Chapter 24.04


24.04.010    Purpose.

24.04.020    Decision-making bodies and officials.

24.04.030    Types of permits and other actions authorized by this title.

24.04.040    Environmental review.

24.04.050    Permit application, submittal and processing.

24.04.051    Requirements for preparers.

24.04.052    Completeness of application.

24.04.060    Time limits.

24.04.070    Fees – Applications or appeals – Penalties.

24.04.080    Conditions of application approval.

24.04.090    Public hearing requirement.

24.04.100    Notice of hearing.

24.04.101    Required public notice.

24.04.110    Continuance of hearing.

24.04.120    Findings required.

24.04.130    Decision-making body with final authority on application approval.

24.04.140    Effective date of actions.

24.04.150    Multiple permit processing and action.

24.04.160    Life of permit.

24.04.165    Application withdrawal – Procedure.

24.04.170    Resubmittal of denied or withdrawn applications.

24.04.175    City council review.

24.04.180    Appeal procedure.

24.04.181    Where to file appeals.

24.04.182    Procedure for appeals.

24.04.183    Notice of appeal.

24.04.184    Stay, pending appeal.

24.04.185    Hearing on appeal.

24.04.186    Appeals to Coastal Commission.

24.04.187    Emergency permits.

24.04.188    Occupancy permits.

24.04.190    Limitation of actions attacking decisions.

24.04.200    Court action – Burden of proof.

24.04.210    Enforcement authority.

24.04.212    Deed restrictions.

24.04.214    Issuance of permit.

24.04.220    Administrative enforcement – Investigations.

24.04.221    Stop orders.

24.04.222    Zoning enforcement hearing.

24.04.223    Procedure for zoning enforcement hearings.

24.04.224    Notice of violation.

24.04.225    Revocation of zoning permits.

24.04.226    Cumulative remedies.

24.04.230    Administration – Judicial enforcement.

24.04.240    Administration – Coastal permit enforcement.

24.04.250    Violations.

24.04.010 PURPOSE.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish the procedures required for the administration of this title and to set forth the basic responsibilities of the officials and bodies charged with its administration. This chapter of the Zoning Ordinance is also part of the Local Coastal Implementation Plan.

(Ord. 94-33 § 1, 1994: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


The following decision-making bodies and officials are hereby established or designated to administer the provisions of this title:

1.    Zoning Administrator. In order to carry out the purposes of this title, to aid in its enforcement, and to relieve hearing bodies, such as the planning commission, of certain routine and nonpolicy functions, there is hereby created within the planning department the office of the zoning administrator and the title of zoning administrator. The planning director shall appoint the zoning administrator and such deputies to the zoning administrator as may be required to fulfill the purposes of this title. Wherever reference is made to the zoning administrator, this shall mean deputy zoning administrator(s) as well.

2.    Building Official. There is hereby created, within the inspection services division of the planning department, the position of building official. The city manager shall appoint the building official and assign such duties to the building official as may be required to fulfill the purposes of this title and Title 18.

3.    Planning Commission. The planning commission, established by Chapter 2.40, shall perform the functions specified by the city council.

4.    Historic Preservation Commission. The historic preservation commission, established by Chapter 2.40, shall perform the functions specified by the city council.

5.    City Council. The city council shall perform such functions as may be set forth in the City Charter or this title.

(Ord. 2016-11 § 1, 2016: Ord. 94-33 § 2, 1994; Ord. 87-10 §2, 1987; Ord. 86-13 § 1, 1986: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


The following permits and actions are established in order to carry out the purposes and requirements of this title:

1.    Appeals;

2.    Coastal permit;

3.    Conditional driveway permit;

4.    Conditional fence permit;

5.    Conservation regulations modifications (in the Coastal Zone only);

6.    Design permit;

7.    Demolition/conversion permit:

a.    Demolition authorization permit for residential structures;

b.    Historic demolition permit;

8.    Extension of permits;

9.    Historic building survey – building designation and deletion;

10.    Historic alteration permit;

a.    Administrative historic alteration permit;

11.    Historic landmark designation;

12.    Mobile homes: certificate of compatibility;

13.    Mobile home park conversion;

14.    Planned development permit;

15.    Relocation permit;

16.    Revocation of permits;

17.    Signs:

a.    Design permit (for signs);

b.    Building permit (for signs);

c.    Sign permit – public art exception;

18.    Slope development permit (outside the Coastal Zone);

19.    Use permit:

a.    Administrative use permit, for uses requiring an administrative use permit plus the following:

(1)    Any earth-disturbing activity on known archaeological sites;

b.    Special use permit, for uses requiring a special use permit;

20.    Variance;

21.    Watercourse development permit;

22.    Watercourse variance;

23.    Zoning ordinance and General Plan text/map amendments;

24.    Project modifications, pursuant to Section 24.04.160(4)(b).

(Ord. 2022-08 § 2, 2022; Ord. 2008-17 § 2 (part), 2008: Ord. 2006-02 § 1 (part), 2006: Ord. 99-17 § 1, 1999; Ord. 94-33 § 3, 1994: Ord. 86-13 § 1, 1986: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


The California Environmental Quality Act of 1970 (CEQA) and City Guidelines, as amended, require environmental review of all projects which must obtain discretionary approval from the city. The intent of the review process is to evaluate and make publicly known the possible impacts of proposed projects on the environment and to mitigate significant adverse impacts. Each project is evaluated by planning department staff according to CEQA guidelines and a determination made whether additional environmental review is required.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


Application for any permit shall be made by the property owner, or his/her authorized agent, to the zoning administrator on forms prescribed for the purpose. Alternatively, where a property developer has entered into an owner participation agreement or a disposition and development agreement with the redevelopment agency of the city of Santa Cruz for development of property for which the developer has yet to secure site control, the redevelopment agency may make the permit application if the subject agreement provides for the redevelopment agency’s acquisition of the property on the developer’s behalf. The application shall include information as may be necessary for adequate review of the application. A list of such information is set forth on the application form.

