Chapter 19.90
ENFORCEMENT OF DEVELOPMENT CODE PROVISIONS

Sections:

19.90.010    Purpose of chapter.

19.90.020    Building permits and business licenses.

19.90.030    Official duty to enforce.

19.90.040    Violations.

19.90.050    Remedies are cumulative.

19.90.060    Inspection.

19.90.070    Initial enforcement action.

19.90.080    Legal remedies.

19.90.090    Permit revocation or modification.

19.90.100    Recovery of costs.

19.90.110    Additional permit processing fees.

19.90.010 Purpose of chapter.

The provisions of this chapter are intended to ensure compliance with the requirements of this development code and any conditions of land use permit or subdivision approval, to promote the city’s planning efforts and for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.020 Building permits and business licenses.

A. Compliance. All departments, officials, and public employees of the city which are vested with the authority or duty to issue permits or licenses shall comply with the provisions of this development code.

B. Permits or Licenses in Conflict with Code. Permits or licenses for uses or structures that would be in conflict with the provisions of this development code shall not be issued.

C. Permits or Licenses Deemed Void. Any permit or license issued in conflict with the provisions of this development code shall be deemed void. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.030 Official duty to enforce.

A. City Planner. It shall be the duty of the city planner to enforce the provisions of the development code and any use of land or structures and the addition, alteration, construction, erection, moving, or reconstruction of or to any structure.

B. Police Department. During nonoffice hours, it shall be the responsibility of the police department to monitor and enforce the provisions of this development code. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.040 Violations.

Any structure constructed or maintained contrary to the provisions of the development code and any use of land or structures operated or maintained contrary to the provisions of this development code is hereby declared to be a public nuisance(s).

A. Public Nuisance. Any structure or use which is altered, constructed, converted, enlarged, established, erected, maintained, moved, or operated, contrary to the provisions of this development code or any applicable condition of approval imposed on a permit, is hereby declared to be unlawful and a public nuisance, and shall be subject to the remedies and penalties identified in this chapter and Chapter 1.12 SMC, General Penalty.

B. Misdemeanor. Except where otherwise provided by this development code, any person, partnership, firm, or corporation, whether as principal, agent, employee, or otherwise, violating or failing to comply with any provision(s) of this development code or any condition imposed on any development permit, map, or license, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

C. Stop Work Order. Any construction in violation of this development code or any condition(s) imposed on a permit shall be subject to the issuance of a “stop work order.” Any violation of a stop work order shall constitute a misdemeanor. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.050 Remedies are cumulative.

All remedies contained in this development code for the handling of violations or enforcement of the provisions of this development code shall be cumulative and not exclusive of any other applicable provisions of city, county, or state law. Should a person be found guilty and convicted of a misdemeanor for the violation of any provision of this development code, the conviction shall not prevent the city from pursuing any other available remedy to correct the violation(s). (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.060 Inspection.

Every applicant seeking a permit or any other action in compliance with this development code shall allow the city officials handling the application access to any premises or property which is the subject of the application (Government Code Section 65105). If the permit or other action in compliance with this development code is approved, the owner or applicant shall allow appropriate city officials access to the premises in order to determine continued compliance with the approved permit and/or any conditions of approval imposed on the permit. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.070 Initial enforcement action.

This section describes the procedures for initiating enforcement action in cases where the city planner has determined that real property within the city is being used, maintained, or allowed to exist in violation of the provisions of this development code. It is the objective of these provisions to encourage the voluntary cooperation of responsible parties in the prompt correction of violations, so that the other enforcement measures provided by this chapter may be avoided.

A. Notice to Responsible Parties. The city planner shall provide the record owner of the subject site and any person in possession or control of the site with a written notice of violation, which shall include the following information:

1. A time limit for correcting the violation in compliance with subsection (B) of this section;

2. A statement that the city intends to charge the property owner for all administrative costs associated with the abatement of the violation(s) in compliance with SMC 19.90.100, Recovery of costs, and/or initiate legal action as described in SMC 19.90.080, Legal remedies;

3. A statement that the property owner may request and be provided a meeting with the city planner to discuss possible methods and time limits for the correction of the violations.

B. Time Limit for Correction. The notice of violation shall state that the violation shall be corrected within 30 days from the date of the notice to avoid further enforcement action by the city, unless the responsible party contacts the city planner within that time to arrange for a longer period for correction. The 30-day time limit may be extended by the city planner upon determining that the responsible party will likely correct the violation within a reasonable time. The city planner may also require through the notice that correction occur within less than 30 days if the city planner determines that the violation constitutes a hazard to public health or safety.

C. Use of Other Enforcement Procedures. The enforcement procedures of SMC 19.90.080, Legal remedies, may be employed by the city planner after or instead of the provisions of this section where the city planner determines that this section would be ineffective in securing the correction of the violation within a reasonable time. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.080 Legal remedies.

The city may choose to undertake any of the following legal actions to correct and/or abate nuisances or violations of this development code:

A. Civil Actions.

1. Injunction. The city attorney or the city prosecutor, upon order of the council, may apply to the superior court of Sonoma County for injunctive relief to terminate a violation of this development code.

2. Abatement Proceedings. Where any person, firm, or corporation fails to abate a violation after being provided a notice of violation in compliance with SMC 19.90.070(A), and the opportunity to correct or end the violation, the city attorney, upon order of the council, shall apply to the superior court of Sonoma County for an order authorizing the city to undertake actions necessary to abate the violation and require the violator to pay for the cost of the actions.

