City of Lakeport, California

Code Enforcement FAQs

 

Do you need information or have questions about Code Enforcement? This page will offer answers to common questions received by the City staff.

 

How do I file a complaint?

Complaints may be lodged by downloading our on-line form. Complaint forms may also be filled out in our office. We are located at 225 Park Street. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday 8 am – 5:30 pm.

 

What happens when I report my neighbor for a city code violation?

We are aware that violations frequently occur due to a lack of knowledge of the codes. Therefore, our first step (for all non-emergency calls) is to send a Courtesy Letter. The Courtesy Letter is sent to the current resident advising them that a complaint has been received with a list of the alleged violations and informing them that we will be inspecting the property on, or after 10 days from the date of the letter. These courtesy advisements allow the resident to call us with any questions or concerns and then to make any corrections necessary before an officer inspects the property. Most of the time, the Courtesy Letter resolves the issue.

 

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 finalized, 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 the City of Lakeport Code Violation.

 

How much time do I have to clear the violations?

Under most circumstances you will be given 30 days. This may involve simply stopping the illegal use or obtaining the necessary permits. Under some circumstances an extension of time may be granted when the property owner is steadily working to resolve the problem and is making progress.

 

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 will the permits cost to clear the violations?

Permit fees vary depending on the complexity of the project. Staff at the Building Division will assist you in determining your cost.

In cases where compliance is not gained, an official Notice to Abate letter is sent via certified mail to the property owner, warning of monetary penalties in the form of both fees and administrative citations. These fees and fines are issued if the violations are not corrected by the official re-inspection date specified on the notice.

If you have filed a complaint and do not see any changes, please keep in mind that this process allows the residents of the City of Lakeport between 10 and 20 days to bring their property into compliance before monetary penalties are issued.

You are always welcomed to contact the Code Enforcement Division at (707) 263-5615 Ext. 205 to check the status of any service request.

 

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.

 

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.

 

I disagree that my property has a violation. Can I appeal the staff's determination of the violation?

You can appeal any determination of violation. Your appeal right is included in each notice sent and specifies how long you have to submit an appeal. Appeals of some determinations require a fee. We suggest the owner respond in writing immediately to avoid the loss of appeal rights.

 

The person who turned me in has a violation on their property. 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 Code Enforcement Inspector will investigate the matter. If a violation is found to exist, the owner will be contacted by letter and required to remove the violation and/or obtain the necessary permits for the violation.

 

What are the dnagers of mold and mildew and who do I call if I encounter this problem?

Mold and mildew can cause serious health risks. For tips on removing and preventing mold, contact your local health department or visit the California Department of Public Health's Web site.

 

How many vehicles can one person own?

There is no law that limits the number of vehicles one person can own. However, vehicles in public view must be licensed with current registration, in operable condition, and be parked on an approved parking surface.

 

May a person use a vehicle for sleeping or living quarters while it is parked on the street?

No, vehicles parked on a public street may not be used as sleeping or living quarters.

 

Is there a limit to how long a person may park a vehicle on the street without moving it?

Yes, vehicles may not be parked for longer than 72 consecutive hours without moving. 

 

Is there a limit to the number of days a guest can use a recreational vehicle (RV) for sleeping quarters, while the vehicle is parked on a residential parcel?

Yes, guests of the resident may use the RV for a period of 72 hours. 

 

Are inoperative vehicles allowed to be parked in the driveways or front yards of residences?

No, all vehicles that are parked within plain view of the public right-of-way must be in an operable condition and currently registered. Vehicles that do not meet these criteria may be abated as a public nuisance. 

 

Is there a limit to the number of vehicles that can be parked on a residential parcel?

Yes, a maximum of four vehicles may be parked within the front yard setback. A greater number of vehicles may be permitted, if they are completely enclosed within a legal structure. 

 

Who is responsible for cutting back shrubs and foliage that is obstructing the sidewalk?

Private property owners are required by the municipal code to prune all shrubs and foliage in such a manner that they do not encroach into the sidewalk and/or street. If the foliage is city owned/maintained (such as a street tree), the City Streets Division will prune back the foliage. 

 

Is there a code that regulates the storage of old appliances and scrap debris that is stored in the front yard of a residence?

Yes, there is a property maintenance code that restricts the storage of appliances, scrap material, and junk in the front, side, or rear yards where the debris is visible from the street or sidewalk. 

 

My neighbor's have let weeds grow in their yard and have generally neglected the premises, can anything be done?

Yes, weeds/trash & debris are fire hazards and also harbor rats. Enforcement action may be required for this type of violation.  Appropriate measures must be taken to correct these infractions, which are a health, safety as well as an aesthetic problem.

 

My neighbor was emptying his radiator in the street in front of his house. Is that legal?

NO! Anything that is dumped in the street goes into the storm drainage system, which is part of our waterways, which discharges into Clear Lake.  No waste materials of any kind (organic or inorganic) shall be dumped into any water course or upon any public property. 

 

My neighbor's tree is overhanging on my property; can you make them cut it?

Unfortunately, this is a civil matter between you and your neighbor.  You may trim any branch or leaves that hang over into your yard. However, the best solution is to talk with your neighbor, if that is not possible you would need to seek legal advice.

 

What is required regarding trash, debris, indoor and outdoor storage?

Trash and debris on your property can invite criminal activity, graffiti and illegal dumping and can contribute to infestations of insects and rodents. Remove trash and debris and store all property in an approved manner. Check with our Planning Division at (707) 263-5615 x204 to ensure you are complying with all regulations especially when storing or parking boats or commercial and recreational vehicles in a residential area.

Store inoperable vehicles in an enclosed building out of public view or remove them from your property.

 

What do I do if I own or know of a vacant, unsecured substandard structure?

Vacant structures can become targets for vandals, criminal activities and a general nuisance for adjacent property owners. Contact the Code Enforcement or Building Division at (707) 263-5615 x205 for the proper procedures to secure the property and keep it secured.