(Ord. 96-30 § 1, 1996: Ord. 88-57 § 2, 1988: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


Where required by state law, plans and specifications submitted for any development project permit application shall contain certification that the preparer is licensed to prepare such plans under Chapter 3 of Division 3 of the California Business and Professions Code. The following projects are exempt from this requirement:

1.    Single-family dwellings of wood-frame construction not more than two stories and basement in height.

2.    Multiple-family dwellings containing not more than four dwelling units of wood-frame construction not more than two stories and basement in height. However, this paragraph shall not be construed as allowing an unlicensed person to design multiple clusters of up to four dwelling units each to form apartment or condominium complexes where the total exceeds four units on any lawfully divided lot.

3.    Garages or other structures appurtenant to buildings described under subsections (1) and (2), of wood-frame construction not more than two stories and basement in height.

4.    Agricultural and ranch buildings of wood-frame construction, unless the building official having jurisdiction deems that an undue risk to the public health, safety, or welfare is involved.

(Ord. 88-57 § 3, 1988: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


1.    Staff shall determine whether an application for a development project is complete within thirty days of submittal and shall notify the applicant in writing when additional information is required. The notification shall set forth what is necessary to complete the application.

2.    When the applicant submits additional information, a new thirty-day period is established. Within that time staff shall determine whether the application is complete. The applicant shall be advised in writing when the application remains incomplete and how to complete the application.

3.    Failure to supply written notice of incompleteness within the time specified shall result in an application being deemed complete, if the applicant includes a statement that it is an application for a development permit.

4.    An applicant and staff may mutually agree, in writing, to extend any of the time limits relative to determination of completeness of a permit application for a development project.

5.    An applicant may appeal the determination of incompleteness described in Section 24.04.052(2) to the zoning board. No public hearing shall be required for an appeal under this subsection.

6.    If an application is not accepted by the city as complete within one hundred eighty (180) days of submission, it shall be automatically denied without prejudice on that day. No application shall be processed if it is deemed incomplete.

7.    In cases where a criminal complaint has been filed to enforce compliance with the provisions of this chapter, the time line for filing a complete application shall be at the discretion of the city and may be less than one hundred eighty days, but must be a minimum of thirty days.

(Ord. 94-33 § 4, 1994: Ord. 88-57 § 4, 1988).

24.04.060 TIME LIMITS.

All complete applications shall be acted upon in accordance with established schedules, but in no case shall applications for development projects receive a final action later than one year for projects requiring an EIR and six months for projects with a negative declaration or an exemption from Division 13 (Section 21000 et seq.) of the Public Resources Code unless an extension is granted according to the provisions of state law. A routine waiver of the above time limits may be required to provide for concurrent processing of related approvals. Legislative acts, such as General Plan and zoning amendments, are not subject to this section.

If an applicant has provided required public notice, the time limits shall be extended to sixty days from the date the notice is provided.

The city has adopted procedures which indicate probable processing times.

In the event the city fails to take a final action on a development project within the time limits set forth in this section, the permit shall be deemed approved only if the prescribed public notice requirements have been met.

(Ord. 88-57 § 5, 1988).


For the purpose of reimbursing the city for administration of this title, the city council shall, by resolution, from time to time fix the amount of fees and penalties to be charged for processing all applications and appeals provided for in this title.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


Decision-making bodies may require changes to applications and/or impose conditions of approval in order to effect the policies of the General Plan and the purpose of this title.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


A public hearing shall be required for the following:

1.    Appeals;

2.    Coastal permit except for an accessory dwelling unit;

3.    Conditional fence permit when required by Section 24.08.620;

4.    Design permit:

a.    When accompanying another permit requiring a public hearing or upon a zoning administrator determination that a public hearing is required;

b.    For new two-story structures and/or second-story additions on substandard residential lots;

c.    For large homes in R-1 Districts per Section 24.08.450;

5.    Demolitions: residential, except for a single-family residence, and historical buildings;

6.    Historic building survey: building designation, deletion;

7.    Historic landmark alteration permit;

8.    Historic landmark designation;

9.    Mobile home park conversion;

10.    Planned development permit;

11.    Slope development permit (on or within twenty feet of a fifty percent or greater slope) outside the Coastal Zone;

12.    Relocation of structures;

13.    Revocation of permits;

14.    Use permits:

a.    Administrative use permit, except when the proposed use is temporary, as defined in this title; for variations to parking design requirements and number of spaces; and half baths in accessory structures;

b.    Special use permit (including historic district/historic landmark use permit);

15.    Variance;

16.    Watercourse variance;

17.    Project modifications, pursuant to Section 24.04.160(4)(c);

18.    Zoning ordinance and General Plan text and map amendments.

(Ord. 2022-08 § 2, 2022; Ord. 2020-22 § 1, 2020; Ord. 2008-17 § 2 (part), 2008: Ord. 2006-02 § 1 (part), 2006: Ord. 2003-17 § 9, 2003; Ord. 2003-16 § 9, 2003: Ord. 94-34 § 1, 1994: Ord. 89-19 § 1, 1989: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


When a land use permit, or other matter requires a public hearing, the public shall be provided notice of the hearing in compliance with state law (Government Code Sections 65090, 65091, 65094 and 650951.3 and Public Resources Code 21000 et seq.) and as required by this section.

(a)    Method of Notice Distribution. When a hearing for an entitlement, zoning map amendment or appeal is required, notice shall be given not less than fourteen calendar days prior to said public hearing in the following manner:

1.    Mailing – Notice shall be mailed by first class United States mail service, to:

a.    The owner(s) of the property or authorized agent, and the applicant(s);

b.    All property owners as shown on the county’s latest equalized property tax assessment roll and tenants within a three-hundred-foot radius of the site’s boundaries;

c.    Persons who have requested in writing to be on a mailing list for specific projects;

d.    District office of Coastal Commission for coastal permits only.

