HOW WE ENFORCE
One of our goals is to educate residents about County codes and regulations. We would like to avoid higher levels of enforcement and additional costs to residents so we encourage everyone to voluntarily resolve any violations on their properties. When necessary there are several ways we take enforcement; some have formal appeal rights:
Citations are preceded by a Warning which gives you a deadline to comply, a description of the violations; the County code violated; and what a person must do to resolve the violation. If a deadline isn’t met, citations will be issued with fines starting at $100, then $200, $500 $1000 and upward to $10,000 total in fines for each violation.
Notice & Order to Assess Administrative Civil Penalties
Penalties can be issued for County code or ordinance violations, up to $1,000 per day per violation against each responsible person, but no more than $50,000 in civil penalties for any one violation against a responsible person in any 12 month period; for State code violations, up to $2,500 per day per violation against each responsible person, but no more than $125,000 in civil penalties for any one violation against a responsible person in any 12 month period.
Public Nuisance Abatement
The County can declare violations of the County Zoning Ordinance and some County Codes a public nuisance. If a property owner fails to remove a violation by the deadline stated in a Notice and Order, the County will hire a contractor to do the work instead and recover all costs incurred from the property.
Notice of Violation
This Notice provides a description of a violation, the code violated, a deadline to comply and what a person must do to resolve the violation. Failure to meet the deadline will result in the recordation of the notice against the property. This lien may interfere with a sale or refinance and prevents the issuance of building permits. The Notice remains recorded until the violation is removed.
Civil suit and Criminal prosecution
Violations of County codes and ordinances are misdemeanors. A criminal complaint or a civil suit can be filed against an owner for allowing the violation to exist on his/her property. This litigation can result in the Courts issuing fines, penalties or incarceration.
Flags are placed in our permit tracking system to alert County staff and the public of violations on a property. The County has the authority to withhold issuance of a building permit if there are violations of any County code existing on the same parcel.
Property owners will be given a schedule with deadlines for compliance. These deadlines are based on time frames met by a typical permit applicant to complete tasks. Failure to meet any deadlines will result in additional enforcement such as Citations, Administrative Civil Penalties, civil suit or criminal prosecution.
Order to Cease
We can issue an order to cease an illegal activity taking place on a parcel. Not complying with this order is a violation of the County Zoning Ordinance and a misdemeanor which can result in the issuance of Administrative Civil Penalties, Administrative Citations, a civil suit or criminal prosecution.