Chapter 4.36


4.36.010    Purpose.

4.36.020    Definitions.

4.36.030    Excessive false alarms.

4.36.040    Civil penalty for excessive false alarms.

4.36.050    Abatement.

4.36.060    Criminal penalty.

4.36.070    Alarm system standards and restrictions.

4.36.080    Alarm system testing.

4.36.090    Limitation on liability.

4.36.100    Exemptions.

4.36.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to subject security alarm systems to reasonable regulation to protect the safety and welfare of the residents of the city from adverse impacts caused by false alarms. Whenever public safety personnel respond to false alarms there is a waste of limited public safety resources and an unnecessary expenditure of tax dollars. This chapter is intended to encourage alarm system operators and users to maintain alarm systems in a manner that prevents false alarms, to establish a procedure for the abatement of nuisances resulting from false alarms and establish civil and criminal penalties for the improper maintenance and use of alarm systems. It is the further purpose of this chapter to replace existing regulations established by the county of San Diego Code of Regulatory Ordinances and adopted by reference by city ordinance. (Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)

4.36.020 Definitions.

A. Whenever the following terms are used in this chapter they shall have the meaning established by this section.

B. “Alarm system” means any device designed for the detection of unauthorized entry, fire, or other emergency on the premises where the system is located, which upon activation, automatically emits an audible or silent signal or message used to evoke police, fire, ambulance or other emergency response.

C. “Alarm system service provider” means any person or entity in the business of installing, maintaining or monitoring alarm system or providing alarm system response services. No person or entity shall conduct business as an alarm system service provider unless the person or entity has complied with the provisions of Chapter 4.02 SBMC.

D. “Alarm user” means the person who has possession and control of an alarm system for a premises. A person providing alarm monitoring or response services shall not be deemed to be an alarm user with respect to an alarm system located on the premises of another alarm user to whom the person provides such services pursuant to a contract. For residential property, the owner of the property as shown on the last equalized assessment roll shall be presumed to be the alarm user. A residential owner may rebut the presumption by demonstrating that a tenant has possession and control of the alarm system. For nonresidential property, the owner of the property as shown on the last equalized assessment roll and the property manager (if any) shall be presumed to be the alarm user. A nonresidential property owner or property manager may rebut this presumption by demonstrating that a tenant has possession and control of the alarm system.

E. “City manager” means the Solana Beach city manager or such other person to whom the city manager has delegated authority to hear and decide appeals under this chapter.

F. “City public safety service provider” means the Solana Beach fire department, the county of San Diego Community Service Area 17, and the San Diego County sheriff’s department.

G. “Day” means calendar day.

H. “False alarm” means the activation of an alarm system due to (1) system malfunction, (2) accident or misuse by an alarm user or the user’s employees, agents, or other persons lawfully occupying the premises, (3) system test conducted without prior notification to the alarm system monitoring service, or (4) cause other than an unauthorized intrusion or emergency event which the alarm system is designed to detect. An activation of an alarm system that does not result in the transmission of an emergency response request to a city public service safety provider shall not be considered to be a false alarm. (Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)

4.36.030 Excessive false alarms.

Excessive false alarms are any false alarms in excess of three within any 365-day period. The number of false alarms within a 365-day period shall be determined by starting on the day immediately preceding the day of the false alarm in question and counting backwards 365 days, including the three hundred sixty-fifth day. (Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)

4.36.040 Civil penalty for excessive false alarms.

A. Civil penalties for excessive false alarms are hereby established as follows:

1. Fifty dollars for the first excessive false alarm;

2. One hundred dollars for the second excessive false alarm;

3. One hundred fifty dollars for the third and each successive excessive false alarm.

B. Civil penalties may be assessed by the issuance of a notice of violation by any person authorized to enforce the provisions of this code. A notice of violation may be served on an alarm user personal service or by first class mail, postage prepaid and sent to the alarm user at the address of the property where the alarm is located, or at the address shown on the last equalized property tax assessment roll.

C. A notice of violation shall contain a statement giving notice to the alarm user of the user’s right to request a hearing before the fire chief or such other hearing officer as may be designated by the city manager. The sole issue at the hearing shall be whether there was a false alarm. The notice of violation shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this chapter, and testimony at the hearing by the person who issued the notice shall not be required. The hearing may be conducted on the basis of written declarations. A request for a hearing shall be made in writing filed with the city clerk not later than the date stated on the notice of violation, which date shall be no sooner than 10 days following personal delivery of the notice of violation or 15 days from the date the notice is placed in the mail. Appeals of the decision of the fire chief shall be handled in the same manner as appeals from decisions of the hearing officer in matters relating to citations for violation of local parking laws.

D. A late payment penalty of 15 percent will be added to any penalty not paid within 30 days of the specified due date. A late penalty of 25 percent will be added to any penalty not paid within 60 days of the specified due date. Any penalty which remains unpaid 75 days following the specified due date will be forwarded to the city manager, who shall collect the unpaid penalty by use of all appropriate legal means, including referral to the city attorney. (Ord. 342 §§ 1, 2, 3, 2005; Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)

4.36.050 Abatement.

Any alarm system that results in excessive false alarms is a public nuisance. As a cumulative remedy to the civil penalty imposed in SBMC 4.36.040, the public nuisance resulting from an alarm system may be abated according to the procedures established by Chapter 6.04 SBMC or any other procedure established by state statute for the abatement of public nuisances. (Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)

4.36.060 Criminal penalty.

Any alarm user who willfully violates any provisions of this chapter, or any order issued with respect the operation or maintenance of an alarm system, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable pursuant to the provisions of SBMC Title 1. (Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)

4.36.070 Alarm system standards and restrictions.

A. Fire alarm systems shall be Underwriters Laboratory approved and conform to the requirements of the Uniform Fire Code or other regulations of the State Fire Marshal.

B. Alarm systems that incorporate an audible alarm that may be heard beyond the boundaries of the property upon which the alarm system is located shall be equipped with a device that automatically terminates the audible alarm after a period of no more than 15 minutes.

C. Alarm systems that directly dial any telephone number of the city of Solana Beach, the North County Dispatch Joint Powers Authority, the San Diego County sheriff’s department or 911, are prohibited.

D. The city fire marshal, code compliance officer, or building director (or person serving in that capacity by virtue of a contract), or a deputy or other authorized employee of the county sheriff, may issue an order of correction to an alarm user whose system results in excessive false alarms. An order of correction may be given in connection with a notice of violation. An order of correction shall specify the correction or corrections required and allow a reasonable time to complete the work. (Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)

4.36.080 Alarm system testing.

Alarm system testing shall be done by an alarm system service provider or by an alarm user after notification to the user’s alarm system service provider. (Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)

4.36.090 Limitation on liability.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to create any duty of the city of Solana Beach, the county of San Diego, the North County Dispatch Joint Powers Agency, the County Service Area 17, or any officer, employee or agent of any of these agencies to respond to any alarm or other emergency. (Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)

4.36.100 Exemptions.

A. Institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the federal, state and local government, or agencies thereof, shall not be considered to be alarm users and this chapter shall not apply to alarm systems of such institutions.

B. Activation of an alarm system caused by a malfunction of a telephone line circuit, earthquake or natural catastrophic condition does not constitute a false alarm.

C. The alarm user shall have the burden of establishing the applicability of an exemption. (Ord. 242 § 1, 1998)


Prior legislation: 1987 Code § 4.68.010 and Ord. 45.