2.    Newspaper – Notice shall be given in a newspaper of general circulation.

3.    On-site posting – Notice shall be posted in the following manner:

a.    For corner lots, signs shall be posted on each street frontage;

b.    The sign(s) shall be located in a conspicuous place on the property abutting the public right-of-way not more than ten feet inside the property line;

c.    Each sign shall comply with the following:

i.    For development of lots less than twenty thousand square feet or of tenant space of sixteen thousand square feet and less, the sign shall be a minimum of seventeen inches by twenty-two inches;

ii.    The sign, in most cases, shall be nailed or stapled to a stick provided by the city, however, other alternatives may be approved by the zoning administrator. The sign may be posted in windows or on a building when there is an existing structure on site that is not setback from the public right-of-way;

iii.    For development of lots of twenty thousand square feet and greater or of tenant space greater than sixteen thousand square feet, the sign shall be twelve square feet in sign area, generally measuring three feet by four feet;

iv.    The sign, in most cases, will be attached with supporting elements made of four inch by four inch wood posts, however, other alternatives may be approved by the zoning administrator;

v.    To ensure consistency in appearance and information on the sign, each size sign would be printed on card stock by the city and given to the owner or authorized agent/applicant for posting. The style and color of the signs shall be approved by the zoning administrator;

vi.    The sign shall not exceed six feet in height from the ground level; provided, that if the property is surrounded by fences, walls, or hedges at or near the street property line, additional height may be provided as necessary to ensure visibility of the sign from the property right-of-way;

vii.    The sign shall not be illuminated;

viii.    The sign shall include all the factual information about the pending application in compliance with subsection (f) of this section (Contents of Notice), listed below;

ix.    A building permit shall not be required for the posting of a sign, installed in compliance with this section;

x.    The sign shall remain in place until the expiration of the appeal period following a decision by the review authority. If the application has been appealed or called for review, the sign shall be reposted according to this title with the new hearing date and remain until the final decision is rendered. The sign shall be removed after the appeal period has been completed or final decision, whichever applies;

xi.    The property owner or authorized agent/applicant shall submit to the zoning administrator an affidavit and photo verifying that the sign was posted on the subject site in a timely manner in compliance with this section;

xii.    Failure to post the sign, to include the required information, or to comply with applicable placement, graphic standards or requirements may result in the delay of the required public hearing;

xiii.    The property owner or authorized agent/applicant is responsible for reporting to the zoning administrator the theft or damage of the sign. While the sign may be replaced, the theft or damage of the sign shall not be the sole reason to delay a public hearing;

(b)    Alternative to Mailing. If the number of property owners to whom notice would be mailed in compliance with subsection (a)(1), above, is more than one thousand properties, the zoning administrator may choose to provide alternative notice allowed by state law (Government Code Section 65091(a)(3)).

(c)    Additional Optional Notice. In addition to the types of notice required in by subsections (a) and (b), above, the zoning administrator may provide additional noticing with content or using a distribution method as the zoning administrator determines is necessary or desirable (e.g., use of a greater radius for noticing, greater number of signs, larger signs, use of the Internet, neighborhood groups, etc.).

(d)    Noticing of Amendments. In the case of a text amendment to the General Plan or Zoning Ordinance initiated by the city, notice shall be by publication in a newspaper of general circulation only not less than fourteen calendar days prior to said public hearing.

(e)    Noticing of Drive-Through Facilities. Whenever a public hearing is held regarding a permit for a drive-through facility, or modification of an existing drive-through facility permit, the city shall provide notice to the blind, aged, and disabled communities in order to facilitate their participation in any hearing on or appeal of a drive-through facility.

(f)    Contents of Notice. Notice of a public hearing shall include:

1.    Hearing Information. The date, time, place and purpose of the hearing, the name of the hearing body, and the phone number, street address and office hours of the department where an interested person could call or visit to obtain additional information.

2.    Project Information. The name of the applicant; the city’s project case number assigned to the application; a general explanation of the matter to be considered; a general description, in text and/or diagram, of the location of the property that is subject to the hearing; a statement whether the application is within the Coastal Zone; and the procedure for appealing coastal permits, if applicable.

3.    Statement on Environmental Document. If a negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration, environmental impact report (EIR) has been prepared for the project, or if the project has been determined to be exempt, in compliance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the city’s Environmental Guidelines, the hearing notice shall include a statement that the hearing body will also consider approval of the environmental determination.

(g)    Failure to Receive Notice. The failure of any person or entity to receive notice pursuant to this title shall not constitute grounds for any court to invalidate the actions of the city for which notice was given.

(Ord. 2006-08 § 1, 2006: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


An applicant may provide required public notice no earlier than sixty days from the expiration of the time limits set forth in Section 24.04.060 if the applicant has provided seven days’ advance written notice to the city of the intent to provide public notice. The notice shall follow the format established by the city in Section 24.04.100 and a statement that the project shall be deemed approved if the city has not acted within sixty days.

(Ord. 88-57 § 6, 1988).


The hearing body, on its own motion, may continue a hearing from time to time. Where an applicant so chooses, he/she may request that their project be acted upon rather than continued.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


Prior to action on any permit application, the hearing body shall make findings with respect to the manner in which the proposed project conforms to the appropriate requirements, as outlined in this title.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


The following table indicates the decision-making body who can approve, deny or conditionally approve an application, whether or not a public hearing is required, and the bodies to which appeals can be made:

1.    The planning commission and city council may refer certain aspects of any application to the zoning administrator for final action.

2.    The zoning administrator may refer any of the matters on which he/she is authorized to act to the planning commission or historic preservation commission.

3.    Recommendations for approval on General Plan matters and zoning ordinance text and map amendments shall require a majority vote of the planning commission; all other actions shall require a majority of the hearing body present at the meeting.


