What is the Code Enforcement Program?

The Code Enforcement Program at Planning and Development is responsible for enforcing the County's ordinances to ensure that all structures and uses comply with the applicable standards and permit requirements adopted by the Board of Supervisors.  These standards are intended to maintain public health, safety, and welfare, while protecting community values and natural resources.  The Enforcement Program is divided into two sections - Building Enforcement and Zoning Enforcement.  Zoning Enforcement is primarily responsible for enforcing Chapter 35 of the County Code, while Building Enforcement is primarily responsible for enforcing Chapters 10 and 14 of the County Code.

How does the program work?

The Code Enforcement Program is a reactive, complaint-driven program.  Complaints must be accompanied with the reporting party's name and contact information unless the complaint appears to involve an imminent threat to human health and safety, or imminent destruction of habitat or sensitive resources.  Once a complaint is taken in, enforcement staff will investigate the complaint by researching the property's permit information, contacting the property owner and conducting a site visit of the property.  Results of the investigation are not generally shared with the reporting party unless specifically requested by the reporting party.

How do I report a potential violation?

All complaints must be accompanied by the reporting party's name and contact information.  Anonymous complaints are not investigated unless it involves an imminent threat to human health and safety, imminent destruction of habitat or sensitive resources.  A complaint may be filed by phone, in person, or by completing an online form.  Click here to report a violation.

What happens if a violation is found on my property?

If, after the investigation, enforcement staff determines that a violation exists on your property, enforcement staff will issue a Notice of Violation to you as the property owner, indicating the nature of the violation, and how to correct the problem.  The Notice of Violation will provide specific time frames on what the property owner needs to do in order to bring the property into compliance with the County Codes as well as contact info for the enforcement staff assigned.

What if I disagree with the violation determined by staff?

If you disagree with the violation determination made by staff, you will need to contact enforcement staff to provide information as to why you believe their finding is incorrect.  Staff will review the information, and if staff agrees, the enforcement case may be closed at that time.  However, if staff does not agree, staff will issue a Notice of Determination of Fines, at which time you will have 10 working days to file an appeal and have a hearing with the appeal hearing officer.  The hearing officer will listen to the evidence and make a determination as to whether or not a violation truly existed and whether or not fines are due.

What if I can't meet the timeframes set forth in the Notice of Violation?

You may request an extension to the Notice of Violation.  The request must be submitted to the assigned staff IN WRITING, and prior to the end of the expiration date on the Notice (Download the Extension Request form here).  Your request must detail why you can't meet the timeframes and provide an estimated timeframe when you expect to be able to meet it.  Your request will be reviewed by the Division Manager and approved/denied as appropriate.

Why did I get two Notices of Violations for the same problem on the property?

You may receive two simultaneous Notices of Violations for the same problem on the property if the problem violates two separate chapters of the County Code.  For example, if your property is in violation of Chapter 35 - Zoning, and Chapter 10 - Building, then you will receive a Notice of Violation for violating Chapter 35, and a separate Notice of Violation for violating Chapter 10.  Usually, if this happens, you can correct the problem simultaneously as long as you cooperate with the enforcement staff assigned and keep them informed regarding your progress on correcting the violation(s).

What is an abatement schedule?

Many violations may be corrected by obtaining the proper permits.  If the property owner elects to correct the violation by getting a permit, the property owner will need to agree to an abatement schedule outlining the milestones necessary to obtain the permits.  The purpose of the schedule is to make sure the property owner understands what is required to obtain a permit, and the timeframes necessary to do so.  It also ensures that once the permit application is submitted, the property owner will follow through with the permit in order to correct the violation.  Once the schedule is signed, it is important that the property owner follows the schedule because failure to follow the schedule will result in the issuance of a Notice of Determination of Fines.  revisions to the schedule may be appropriate if there is good cause to do so.