verdes Estates does hereby claim a lien for such abatement in the amount of $______, and the same shall be a lien upon the real property until paid in full and discharged of record.

The real property hereinabove mentioned, and upon which a lien is claimed, is that certain parcel of land lying and being entirely within the City of Palos Verdes Estates, County of Los Angeles, State of California, particularly described as follows:

[legal description]

Dated: This ____ day of ____________, 2___.

B. Notice of Proposed Recordings. An itemized notice of the lien amount and proposed recording will be sent by certified mail to the property owner of record, based on the last equalized assessment roll or the supplemental roll, whichever is more current, at least ten days before recording the lien. The notice will be served in the same manner as a summons in a civil action in accordance with Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 415.10 et seq. If the owner of record, after diligent search, cannot be found, the notice may be served by posting a copy thereof in a conspicuous place upon the property for a period of ten days, and publication thereof in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county in which the property is located.

C. Recording. The city’s nuisance abatement lien will then be recorded in the Los Angeles County recorder’s office and, from the date of recording, will have the force, effect, and priority of a judgment lien.

D. Special Assessment. The city’s total costs described in this section may also be collected as a special assessment against the lot or parcel on which the nuisance existed. After recordation of the nuisance abatement lien the city may provide a copy of the notice of proposed recordation, proof of service, and the recorded lien to the tax collector, and the tax collector will add the described special assessment payments to the next regular tax bill levied against the respective lots or parcels, and the amounts will be collected and subject to the same penalties and the same procedure under foreclosure and sale as in the case of tax delinquencies. However, if any real property to which the cost of abatement relates has been transferred or conveyed to a bona fide purchaser for value, or if a lien of a bona fide encumbrance for value has been created and attached thereon, before the date on which the first installment of the taxes would become delinquent, then the cost of abatement will not result in a lien against the real property but instead will be transferred to the unsecured roll for collection.

E. Satisfaction. In the event that the lien or special assessment is discharged, released, or satisfied, either through payment or foreclosure, a notice of the discharge containing the information specified in the lien will be recorded by the city.

F. Fees. Any fees incurred by the city for processing, recording of the lien and providing notice to the property owner may be recovered by the city as part of its foreclosure action to enforce the lien. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.100 Graffiti abatement charges.

A. The abatement and related administrative costs incurred by the city in abating any nuisance resulting from the defacement of private or public property by graffiti or any other inscribed material shall be:

1. A personal obligation of any minor creating, causing or committing the nuisance; and/or

2. A personal obligation of the parent or guardian having custody and control of that minor; and/or

3. A special assessment against any parcel of land owned by that minor; and/or

4. A special assessment against any parcel of land owned by the parent or guardian having custody and control of that minor.

B. The procedures for determining, imposing, and collecting a special assessment pursuant to subsection A of this section shall be those set forth in this chapter.

C. For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth in this subsection:

“Abatement and related administrative costs” include, but are not limited to, court costs, attorney’s fees, costs of removal of the graffiti or other inscribed material, costs of repair and replacement of defaced property, and the law enforcement costs incurred by the city in identifying and apprehending the minor.

“Graffiti or other inscribed material” means any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, mark or design that is written, marked, etched, scratched, drawn or painted on any real or personal property.

“Minor” means a minor who has confessed to, admitted to, or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a violation of Cal. Pen. Code § 594, 594.3, 640.5, 640.6 or 640.7, or a minor convicted by final judgment of a violation of Cal. Pen. Code § 594, 594.3, 640.5, 640.6 or 640.7, or a minor declared a ward of the juvenile court pursuant to Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 602 by reason of the commission of an act prohibited by Cal. Pen. Code § 594, 594.3, 640.5, 640.6 or 640.7.

D. This section shall not be deemed to preclude recovery of the costs of abating a nuisance resulting from graffiti from any other person who may be responsible for such costs under law. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012; Ord. 692 § 1, 2009; Ord. 585 § 1, 1995; Ord. 536 § 1, 1991)

8.48.110 Order for treble costs of abatement.

Upon entry of a second or subsequent civil or criminal judgment within a two-year period finding that an owner of property is responsible for a condition that may be abated in accordance with this chapter, except conditions abated pursuant to Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 17980, the court may order the owner to pay treble the costs of the abatement. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.120 Judicial remedies.

A. Nothing in this chapter will be deemed to prevent the city attorney from:

1. Commencing a civil action in the superior court to enforce all or any of the provisions of any abatement order;

2. Commencing a civil action to abate a public nuisance as an alternative to or in conjunction with an administrative proceeding pursuant to this chapter;

3. Filing a civil action to recover the amount of a confirmed accounting from an owner or occupant of the lot to which it relates; or

4. Filing a criminal action to enforce this code.

B. Where a civil action is filed, if the court issues an order or a judgment which finds a public nuisance to exist, and orders or approves the abatement of the public nuisance, or where the court validates an accounting, the court will also award the city its actual costs of abatement, including, without limitation, reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the city in such judicial proceeding. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)

8.48.130 Emergency abatement.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, whenever the city manager, or designee, determines that a public nuisance, as defined in this chapter, or in any other applicable law, exists upon a lot, and that such public nuisance constitutes an immediate threat or hazard or danger to persons or property, the city manager, without observing procedures set forth in this chapter with reference to public nuisance abatement, will forthwith immediately cause the abatement of such public nuisance in such manner as the city manager, or designee, determines is reasonably required. If the city manager, or designee, deems it feasible, the city manager, or designee, will attempt to give the owner and occupant verbal notice of the existence of the public nuisance, and the proposed timing and method of abatement thereof. The city manager will, forthwith, report such circumstances to the city council. Where such abatement is ordered by the city manager, the person abating such nuisance will, after completing the abatement of the public nuisance, comply with the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 701 § 2 (Exh. 1), 2012)