Public Hearing Requirement and Decision-Making Body Which Can Approve an Application

No Public Hearing

Public Hearing

Appeal Bodies (in order)




Coastal Permit




Administrative Use Permit: Large Family Daycare Homes, Temporary Uses, and half baths in accessory buildings



Administrative Use Permit: Variations to parking design requirements or variations to number of required spaces





Other uses as listed by individual zoning districts as requiring an Administrative Use Permit



Conditional Driveway Permit



Conditional Fence Permit




Slope Regulations Modifications (Variance) in the Coastal Zone





Slope Development Permit (on or within 20 feet of a 50% or greater slope) outside the Coastal Zone





Slope Regulations Modifications (Design Permit) in the Coastal Zone





Slope Development Permit (on or within 20 feet of a slope greater than or equal to 30% and less than 50%) outside the Coastal Zone



Design Permit



Substandard lots: new two-story structures and second-story additions, excluding ADUs



Large homes per Section 24.08.450



Wireless telecommunications facilities




New structures or improvements to existing structures in the WCD Overlay which are exempt or excluded from coastal permit requirements



New structures or improvements to existing structures in the WCD Overlay which require a coastal permit



Demolition Permit

1. Single-family residential



2. Multifamily residential



3. Historic demolition permit



4. Nonresidential




General Plan Text and Map Amendments



Historic Alteration Permit



Administrative Historic Alteration Permit



Historic Building Survey:

Building designation, deletion



Historic District Designation



Historic Landmark Designation



Mobile Homes (Certificate of Compatibility)



Mobile Home Park Conversion



Outdoor Extension Areas per Section 24.12.192



Planned Development Permit



Project (Major) Modification

Hearing by ZA or body approving application

Appeal to next highest body(ies)

Project (Minor) Modification



Relocation of Structures Permit



Revocation Permit

Hearing by ZA or body approving application

Appeal to next highest body(ies)

Sign Permit



Special Use Permit






Watercourse Variance



Watercourse Development Permit



Zoning Ordinance Text and Map Amendments:





Amendments recommended by CPC





Amendments not recommended by CPC





CCC = California Coastal Commission CC = City Council CPC = City Planning Commission

HPC = Historic Preservation Commission ZA = Zoning Administrator

*    For projects seaward of the mean high tide line, and in the case of appealable actions, the California Coastal Commission shall be the decision-making body which can finally approve an application. In the coastal zone, all proposed accessory dwelling units shall require a coastal permit (unless they are exempt or excluded from coastal permit requirements) and shall be processed in the manner described in Chapter 24.04 and Section 24.08.200 et seq., (including in terms of public noticing and process for appeal to the Coastal Commission) except that no public hearing shall be required. In addition to all other applicable LCP requirements, standards for ADUs in the coastal zone are specified in Section 24.12.140(10).

**    Such permits shall be issued administratively, without a public hearing, unless a cultural resources evaluation, prepared by a qualified consultant as determined by the zoning administrator, determines that the building or structure is eligible for listing on the city historic building survey.

***    California Coastal Commission in case of CLUP policy, CLIP elements.

****    At a regularly scheduled meeting, a majority of the council may take an action to direct any project or amendment to be called from a lower hearing body prior to a final action or during an appeal period in accordance with Section 24.04.175(2).

(Ord. 2022-08 § 2, 2022; Ord. 2022-07 § 7, 2022; Ord. 2021-15 § 1, 2021; Ord. 2020-22 § 2, 2020; Ord. 2019-03 § 1, 2019; Ord. 2016-11 § 2, 2016: Ord. 2016-04 § 1, 2016: Ord. 2012-19 § 6 (part), 2012; Ord. 2012-06 § 1, 2012: Ord. 2008-17 § 2 (part), 2008: Ord. 2006-02 § 1 (part), 2006: Ord. 2004-27 § 3, 2004: Ord. 2004-02 § 6, 2004: Ord. 2003-17 § 10, 2003: Ord. 2003-16 § 10, 2003: Ord. 2000-27 § 1, 2000: Ord. 99-17 § 2, 1999: Ord. 94-34 § 2, 1994: Ord. 94-33 § 5, 1994: Ord. 91-14 § 1, 1991; Ord. 90-09 § 1, 1990; Ord. 86-12 § 1, 1986: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


The effective date of permits or any authorized action depends on whether such action can be appealed.

1.    All Permits Except Coastal Permits. All permits or authorized actions subject to appeal shall take effect ten calendar days after said action, unless appealed.

2.    Coastal Permits. The coastal permit shall take effect ten calendar days after it is approved, unless it is appealable. Where the action on the coastal permit is appealable to the Coastal Commission, it shall become effective after the ten working day appeal period to the Commission has expired unless appealed to the State Coastal Commission. The appeal period shall begin upon Coastal Commission receipt of the notice of final action listed in Section 24.08.260.

3.    Zoning Ordinance Text and Map Amendments. Zoning Ordinance text and zoning map amendments shall become effective as specified in the ordinance authorizing the amendment.

4.    All Other Authorized Actions. All other authorized actions shall take effect immediately.

(Ord. 94-33 § 6, 1994: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


1.    Whenever a project requires more than one permit, all permits shall be processed concurrently. When more than one permit is required and authority normally rests with more than one decision-making body, final action shall be taken by the decision-making body with highest authority. When a subdivision is proposed, the provisions of the subdivision ordinance shall apply, in addition to the provisions contained in this title.

2.    Decision-making bodies may combine in a single action or review such approvals as are required by this title and the single approval shall have the same effect as though each action were taken individually, as long as each separate approval required is appropriately entered in the record.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).

