CHAPTER 1A
ADMINISTRATIVE CITATIONS

Sections:

1A.1    Authority and purpose.

1A.2    Applicability.

1A.3    Definitions.

1A.4    Administrative citation.

1A.5    Contents of administrative citation.

1A.6    Amount of fines.

1A.7    Payment of fines

1A.8    Hearing request.

1A.9    Advance deposit hardship waiver.

1A.10    Hearing officer.

1A.11    Hearing procedure.

1A.12    Hearing officer’s decision.

1A.13    Late payment charges.

1A.14    Recovery of administrative citation fines and costs.

1A.15    Right of judicial review.

1A.16    Notices.

1A.1 Authority and purpose.

(a)    The city council finds and declares there is a need for an alternative method of enforcement for violations of the Municipal Code and that an appropriate method of enforcement is an administrative citation program.

(b)    The city council additionally finds it is in the public’s interest to streamline enforcement of violations of city laws by providing for administrative citations because the issuance of an administrative citation provides for a quick resolution of uncontested violations, while continuing to give persons who have been issued citations a hearing before a neutral party. It also allows the city to recover costs associated with the enforcement process, which can only be done in very limited circumstances with a criminal citation. This makes code enforcement equitable since the community is not forced to fund correction of the impacts a code violation can cause to the community.

(c)    Pursuant to Article XI section 7, of the California Constitution, the city has the authority to make and enforce within its jurisdictional limits all laws for the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of South Pasadena which are not in conflict with general state laws. In addition, California Government Code 36901 specifically provides that the city may impose civil fines, penalties and forfeitures, up to a maximum of one thousand dollars, for violations of city ordinances. Further, California Government Code 53069.4 expressly authorizes the city to establish an administrative citation program for violations of city ordinances. (Ord. No. 2098 § 1.)

1A.2 Applicability.

This chapter provides for administrative citations which are in addition to all other legal remedies, criminal or civil, which may be pursued by the city to address any violations of this code. Use of this chapter shall be at the sole discretion of the city.

1A.3 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

(a)    “City manager” means the city manager of the city of South Pasadena, or his or her designee.

(b)    “Enforcement officer” means any person authorized to enforce violations of this code.

(c)    “Hearing officer” means any person appointed by the city manager to preside over the administrative hearings provided for by this chapter.

(d)    “Person” means any natural person, firm, association, business, trust, organization, corporation, partnership, company or any other entity.

(e)    “Responsible party” means any person who is responsible for violating any provision of this code. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.4 Administrative citation.

(a)    Whenever an enforcement officer determines a violation of this code has occurred, the enforcement officer shall have the authority to issue an administrative citation to any responsible party.

(b)    Prior to issuance of an administrative citation, the enforcement officer shall issue a written notice to the responsible party of the violation. The notice shall contain the following information:

(1)    The date of the violation;

(2)    The address or a specific description of the location where the violation occurred;

(3)    The section of this code violated and a description of the violation;

(4)    Identification of the action necessary to correct the violation;

(5)    A date by which the correction must be made, which shall be not less than ten days from the date of the notice, unless the enforcement officer determines that the violation contains an immediate danger to the public health, safety or welfare, in which case the enforcement officer, in his or her discretion, may provide for a lesser time or require immediate correction; and

(6)    An explanation of the consequences of a failure to correct the violation.

(c)    If, after the expiration of the time period provided to the responsible party to correct the violation, the responsible party has not corrected the violation, the enforcement officer may issue an administrative citation to the responsible party in the manner prescribed in Section 1A.16.

(d)    Notwithstanding subsections (b) and (c) of this section, when the enforcement officer determines it is necessary, he/she may issue an administrative citation without providing prior written notice and an opportunity to correct for any violation that: (i) creates an immediate danger to the public health, safety and welfare and for which immediate correction is required; (ii) is a noncontinuing violation for which it corrects, has previously been provided.

(e)    The notice provided pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall be sufficient notice for any violation of the same code section even if the violation occurs at a different location, date or time, and the enforcement officer may proceed directly to an administrative citation on any future violation of the same code section by the same responsible party. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.5 Contents of administrative citation.

The administrative citation shall contain, in addition to all the contents of the notice specified in subsection (b) of Section 1A.4, the following information:

(a)    The amount of the fine for the code violation(s);

(b)    A description of the fine payment process, including a description of the time within which and the place to which the fine shall be paid;

(c)    An order prohibiting the continuation or repeated occurrence of the code violation described in the administrative citation;

(d)    A description of the administrative citation review process, including the time within which the administrative citation may be contested and the place from which a request for hearing form to contest the administrative citation may be obtained; and

(e)    The name and signature of the enforcement officer. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.6 Amount of fines.

(a)    The amounts of the fines for code violations imposed pursuant to this chapter shall be set forth in the schedule of fees established by resolution of the city council.

(b)    The schedule of fines shall specify any increased fines for repeat violations of the same code provision by the same person within thirty-six months after the date of an administrative citation.

(c)    The schedule of fines shall specify the amount of any late payment charges imposed for the payment of a fine after its due date. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.7 Payment of fines.

(a)    The fine shall be paid to the city within thirty days after the date of the administrative citation.

(b)    Any administrative citation fine paid pursuant to subsection (a) shall be refunded if it is determined, after a hearing, the person charged in the administrative citation was not responsible for the violation or there was no violation as charged in the administrative citation.

(c)    Payment of a fine under this chapter shall not excuse or discharge any continuation or repeated occurrence of the code violation for which an administrative citation was issued. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.8 Hearing request.

