Code Enforcement Violation Penalty Fees
Fee determinations are based on a number of variables.
The Sonoma County Code and the Uniform Building Code mandate penalties and investigation fees for building, zoning, non-stormwater discharges and certain health code violations. These penalties and investigation fees are in addition to all other permit and development fees. Penalties may be calculated in three different ways based upon a number of factors including, but not limited to, the nature of the violation, the length of time the violation has existed and how cooperative the property owner is in working with the Department to correct the violation.
Penalties for commercial and residential violations may be calculated in the following manner:
- A per day rate between $5.00 and $100 per day for the first violation of any Sonoma County Code Section.
- A per day rate between $5.00 and $200 per day for the second violation of the same Sonoma County Code Section within a 12-month period.
- A per day rate between $5.00 and $500 per day for the third violation of the same Sonoma County Code Section within a 12-month period.
- A multiple of the permit fee ( from three to ten times) if the violation can be corrected with a permit.
- The fair market rental value of the land or structure in violation.
- A percentage of the permit fee for violations of Sewer Operational Permits
The Sonoma County Code provides two alternatives for exclusion of these penalties. The first exclusion is by ceasing the unlawful use or by demolishing the unlawful structure within (30) thirty days of notification of a violation. Please keep in mind that if you choose to demolish an unlawful structure, demolition permits are required.
The second alternative is commonly called the “ innocent purchaser exclusion”. This exclusion may be used if the property owner can demonstrate that the violation existed when the property was purchased and the property owner did not have actual or constructive notice of the violation. If these two conditions are met as determined by code enforcement staff and within (30) days of notification of a violation the property owner initiates and pursue with due diligence to meet the requirements of the Sonoma County Code, the property owner maybe excluded from penalties.
In addition to these penalties, the Uniform Building Code mandates an investigation fee for construction without permit. The investigation fee is equal to the amount of the building permit fee.
Due to the complexity of these determinations, it is unwise to make assumptions until the full scope of a project is determined by Permit Sonoma staff at the time an application is accepted.
Please do not fill in amounts on checks prior to application acceptance.
By viewing these fee schedules, I affirm that I have read and understand the above cautionary statements.