24.04.160 LIFE OF PERMIT.

1.    Expiration.

a.    Each approved permit shall expire and become null and void thirty-six months from the date on which it is approved, unless exercised; a lesser time period may be specified. A relocation permit shall be exercised within six months.

b.    An approved permit applies to the subject property and runs with the land. Once exercised, an approved permit remains effective unless terminated or modified and remains effective even if the subject property is rezoned.

c.    An approved permit is transferable to any future owner of the subject property.

d.    Any use permit which has been exercised shall expire and become void where the use has ceased for a period of six consecutive months, whether or not it is the intent to abandon said use.

e.    All active permits as of March 10, 2009, and those approved up to and including March 10, 2010, shall have the life of the permit automatically extended an addition one year from the length of time currently allowed under subsection (1)(a). This extension authorization shall expire on March 11, 2011, unless otherwise extended by the city council.

2.    Extension of Permits. Any permit issued in conjunction with a project that has had its tentative subdivision map or parcel map extended pursuant to the provisions of the California Subdivision Map Act, Government Code Sections 66410 et seq. or the city’s Subdivision Ordinance, S.C.M.C. Title 23, shall have its associated land use permits automatically extended for a period coextensive to any extension of the tentative subdivision map or parcel map attributable to the application of Subdivision Map Act or Subdivision Ordinance provisions.

3.    Revocation of Permits. In any case where the conditions to the granting of a permit have not been or are not complied with, the decision-making body with final authority over said permit shall give notice thereof to the permittee, which notice shall specify a reasonable period of time within which to perform said conditions and correct said violation. If the permittee fails to comply with said conditions, or correct said violation, within the time allowed, notice shall be given to the permittee of intention to revoke such permit at a hearing to be held not less than ten calendar days after the date of such notice. Following such hearing and, if good cause exists therefor, the decision-making body with final authority over said permit may revoke such permit.

4.    Modifications.

a.    Minor Modifications. The zoning administrator may modify conditions imposed on any permit at the request of the permit holder where evidence has been submitted that the requested modifications:

(1)    Will not significantly alter the approved permits; and

(2)    Are made on the basis of changed circumstances since the original approval; and

(3)    Would not contradict or go against any direction in the record that was instrumental in the approval of the original permit.

b.    Minor Modification Criteria. The zoning administrator may approve any requested minor modifications on any permit which involves minor increases in floor area that do not exceed fifteen percent of the approved project or involve use intensifications permitted by the zone that do not increase parking above fifteen percent of the approved parking for the project without a public hearing as long as the proposed modification is consistent with all sections of the Zoning Ordinance. Only one such modification or project will be allowed within any five-year period without review by the planning commission or at a publicly noticed zoning administrator hearing if the original approval was administrative or was decided at a public hearing before the zoning administrator. Additional modifications not related to such increases in floor area or use intensifications may be approved without a public hearing.

c.    Major Modifications. The zoning administrator shall refer to the decision-making body with final authority for review and action any requested modifications which involve significant increases in size or nature of an approved project beyond those limits set in subsection (4)(b). A public hearing will be required unless the permit proposed for modification was approved administratively, in which case the modification may also be decided administratively.

(Ord. 2020-22 § 3, 2020; Ord. 2010-06 § 1, 2010; Ord. 98-09 § 1, 1998: Ord. 94-34 § 3, 1994: Ord. 94-03 § 1, 1994).


An application may be withdrawn by the applicant prior to final action on the matter. Said withdrawal must be submitted by the applicant in writing. Withdrawal of an application shall terminate all further action on the application.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


Whenever any permit is denied or withdrawn, no new application for the same or substantially the same project may be filed for a period of one year from the date of said denial or withdrawal. Where an application has been denied without prejudice, application for the same or substantially the same project may be filed within said period of one year.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


1.    Any city council member may call up for city council review any final action taken under this title. The request shall be filed with the city clerk within the appeal period if there is one, or otherwise within ten calendar days of the action.

2.    The city council, on its motion, may direct that any matter processed under this title be referred to the city council for consideration and action, before any otherwise final action is taken. The hearing body which would otherwise take the final action shall follow standard procedures for review and public hearing. At the conclusion of this process, the hearing body shall make a recommendation to the city council.

3.    All matters shall be heard by the city council in their entirety (de novo). Any public hearing requirement which would normally apply shall apply to any hearing before the city council.

(Ord. 94-34 § 4, 1994).


Persons dissatisfied with any action taken under the provisions of this title may appeal such action and decision as provided in Sections 24.04.181 through 24.04.183. Procedures for appeals to the Coastal Commission are contained in Section 24.04.186.

(Ord. 88-58 § 1, 1988; Ord. 85-65 § 2, 1985; Ord. 85-47 § 2, 1985: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


1.    Appeals from the decision of the zoning administrator shall be made to the zoning board. Appeals from the decision of any other administrative official, in taking any of the actions authorized by this title, shall be made to the zoning board, city planning commission or historic preservation commission, as appropriate. Such appeals shall be filed at the planning department office.

2.    Appeals from the decision of the city planning commission, zoning board, or historic preservation commission in taking any of the actions authorized by this title shall be made to the Santa Cruz city council through the city clerk.

(Ord. 88-58 § 2, 1988).


1.    A written notice of appeal, together with the appropriate fee, except development projects which are appealable to the Coastal Commission where no fee will be charged, must be received by the secretary to the zoning board or the city clerk not later than ten calendar days following the date of action from which such appeal is being taken, unless otherwise specified in this chapter. If the final day for filing an appeal occurs on a weekend day or holiday the final filing date shall be extended to the following workday.

2.    Once filed, appeals may be withdrawn only at a public hearing and with approval of the hearing body.

(Ord. 94-33 § 7, 1994: Ord. 91-14 § 2, 1991; Ord. 88-58 § 3, 1988).


The written notice of appeal shall:

1.    Identify the section of this title or part of the General Plan which the appellant contends has been violated;

2.    State how and why the action appealed violates the sections identified.

(Ord. 88-58 § 4, 1988).


The receipt of a written appeal shall stay all actions, or put in abeyance all approvals or permits which may have been granted, pending the effective date of the decision of the body hearing the appeal.

(Ord. 88-58 § 5, 1988).