(a)    By completing a request for hearing form and returning it to the planning department of the city within thirty days after the date of the administrative citation, together with an advance deposit of the fine or notice that a request for an advance deposit hardship waiver has been filed pursuant to Section 1A.9, any recipient of an administrative citation may contest whether (i) a violation of the code occurred or (ii) he/she/it is the responsible party.

(b)    A request for hearing form may be obtained from the planning department.

(c)    The person requesting the hearing shall be notified of the time and place set for the hearing at least ten days prior to the date of the hearing.

(d)    If the enforcement officer submits an additional written report concerning the administrative citation to the hearing officer for consideration at the hearing, a copy of that report also shall be served on the person requesting the hearing at least five days prior to the date of the hearing. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.9 Advance deposit hardship waiver.

(a)    Any person who intends to request a hearing pursuant to section 1A.8 to contest issuance of an administrative citation and who is financially unable to make the advance deposit of the fine may file a request for an advance deposit hardship waiver.

(b)    The request shall be filed with the planning department within ten days after the date of the administrative citation on an advance deposit hardship waiver application form, available from the planning department.

(c)    The requirement of depositing the full amount of a fine shall be stayed unless or until the planning director makes a determination not to issue the advance deposit hardship waiver.

(d)    The planning director may waive the requirement of an advance deposit and issue the advance deposit hardship waiver only if the person issued the administrative citation submits to the planning director a sworn affidavit, together with any supporting documents or materials, demonstrating to the reasonable satisfaction of the planning director that person’s actual financial inability to deposit with the city the full amount of the fine in advance of the hearing.

(e)    If the planning director determines not to issue an advance deposit hardship waiver, that person shall remit the deposit to the city within ten days after the date of that decision or thirty days after the date of the administrative citation, whichever is later.

(f)    The planning director shall issue a written determination listing the reasons for his or her determination to issue or not to issue the advance deposit hardship waiver. The written determination of the planning director shall be final.

(g)    The written determination of the planning director shall be served upon the person who applied for the advance deposit hardship waiver. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.10 Hearing officer.

The city manager shall designate the hearing officer for the administrative citation hearing. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.11 Hearing procedure.

(a)    No hearing to contest an administrative citation before a hearing officer shall be held unless the fine has been deposited in advance in accordance with Section 1A.8 or an advance deposit hardship waiver has been issued in accordance with Section 1A.9.

(b)    A hearing before a hearing officer shall be set for a date not less than fifteen days and not more than sixty days after the date the request for hearing is filed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(c)    At the hearing, the person requesting the hearing shall be given the opportunity to present, either themself or through a representative, evidence and testimony concerning the administrative citation.

(d)    The failure of any recipient of an administrative citation to appear at the administrative citation hearing shall constitute a forfeiture of the fine and a failure to exhaust their administrative remedies.

(e)    The administrative citation and any additional report submitted by the enforcement officer shall constitute prima facie evidence of the respective facts contained in those documents.

(f)    Prior to issuing a written decision, the hearing officer may continue the hearing and request additional information from the enforcement officer or the person who requested the hearing.

(g)    The formal rules of evidence shall not apply and the hearing officer shall have authority to control the orderly conduct of the hearing. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.12 Hearing officer’s decision.

(a)    After considering all of the testimony and evidence submitted at the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue a written decision to uphold or cancel the administrative citation and shall list in the decision the reasons for that decision. The hearing officer may also reduce, waive, or conditionally reduce the fine, and may also impose conditions and deadlines by which to correct the violation(s). The decision of the hearing officer shall be final.

(b)    If the hearing officer determines the administrative citation should be upheld, then the fine amount on deposit with the city shall be retained by the city.

(c)    If the hearing officer determines the administrative citation should be upheld and the fine has not been deposited pursuant to an advance deposit hardship waiver, the hearing officer shall set forth in the decision a payment schedule for the fine.

(d)    If the hearing officer determines the administrative citation should be canceled and the fine was deposited with the city, then the city shall promptly refund the amount of the deposited fine, together with interest at the average rate earned on the city’s portfolio for the period of time that the fine amount was held by the city.

(e)    The person requesting the hearing shall be served with a copy of the hearing officer’s written decision.

(f)    The employment, performance evaluation, compensation and benefits of the hearing officer shall not be directly or indirectly conditioned upon the amount of administrative citation fines upheld by the hearing officer. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.13 Late payment charges.

Any person who fails to pay to the city any fine imposed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter on or before the date the fine is due also shall be liable for the payment of any applicable late payment charges set forth in the schedule of fines. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.14 Recovery of administrative citation fines and costs.

The city may collect any past due administrative citation fine or late payment charge by use of all available legal means. The city may also recover its collection costs. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.15 Right of judicial review.

The person who requested the hearing may obtain review of the hearing officer’s administrative decision regarding the administrative citation by filing a petition for judicial review pursuant to the provisions of California Government Code 53069.4. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)

1A.16 Notices.

(a)    The administrative citation and all notices required to be given by this chapter shall be served on the responsible party either by personal delivery or by deposit in the United States mail, in a sealed envelope postage prepaid, addressed to such person at his/her/its last known business or residence address as the same appears in the public records or other records pertaining to the matter to which such notice is directed. Service by mail shall be deemed to have been completed at the time of deposit in the post office.

(b)    Failure to receive any notice specified in this chapter does not affect the validity of proceedings conducted thereunder. (Ord. No. 2098, § 1.)