The City Prosecutor and the Code Enforcement Specialist emphasize education and seek voluntary compliance with the Municipal Codes whether possible. In addition, mediation services are available to assist in resolving neighbor disputes. However, egregious and persistent violations may be subject to abatement, fines, and other enforcement tools. The public can submit an Investigation Request Form to report a code violation.
Submit an Investigation Request Form
A Code Enforcement Investigation Form may be submitted online via the City’s website, or downloaded and submitted via email, mail, or hand delivered to Sonoma City Hall.
Once the form is submitted, it will go through the Code Enforcement Process as outlined below.
The Code Enforcement Process
- A Code Enforcement Investigation Form may be submitted via the City’s website, email, mail, or hand delivered to Sonoma City Hall.
- Upon receipt of a Code Enforcement Investigation Form, staff reviews the information and may visit the subject property to assess the existing conditions, depending on the nature and details of the alleged violation.
- If a code violation is confirmed, staff will notify the responsible person (e.g., owner and/or tenant of the subject property) by mail of the violation. The notification may be an optional Courtesy Notice or a mandatory Compliance Order, depending on the nature of the violation. Compliance with the applicable regulations, rather than assessing penalties, is always the highest priority. Whether a Courtesy Notice or formal Compliance Order is sent, the responsible person will be provided with a specific amount of time to contact the code enforcement staff and abate the violation.
- If the violation is unresolved within the specified time allowed by the Courtesy Notice, a Compliance Order will be sent to the responsible person providing a reasonable time depending on the circumstances to abate the violation. If the violation can be resolved through the issuance of a land use permit and/or building permit, the responsible party may be given the option to apply for a retroactive permit, with all applicable penalties being assessed.
- If the period lapses without the violation being resolved an Administrative Citation may be issued with the associated fine, or an Administrative Hearing may be scheduled to present the facts of the violation before a third-party Administrative Hearing Officer. This process typically results in significant costs to a confirmed violator of the City’s municipal codes.
- In some cases the City may impose permit holds, fines or penalties or any other actions necessary to achieve compliance with the applicable code regulations, as determined by the City Prosecuter and/or City Attorney.