1.    Appeals to the zoning administrator, city planning commission, zoning board or historic preservation commission shall be scheduled for the earliest regular meeting of the decision-making body, consistent with agenda preparation procedures and scheduled for said decision-making body meetings. A hearing on an appeal of a determination of incompleteness of a development application shall be heard, and a final determination made, not later than sixty calendar days after receipt of the applicant’s written appeal.

2.    Appeals to the city council shall be scheduled by the city clerk for a regular or special meeting of the city council not less than fifteen days or more than sixty days after the date of filing such appeal, provided that the appeal can be scheduled within this time frame in a manner consistent with agenda preparation procedures and city council meetings schedule. As used in this subsection, the phrase “consistent with agenda preparation procedures” shall entail a requirement that no more than two appeal hearings conducted pursuant to this section and Section 1.16.030 shall be held at any given regularly or specially scheduled city council meeting and shall also entail a requirement to consider time constraints imposed by other items scheduled for city council consideration at that city council meeting. This two hearing limitation may be waived by the mayor when he or she determines that there is sufficient council meeting time and staff resources to conduct more than two appeal hearings at a single city council meeting.

3.    All decision-making bodies hearing appeals shall consider the project appealed in its entirety, or de novo.

4.    All appeals involving a permit or development application shall be considered in a public hearing, consistent with procedures set forth in Section 24.04.100. All other appeals may be heard without a public hearing.

(Ord. 2000-01 § 1, 2000: Ord. 88-58 § 6, 1988: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


1.    Coastal permits fall into either of two categories: appealable or nonappealable to the Coastal Commission.

The determination of whether a project is appealable or nonappealable, or categorically exempt, shall be made by the zoning administrator at the time the application is filed. This determination is appealable pursuant to the provision of California Coastal Commission Local Coastal Program Regulations Section 13569.

2.    Coastal permits are only appealable after all city appeals are exhausted except for (a) appeals by members of the Coastal Commission and (b) appeals of city decisions on small cell facilities in the public right-of-way and in the portion of the Coastal Zone Overlay zone district where city decisions can be appealed to the California Coastal Commission, in which case the appeal may be made directly to the Coastal Commission. No fee shall be charged for coastal permit appeals.

a.    Only the following coastal permit applications are appealable to the Coastal Commission:

(1)    Any major public works project or facility. The phrase “major public works project or energy facility” is the same as used in Public Resources Code Section 30603(A)(5) and these regulations shall mean any proposed public works projects as defined by Coastal Commission Regulations Section 13012, or “energy facility” as defined by Public Resources Code Section 13012 of the Coastal Commission Regulations, or “energy facility” as defined by Public Resources Code Section 30107 and exceeding fifty thousand dollars in estimated cost of construction.

(2)    Development approved between the sea and the first public road paralleling the sea or within three hundred feet of the inland extent of any beach or the mean high tide line of the sea where there is no beach, whichever is the greater distance.

(3)    Developments approved not included within subsection (2)(a)(2), located on tidelands, submerged lands, public trust lands, within one hundred feet of any wetland, estuary, stream, or within three hundred feet of the top of the seaward face of any coastal bluff.

(a)    Subsections (a)(2) and (a)(3) are shown as the SP-O Shoreline Protection Overlay zone on the zoning map.

(4)    Developments approved that are located in a sensitive coastal resource area.

b.    An appeal may be filed only by the applicant, an aggrieved person as defined by this title, or any two members of the Coastal Commission. An appeal must be filed in accordance with the appeal procedures contained in this title, except that appeals by any two members of the Coastal Commission do not require exhaustion of local appeals and may be made following the decisions of the reviewing body, zoning administrator, zoning board or city council.

However, commissioner appeals taken prior to exhaustion of all local appeals shall be transmitted to the appropriate local appellate body and the appeal to the commission may be suspended pending a decision on the merits by that local appellate body. If the decision of the local appellate body modifies or reverses the previous decision, the commissioners shall be required to file a new appeal from that decision.

c.    Grounds for appeal, pursuant to subsection (2)(a)(2), shall be limited to an allegation that the development does not conform to standards set forth in the certified Local Coastal Program or the Public Access Policies set forth in the California Coastal Act.

d.    The grounds for an appeal of a denial of a permit pursuant to subsection (2)(a)(1) shall be limited to an allegation that the development conforms to the standards set forth in the certified Local Coastal Program and the public access policies set forth in the California Coastal Act.

e.    Appeals to the Coastal Commission pursuant to this section must be filed with the Coastal Commission on forms prescribed by and available from the Coastal Commission.

(Ord. 2022-07 § 8, 2022; Ord. 94-42 § 1, 1994: Ord. 94-33 § 8, 1994: Ord. 88-58 § 7, 1988; Ord. 85-47 § 2, 1985: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


Where a building permit is required as an emergency measure to protect life and property from imminent danger or to restore, repair or maintain public works, utilities or services during and immediately following a natural disaster or serious accident, any permit authorized by this title which is needed to accompany such building permits may be issued, provided that within three days of the disaster or discovery of danger the planning director is notified and a preliminary application is filed containing the nature of the disaster and the type and location of work to be performed, and that within thirty days a completed application for the necessary planning permits is filed.

(Ord. 88-58 § 8, 1988: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


No structure or building shall be occupied by a nonresidential use and no nonresidential use shall commence without first having obtained an occupancy permit. An occupancy permit shall be issued by the planning department if the use and structure comply with applicable city ordinances, the city General Plan, and when compliance with conditions of approval, if imposed, has been achieved.