3. Nuisance Abatement. The city may pursue nuisance abatement in compliance with Chapter 14.30 SMC, Nuisance Abatement.

B. Civil Remedies and Penalties.

l. Civil Penalties. Any person who willfully violates the provisions of this development code or any permit issued in compliance with this development code shall be liable for a civil penalty in compliance with the council’s fee resolution for each day that the violation continues to exist.

2. Costs and Damages. Any person violating any provisions of this development code or any permit issued in compliance with this development code shall be liable to the city for the costs incurred and the damages suffered by the city, its agents, and agencies as a direct result of the violations.

3. Procedure. In determining the amount of the civil penalty to impose where no fee has been established, the court should consider all relevant circumstances, including the extent of the harm caused by the conduct constituting a violation, the nature and persistence of the conduct, the length of time over which the conduct occurred, the assets, liabilities, and net worth of the defendant, whether corporate or individual, and any corrective action taken by defendant.

C. Criminal Actions and Penalties.

1. Misdemeanor. Any person, whether as agent, principal, or otherwise, violating or causing the violation of any of the provisions of this development code shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, shall be punishable by:

a. Fine. A fine of not more than $1,000; or

b. Imprisonment. Imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months; or

c. Both fine and imprisonment.

2. Separate Offense. Any violation of this development code which is committed and continues from day-to-day constitutes a separate offense for each and every day during which the violation is committed or continued.

3. Prosecution. Criminal prosecutions shall make use of the procedures set forth in SMC 1.12.010 (general penalty). (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.090 Permit revocation or modification.

The review authority shall hold a public hearing in order to revoke or modify any permit granted in compliance with the provisions of this development code. Ten days before the public hearing, notice shall be delivered in writing to the applicant and/or owner of the property for which the permit was granted. Notice shall be deemed delivered two days after being mailed, first class postage paid, to the owner as shown on the current tax rolls of the city of Sonoma, and/or the project applicant.

A. Permit Revocation or Modification. A permit may be revoked or modified by the review authority if any one of the following findings of fact can be made in a positive manner:

1. That circumstances have changed so that one or more of the findings contained in SMC 19.54.030(H), Temporary Use Permits – Findings, Decision, or SMC 19.54.040(E), Use Permits – Findings, Decision, can no longer be made;

2. That the permit was obtained by misrepresentation or fraud;

3. That one or more of the conditions of the permit have not been met;

4. That the improvement authorized in compliance with the permit is in violation of any statute, ordinance, law, or regulation; or

5. That the improvement authorized in compliance with the permit is detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare or constitutes a nuisance.

B. Variance Revocation or Modification. A variance may be revoked or modified by the review authority if any one of the following findings of fact can be made in a positive manner, in addition to those outlined in subsection (A) of this section:

1. That circumstances have changed so that one or more of the findings contained in SMC 19.54.060(E), Variances – Findings, Decision, can no longer be made, and the grantee has not substantially exercised the rights granted by the variance; or

2. That one or more of the conditions of the variance have not been met, and the grantee has not substantially exercised the rights granted by the variance. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.100 Recovery of costs.

This section establishes procedures for the recovery of administrative costs, including staff and city attorney time expended on the enforcement of the provisions of this development code in cases where no permit is required in order to correct a violation. The intent of this section is to recover city administrative costs reasonably related to enforcement.

A. Record of Costs. The department shall maintain records of all administrative costs incurred by responsible city departments, associated with the processing of violations and enforcement of this development code, and shall recover the costs from the property owner in compliance with this section. Staff time shall be calculated at an hourly rate as established and revised from time to time by the council.

B. Notice. Upon investigation and a determination that a violation of any of the provisions of this development code is found to exist, the city planner shall notify the record owner or any person having possession or control of the property by mail, of the existence of the violation, the department’s intent to charge the property owner for all administrative costs associated with enforcement, and of the owner’s right to a hearing on any objections they may have. The notice shall be in a form approved by the city attorney.

C. Summary of Costs and Notice.

1. At the conclusion of the case, the city planner shall send a summary of costs associated with enforcement to the owner and/or person having possession or control of the property by certified mail.

2. The summary shall include a notice in a form approved by the city attorney, advising the responsible party of their right to request a hearing on the charges for city cost recovery within 10 days of the date of the notice, and that if no request for hearing is filed, the responsible party will be liable for the charges.

3. In the event that no request for hearing is timely filed or, after a hearing the city planner affirms the validity of the costs, the property owner or person in control shall be liable to the city in the amount stated in the summary or any lesser amount as determined by the city planner.

4. The costs shall be recoverable in a civil action in the name of the city, in any court of competent jurisdiction.

D. Request for Hearing on Costs. Any property owner, or other person having possession and control of the subject property, who receives a summary of costs shall have the right to a hearing before the city planner on their objections to the proposed costs.

1. A request for hearing shall be filed with the department within 10 days of the service by mail of the department’s summary of costs, on a form provided by the department.

2. Within 30 days of the filing of the request, and on 10 days’ written notice to the owner, the city planner shall hold a hearing on the owner’s objections, and determine their validity.

3. In determining the validity of the costs, the city planner shall consider the circumstances of the case. Factors to be considered include: whether the present owner created the violation; whether there is a present ability to correct the violation; whether the owner moved promptly to correct the violation; the degree of cooperation provided by the owner; and whether reasonable minds can differ as to whether a violation exists.

4. The city planner’s decision shall be appealable to the council as provided by Chapter 19.84 SMC, Appeals. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.90.110 Additional permit processing fees.

Any person who establishes a land use, or alters, constructs, enlarges, erects, maintains, or moves any structure without first obtaining any permit required by this development code, shall pay the additional permit processing fees established by the council’s fee resolution for the correction of the violations, before being granted a permit for a use or structure on the site. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).