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Code Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions

How do I report a violation?
There are several ways to report a violation. You can call the department at 831-755-5027 and ask to speak to the Code Enforcement office assistant who will take the complaint over the phone. You can download a complaint form and submit it by mail or fax, or you can come to the Permit Center and submit a complaint with the counter staff.  Please note that in order to process a complaint we need the Assessor’s Parcel Number and the address of the violation so that a case can be opened prior to sending an officer or inspector to investigate.

What do I do if I receive a "Notice of Violation" or a "Stop Work Notice"? How to clear a violation.

Who turned me in?
We receive complaints from a number of sources including internal referrals, outside agencies and the general public. We do not disclose the source of the complaints; that information is kept confidential and protected under state law.

My neighbors have violations too. Why aren’t you investigating them?
If you suspect there is a code violation on another property, you may contact Code Enforcement staff and provide this information. A case will be opened and investigated appropriately.  If a violation is found to exist, the owner will be contacted and required to remove the violation and/or obtain the necessary permits for the violation.

What are the regulations regarding fences?
Fences up to 6 feet in height do not require a building permit.  However, fences over 6 feet in height (including lattice on top of 6 foot fencing) require a building permit.  In addition, zoning regulations may require you to obtain a planning permit.  Contact the Planning Department at the Permit Center to determine if a planning permit is required.

Do I need a permit to build a shed on my property?
Building Permit: You do not need a building permit if the shed is detached, not more than 120 square feet (i.e. 10’ x 12’) in size, and has no electrical or plumbing installed.  However, if the shed is attached to another structure or has electrical or plumbing installed then a permit is required regardless of the size.

Planning Permit: You should also check with Planning Department Permit Center staff to determine the minimum setback requirements and if the zoning on your property requires a Design Approval permit or other discretionary permit.

What are setbacks and how do I determine mine?
Setbacks are the minimum distance that a building or structure can be placed from a property line and other structures. Setbacks can vary depending on the zoning. Contact the Planning Department staff to determine your setbacks for the type of structure you wish to build.

What happens when someone is in violation of the codes?
If the violation is in progress a Stop Work Notice will be posted on the property and all work must stop immediately. If the work in violation has been completed a Notice of Violation will be posted on the property. In either case, a Notice of Violation letter will be mailed to the property owner who will be given a time frame (usually 30 days) in which to comply.

If a permit application to clear the violation is submitted by the deadline in the Notice of Violation letter the case is held in abeyance and is monitored until the violation is abated.

What happens when someone refuse to comply with the codes?             A Compliance Order will be mailed to the property owner and/or tenants notifying them of the infraction.  If no action is taken to clear the violations by the deadline in the Compliance Order then a hearing will be scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and administrative fines may be levied along with administrative penalties including possible jail time. Orders decided by the County Hearing Officer (ALJ) will be recorded at the Monterey County Recorder’s office.

Severe health, life, and safety hazardous or environmentally sensitive violations may be subject to a more stringent enforcement action on a case by case basis as will repeat offenders.

For further information, please refer to County Ordinance 5122 regarding Administrative Remedies for Code Enforcement.

When is a grading permit required?
A grading permit is required when:
• Grading over 100 cubic yards (cumulative). Calculations are to include quantities of cut and fill. Note: 100 cubic yards is equivalent to a cube measuring 14’x14’x14’.
• Grading a driveway over 50 feet long
• Grading on slopes over 30% (25% in North County)

What are the regulations regarding storage or parking of commercial vehicles in residential zones?
The parking or storage of commercial vehicles in residential zones is prohibited.

Can I legalize an addition or detached structure that was built without permits?
Yes. You can submit “As-Built Construction” (link to handout) plans to obtain a permit for the illegally built structure. You may be required to submit structural calculations if “As-Built” structure does not meet all the provisions of conventional construction per the California Building Code.

Can someone live in a recreational vehicle on private property?
Recreational vehicles (i.e. travel trailers, 5th-wheels, motor homes) may be permanently lived in only in a designated trailer park. Temporary occupancy of such recreational vehicles may be permitted on a construction site during construction and with prior approval from both the Planning and Health Departments.

The violation existed before I bought the property. Why am I responsible for clearing the violation?
Violations run with the property, not with the person who created the violation. If you purchased a property that has violations, you are responsible for abating the violations.

How much will the permits cost to clear the violations?
Permit fees vary depending on the complexity of the project. Staff at the Permit Center will assist you in determining your cost.

What do I need to do to clear the violation?
If no permit is required simply cease the illegal activity and call the assigned Code Enforcement Officer to schedule an inspection. If a permit is required you must schedule an appointment with the Code Enforcement staff who will assist you with your application submittal. The permit must be approved, all permit and code enforcement fees paid, the permit is to be issued, and a final inspection to sign off the permit before the violation is cleared.

How much time do I have to clear the violations?
In most cases you are given 30 days to either abate the violation or apply for permits to abate the violation. However, the time frame is at the Code Enforcement Officer’s discretion depending on the severity of the violation.

How many large animals can I have on my property?
If your property is zoned for large animals (horses, cows, llamas, ostriches) you may have one large animal for every 20,000 square feet of land. Note: An acre is 43,560 square feet.

A Notice of Violation is recorded against my property. How can I get it removed?
You must obtain the required permits, all permits must be finaled, all violations must be abated, and all Code Enforcement and recording fees must be paid. Once the violation is abated and the fees are paid we will record a Release of Notice of Monterey County Code Violation.

Can I operate a business out of my home?
Some businesses are allowed without permits, some are allowed with the approval of a Use Permit, and others are not allowed in a residential zoning district. Contact the Planning Department to obtain more information prior to commencing the business.


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