(Ord. 88-58 § 9, 1988; Ord. 85-47 § 2, 1985: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


Any court action or proceeding to attack, review, set aside, void or annul any decision on matters listed in this title or concerning any of the proceedings, acts, or determinations taken, done or made prior to such decision, or to determine the reasonableness, legality, or validity of any condition attached thereto, shall not be maintained by any person unless such action or proceeding is commenced within sixty calendar days after the date of such decision, or within sixty calendar days after the effective date of this section, whichever is later. Thereafter, all persons are barred from any such action or proceeding or any defense of invalidity or unreasonableness of such decision or of such proceedings, acts, or determinations.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


No action, inaction, or recommendation regarding any zoning matter by the city council or any administrative body or official of the city of Santa Cruz shall be held void or invalid or be set aside by any court on the ground of improper admission or rejection of evidence or by reason of any error, irregularity, informality, neglect, or omission (hereinafter called “error”) as to any matter pertaining to petitions, applications, notices, findings, records, hearings, reports, recommendations, appeals, or any matters of procedure whatever, unless after an examination of the entire case, including the evidence, the court shall be of the opinion that the error complained of was prejudicial, and that, by reason of such error, the party complaining or appealing sustained or suffered substantial injury, and that a different result would have been probable if such error had not occurred or existed. There shall be no presumption that error is prejudicial or that injury was done if error is shown.

(Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


1.    Zoning Administrator Authority. The zoning administrator shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this title, and the provisions of any city ordinance to the extent that such ordinance regulates matters involving the ongoing use of real property in the city of Santa Cruz. In furtherance of this authority, the zoning administrator may take any action authorized or permitted by this title, as well as any other action authorized or permitted by law. The planning director shall have the same authority as the zoning administrator, and so shall others to whom such authority has been delegated.

2.    Building Official Authority. The building official shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this title, to the extent that such provisions apply to the erection and maintenance of structures. In furtherance of this authority, the building official may take any action authorized or permitted by this title, as well as any other action authorized or permitted by law. Such authority may be delegated to others to act on behalf of the building official.

(Ord. 88-56 § 1, 1988: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


The zoning administrator shall have the authority to condition the issuance of zoning and building permits to require recordation of deed restrictions limiting future use of the structure(s) to those allowed by zoning and the permit at the time the permit is issued or as subsequently modified by rezoning or changes in district regulations in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of this title. Such restrictions may also be required in the enforcement of the provision of this title and/or any city ordinance.

(Ord. 88-56 § 2, 1988: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


No permit authorized by this title shall be issued under any provision of this title or Title 18 of this code unless the premises for which such approval is requested and any use or structure currently thereon are in compliance with all the provisions of this title, or unless the purpose of such permit or approval is to bring the premises, use, or structure into compliance with the provisions of the title. Any such permit, certificate, license or approval issued in conflict with the provisions of this title, intentionally or otherwise, shall be null and void.

(Ord. 88-56 § 3, 1988: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


The zoning administrator and the building official may conduct any investigation necessary to determine whether persons are complying with this title.

(Ord. 89-12 § 1 (part), 1989).

24.04.221 STOP ORDERS.

1.    When any person violates any provision of this title, the zoning administrator or the building official may order that such violation be stopped immediately, by serving a written stop order on the appropriate person.

2.    The stop order shall be served by personal delivery to any person engaged in any active violation of this title; or if there are no such individuals on the site, the stop order shall be served by posting a copy of the order on the premises where the violation has occurred and by promptly mailing a copy of such order to the owner or the owner’s authorized agent, at such address as may be shown on current planning department records or in current records in the office of the Santa Cruz County tax assessor or tax collector. Such order shall become effective immediately upon personal delivery or upon posting of the order.

3.    After service of a stop order, no person shall perform any act on the premises in violation of the terms of the stop order, except such actions as are determined by the zoning administrator or building official to be necessary to correct the violation or to render the premises safe and secure, until such violation has been corrected to the satisfaction of the zoning administrator or the building official. After service of such order, no person shall continue the use ordered to be stopped, and no other use shall be commenced on the premises, until such time as the zoning administrator determines that the succeeding use is in conformity with the requirements of this title.

(Ord. 89-12 § 1 (part), 1989).


1.    Whenever the zoning administrator, in his/her discretion and with sufficient cause, considers it appropriate, the zoning administrator may hold public hearings to determine whether persons are complying with the provisions of this title. The zoning administrator may refer any matter to the zoning board in any other appropriate manner. The zoning board and the city council may refer any such matter to the zoning administrator for public hearing.

(Ord. 89-12 § 1 (part), 1989).


1.    Public Notice. Notice of any zoning enforcement hearing shall be given to the public in the same manner as provided generally for public hearings held pursuant to other provisions of this title.

2.    Notice to Persons Subject to Enforcement Proceedings. Notice of any zoning enforcement hearing shall be given to the person whose conduct or use of the premises is subject to the enforcement proceedings by personally serving a copy of the notice or by mailing a copy of the notice, return receipt requested, to such person at his or her residence or business address, or if neither is known, at the address of the premises with respect to which the enforcement proceeding is being taken. Such notice shall be mailed or personally served at least ten calendar days before the hearing. The notice shall specify the code sections or permit conditions alleged to have been violated, and shall generally indicate the manner in which the section or condition has been violated.

3.    Conduct of Hearing. The public hearing shall be conducted in the manner provided for in this title.

4.    Transcripts of Proceedings. When a request is made in writing five working days prior to a hearing, a verbatim record of the hearing shall be made and duly preserved, a copy of which shall be available at cost. A deposit shall be made at the time of the request to cover the estimated cost of the record; any difference in the cost will be refunded or billed to the person making the request.

5.    Opportunity to Respond. The person subject to the zoning enforcement proceedings may submit a written response to the charges, before the hearing. The response shall be filed with the planning department.

6.    Burden of Proof. Where an enforcement proceeding has been commenced by the city, the city has the burden of demonstrating that a violation has occurred. Where the party against whom the enforcement proceeding has been directed raises a defense, such as prior nonconforming use, that party has the burden of proving the defense.

