Resource Management Agency
1441 Schilling Place
Salinas, CA 93901
Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information on this website and all its documents, users are advised to contact applicable County Resource Management Agency staff before making project decisions and fee estimates.
Guidelines for Public Records Act Requests
It is the goal of the RMA Permit Center Records Team to respond to requests for public records as expeditiously as possible. These guidelines are intended to clarify the process for the public to inspect and/or copy records under the California Public Records Act (the "Act"; Government Code Sections 6250, et seq.) and to establish clear procedures to implement the Act. In the event of any inconsistency between these guidelines and state law, state law controls.
Procedures for inspection and copying, and a description of the types of records generally not subject to disclosure are outlined below. The guidelines only apply to RMA and are not intended to establish procedures for the entire County.
Any person may request to inspect a public record and/or request a copy of the record. Most RMA records are subject to disclosure, although some records are exempt from disclosure as discussed fully below.
Making a Request for Public Records
To request inspection of a public record, complete the RMA Public Records Request Form or make your request online at Monterey County Accela Citizen Access (ACA) - click here for more information on what you can do with ACA. Records may also be requested in person, by mail, FAX, e-mail (email@example.com ), or by phone. Requests made by phone will be prepared by staff. The request form is also available at the Permit Center.
A request for a record must reasonably describe an identifiable record or records. If RMA staff does not understand the request, he/she must make a reasonable effort to elicit additional clarifying information from the requestor that will help identify the records being sought.
Public records are open to inspection by advance appointment during normal business hours, and every person has a right to inspect any public record except for those records or portions of records which are exempt from disclosure. The term "inspection" essentially means reviewing the record.
Depending on the size of the request, the type of records requested, and staff availability; staff will make the record(s) available for inspection as soon as feasible within ten calendar days or staff will notify the requestor that additional time will be necessary. Some records are maintained off-site and may require additional time for retrieval.
Copies of Records
Under the Act, a person may also request a copy of records upon payment of fees covering the direct cost of duplication, or a statutory fee if applicable. If the RMA keeps the records in an electronic format, the public may request the records in an electronic format, and within certain limitations enumerated by state law, the RMA must provide the records in electronic format. As discussed fully below, the official copies of building plans are open to inspection, but there are legal restrictions on copying plans.
Charges for Copies
The RMA charges a fee for copies based on the direct costs of duplication. Current charges are set at the following:
- $0.12 per photocopied page (8.5" x 11", 8.5" x 14" and 11" x 17").
- $0.20 per printed page for microfilmed records.
- $5.00 per CD-ROM.
- Actual duplication costs for blue prints or other oversized or irregularly shaped documents.
- Records that require computer data compilation, extraction or programming will be charged based on the fully burdened labor rate of $140.00 per hour, prorated for actual time spent.
The RMA requires payment of the copy fee prior to provision of the copies.
Records Exempt from Disclosure
State law recognizes that certain categories of documents may be exempt from disclosure. Examples of categories of documents that the County may exempt from disclosure include those listed below. Please note, this list is not exhaustive.
- Attorney-client communications to and from counsel for the purpose of seeking or rendering legal advice are exempt from disclosure.
- Appointment calendars, phone records, emails, memos and other records which impair the deliberative process of County staff may be withheld.
- Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memos that are not retained in the ordinary course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
- Names and contact information of complainants in code enforcement actions may be withheld.
Official Copies of Building Plans
The RMA is required by state law to keep on file an official copy of the plans of every building, during the life of the building, for which the department issued a building permit (hereafter "Official Building Plan”).
Building Plans Include:
An "Official Building Plan" includes any blueprint or drawing submitted to the RMA as part of a building permit. An Official Building Plan may be maintained on microfilm or other type of photographic or digital copy.
Building Plans DO NOT Include:
Under state law, the RMA is not required to have or maintain on file plans for:
- Single or multiple dwellings not more than two stories and a basement in height (for residences: one and two story, single or multifamily dwellings do not require maintenance of building plans regardless of whether they have a basement);
- Garages and other structures appurtenant to buildings described in (1) above;
- Farm or ranch buildings; OR
- Any one-story structure (except steel frame or concrete structures) where the span between bearing walls does not exceed 25 feet.
Please note that the above exceptions do not apply to plans of a common interest development as defined in Civil Code Sections 4100 or 6534, or plans for steel frame or concrete buildings.
Copies of Building Plans:
Any member of the public may obtain copies of building plans if they follow specific procedures required by state law. Under Health and Safety Code Section 19851, an Official Building Plan may not be duplicated in whole or in part except:
- With written permission, which permission shall not be unreasonably withheld, of the certified, licensed or registered professional or his or her successor, if any, who signed the original documents, and the written permission of the original or current owner of the building; OR
- By court order or upon the request of any state agency.
Please note, other regulations apply if the building is a common interest development.
If a member of the public desires to copy of an Official Building Plan, he/she will need to complete a Public Records Request Form for an affidavit requesting a copy of the plans. This form of affidavit shall be provided by the RMA upon receipt of payment in the amount of $294.61 certifying, among other things, that the plans "shall only be used for the maintenance, operation, and use of the building." (Health and Safety Code section 19851(c)(1)). The RMA will then submit the signed affidavit to gain permission from the certified, licensed or registered professional or his or her successor, if any, who signed the original documents and the written permission of the original or current owner of the building.
Any member of the public has the right to inspect Official Building Plans without paying a fee; however, the inspection must occur on the premises of the RMA during normal business hours and will require completion of a Public Records Request form and a scheduled appointment with the RMA Permit Center Records Team.
Planning Records Available Online
Beyond records held by the Building Services Department, there may be additional related records held by the Planning Department. The following list summarizes examples of public records available in electronic format on the Planning website: (www.co.monterey.ca.us/planning):
- Text of Land Use Plans
- Text of Area Plans
- Text of General Plan
- Permit Resolutions (since 2001)
- Hearing Agendas and Minutes
- Environmental Impact Reports
- Recent Environmental Documents