Chapter 1.12
GENERAL PENALTY

Sections:

1.12.010    Violation – Penalty.

1.12.020    Nuisance abatement proceedings.

1.12.010 Violation – Penalty.

The city council of the city of Sonoma intends to secure compliance with the provisions of this code. To the extent that such compliance may be achieved by less drastic methods of enforcement, the following alternate, separate and distinct methods may be utilized. Each method set forth herein is intended to be mutually exclusive and does not prevent concurrent or consecutive methods being used to achieve compliance against continuing violations. Each and every day any such violation exists constitutes a separate offense. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, each violation of the provisions of this code may be enforced alternatively as follows:

A. Infraction. Any person violating any of the provisions or failing to comply with any of the mandatory requirements of this code may be prosecuted for an infraction. Written citations for infractions may be issued by code enforcement officers as defined in SMC 1.30.120. Notwithstanding any provision set forth in any other chapter of this code to the contrary, each and every criminal offense that is prosecuted as an infraction shall be punishable by:

1. A fine not exceeding $100.00 for a first violation.

2. A fine not exceeding $200.00 for a second violation of the same section within one year.

3. A fine not exceeding $500.00 for a third or subsequent violation of the same section within one year.

4. Notwithstanding the above, a violation of Chapter 14.10 SMC (Construction Codes) shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $100.00 for a first violation, $500.00 for a second violation of the same section within one year, and $1,000 for a third or subsequent violation of the same section within one year.

B. Misdemeanor. Notwithstanding any provision set forth in any other chapter of this code to the contrary, any person in violation of any of the provisions or failing to comply with any of the mandatory requirements of this code may be prosecuted for a misdemeanor. In its discretion, however, the prosecuting authority may charge any offense as an infraction or reduce any offense charged as a misdemeanor to an infraction during the prosecution. Written citations for misdemeanors may be issued by code enforcement officers as defined in SMC 1.30.120. Each and every misdemeanor violation is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

C. Civil Action. In addition to or in lieu of the remedies provided in subsections (A) and (B) of this section, the city prosecutor or city attorney may commence an action for abatement, including, but not limited to, an injunction thereof, in the manner required by law and shall take such other steps to obtain such relief as will abate or remove violations and restrain and enjoin any person from violating any provisions of this code, or other applicable laws and rules and regulations. All costs of such abatement shall be recoverable as set forth within SMC 1.12.020.

D. Administrative Notice and Order. Upon a finding by the city official vested with the authority to enforce the various provisions of this code that a violation exists, he or she may issue an administrative citation under the provisions of Chapter 1.28 SMC or an administrative notice and order under the provisions of Chapter 1.30 SMC. The fines pursuant to Government Code Section 53069.4 for code violations imposed by these chapters shall be set forth in a schedule of penalties established by resolution of the Sonoma city council. In the event that a nuisance is found to exist in any proceeding commenced under Chapter 1.30 SMC and the city abates the nuisance, the nuisance abatement proceedings described within this chapter shall be applicable.

E. No building, zoning, fire, or other permit shall be issued to the responsible party until the penalty and appropriate permit fees related to the violation have been paid.

F. Each day any violation of this code shall continue shall constitute a separate offense. (Ord. 03-2018 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018; Ord. 02-2005 § 1, 2005; Ord. 98-7 § 1, 1998; Ord. 465 § 1, 1973).

1.12.020 Nuisance abatement proceedings.

A. Public Nuisance. Any condition caused or permitted to exist in violation of any of the provisions of this code, resolution of the city council, or statute of the state of California is hereby deemed a public nuisance and may be abated as provided by this chapter or as otherwise provided by this code. Every day a public nuisance continues to exist shall constitute a new and separate offense.

B. Lien. Whenever any costs, related administrative costs, and/or attorneys’ fees are incurred by the city in an administrative or civil nuisance abatement proceeding, the cost of such abatement and attorneys’ fees, if elected as described below, shall become a lien against the property on which it is maintained and a personal obligation of the property owner as provided under Government Code Section 38773.1. The city shall follow those procedures set forth under Government Code Section 38773.1 to place a lien against any property for nuisance abatement costs incurred under the authority of this code.

C. Special Assessment. As an alternative procedure for recovery of any costs, related administrative costs, and/or attorneys’ fees incurred by the city in an administrative or civil nuisance abatement proceeding, the cost of such abatement and attorneys’ fees, if elected as described below, may be made a special assessment, subject to the same penalties and the same procedure and sale in case of delinquency as provided for ordinary municipal taxes. All laws applicable to the levy, collection, and enforcement of municipal taxes shall be applicable to such special assessment in accordance with Government Code Section 38773.5. The city shall follow those procedures set forth under Government Code Section 38773.5 to place a special assessment on any property for nuisance abatement costs incurred under the authority of this code.

D. Attorneys’ Fees. In any civil action, administrative proceeding, or special proceeding to abate a public nuisance in which the city elects at its initiation to seek recovery of its attorneys’ fees, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees; provided, that the award does not exceed the amount of reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the city in the action or proceeding. (Ord. 03-2018 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018).