7.    Findings and Determination. At the close of deliberations, the decision-making body shall make such determinations as are appropriate under the circumstances. If the decision-making body determines that a violation of this title has occurred, it may make any order it deems appropriate, including the revocation of any permits previously issued for the property in question, and may impose any conditions upon the use of the premises in question that are reasonably necessary to ensure that the violation will cease and not be repeated. Any action taken by the decision-making body with respect to such violation shall set forth the following:

a.    The code section or permit condition violated;

b.    The ultimate facts upon which the findings of such violation are based;

c.    The action ordered to be taken because of such violation;

d.    The conditions to be imposed, if any, to ensure that such violation will cease and will not be repeated;

e.    The circumstances showing that such conditions are reasonably necessary to prevent further violations.

(Ord. 89-12 § 1 (part), 1989).


Upon a finding that conditions existing on a parcel of property are in violation of the code, the zoning administrator shall record a notice of violation on the property. The notice of violation so recorded shall include a description of the violation, the action ordered to be taken to abate the violation, and notice that abatement is incumbent upon future owners of said parcel of property.

A notice of correction shall be recorded within fifteen days of correction or compliance with the final order of the court.

(Ord. 89-12 § 1 (part), 1989).


Any zoning permit may be revoked pursuant to Sections 24.04.222, 24.04.223 and Section 24.04.160, subsection (3), where applicable.

(Ord. 89-12 § 1 (part), 1989).


The remedies provided herein shall be cumulative and not exclusive. No remedy provided in this chapter shall be deemed to be a prerequisite to the taking of any other action provided for herein.

(Ord. 89-12 § 1 (part), 1989).


1.    Judicial Remedies – Civil. The city council, zoning board, city planning commission, historic preservation commission, zoning administrator or building official may refer any matter to the city attorney and may request initiation of any judicial action or proceeding that may be determined to be appropriate by the city attorney. In connection therewith, the city attorney may pursue any equitable or legal remedy that may be available in a civil action or proceeding.

2.    Judicial Remedies – Criminal.

a.    Penalty. Any person who owns, occupies or maintains any structure or property in violation of this title is guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars for a first offense or one thousand dollars for subsequent offenses. Each day of a continuous violation is a separate infraction.

b.    Infraction and Misdemeanor Citations. The zoning administrator and building official and such other planning department employees as may be designated may issue misdemeanor or infraction citations for violations of any ordinance subject to their administration, in the manner provided in Chapter 4.04.

c.    Referral of City Attorney. The city official, zoning board, zoning administrator, or building official may refer any matter to the city attorney and request the initiation of any criminal proceeding that may be determined to be appropriate by the city attorney.

3.    Other Remedies. The zoning administrator, building official, and other city officials may take any other action permitted by law to ensure compliance with this title and other city ordinances subject to their administration.

4.    Cumulative Remedies. The remedies provided herein shall be cumulative and not exclusive. No remedy provided in this chapter shall be deemed to be prerequisite to the taking of any other action provided herein.

5.    Revocation of Zoning Permits. Any zoning permit may be revoked pursuant to Section 24.04.225.

(Ord. 2021-18 § 26, 2021; Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).


1.    Duty to Administer and Enforce. It shall be the duty of the planning department, and the proper administrative authority, to administer and enforce the provisions of Part 3, Chapter 24.08 (Coastal Permit) with the assistance of other city departments when deemed necessary.

2.    Penalties. Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of Part 3, Chapter 24.08 shall be subject to the remedies and penalties provided in Title 4.

(Ord. 2021-18 § 27, 2021; Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).

24.04.250 VIOLATIONS.

1.    Uses and Conditions Not Permitted in District. No person shall conduct or cause, suffer or permit to be conducted any use or maintain any condition on any premises located in the city of Santa Cruz unless such activity or condition is permitted by this title in the district wherein the premises are located.

2.    Uses and Conditions Contrary to Provisions of Zoning Ordinance. No person shall conduct or cause, suffer or permit to be conducted any use or maintain any condition on any premises located in the city of Santa Cruz unless such use or condition is conducted in compliance with all the requirements of this title applicable to such activity.

3.    Uses and Conditions Without Zoning Permit. No person shall conduct or cause, suffer, or permit to be conducted any use or maintain any condition on premises located in the city of Santa Cruz, when a zoning permit is required for such use or condition without first obtaining each required zoning permit.

4.    Uses Without Occupancy Permit. Nonresidential uses shall not commence or premises occupied for nonresidential use until occupancy permit is obtained.

5.    Uses and Conditions Contrary to Zoning Permit. No person shall conduct or cause, suffer, or permit to be conducted any use or maintain any condition on any premises located in the city of Santa Cruz, when a zoning permit has been granted for a use or condition on such premises, unless such use is conducted or condition maintained in the approved manner and comply in all respects with the terms and conditions of the permit.

6.    Violation of Zoning Enforcement Order. No person shall conduct or cause, suffer, or permit to be conducted any use or maintain any condition on any premises located in the city of Santa Cruz in violation of any stop order or any order issued or resolution adopted pursuant to a zoning enforcement hearing.

7.    Violations – Infractions. Except as provided in Section 24.04.250, subsection (8), any conduct that is unlawful under this title shall be an infraction.

8.    Violations – Misdemeanors. Any violation which would otherwise be an infraction is a misdemeanor if the defendant has been convicted of one or more violations of this title within the six-month period immediately preceding the commission of the offense and such prior convictions are admitted by the defendant or alleged in the accusatory pleading. For this purpose, a bail forfeiture shall be deemed to be a conviction of the charge.

9.    Continuing Violations. Any person violating any provision of this title is guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which such violation occurs or continues to occur.

10.    Violations – Nuisance. Any violation of this title is hereby declared to be a public nuisance.

11.    Coastal Act Violation. A violation of this title may also constitute a violation of the California Coastal Act of 1976 (Public Resources Code Section 30000 et seq.) and may subject the violator to the remedies, fines, and penalties set forth in Chapter 9 of the California Coastal Act of 1976, (Public Resources Code Section 30800 et seq.)

(Ord. 85-47 § 2, 1985: Ord. 85-05 § 1 (part), 1985).