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Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Preservation
The Code Enforcement Division is operated out of the Police Department with a focus on Neighborhood Preservation. The Code Enforcement Division is currently staffed by the Neighborhood Preservation Coordinator. Together, the Code Enforcement staff work with other City employees to enforce the City’s Municipal Code, Zoning Ordinance, and Adopted Building and Safety Codes. The codes enforced deal primarily with public nuisances, zoning and land use regulations, and health and safety violations.
The City’s code enforcement program is primarily implemented on a complaint driven basis. Staff typically does not actively look for code violations, but rather responds to public complaints. Complaints can be submitted by mail, phone, email, our online complaint form, or in person at City Hall or the Police Department. Complaints are prioritized by their severity and overall threat to public health and safety. Please read below for the types of violations we do and do not enforce.
Common Violations Enforced by the the City of Petaluma:
- Fences and walls built in violation of the Zoning Ordinance
- Accessory structure locations
- Illegal dwelling units
- Garage conversions
- Trash, junk, debris, and rubbish accumulated on a property and visible from off-site view
- Land use violations
- Non-permitted home-based businesses
- Property maintenance violations
- Non-permitted signs
- In-operative vehicles on private property and visible from off-site
- Noise Violations (IZO Chapter 21, Performance Requirements)
- Substandard housing conditions
- Lack of weekly trash service
- Non-permitted construction (Building Division)
- Violations or obstructions of the Public Right of Way i.e. street, sidewalk, curb, gutter, easements (Public Works Department)
- Inoperative/Abandoned vehicles on the street for more than 72 hours (Police Department)
- Illicit discharge into the storm drain (Water Resources)
- Over watering or wasting water (Water Resources)
- Fire Hazards (Fire Prevention)
- Hazardous Materials (Fire Prevention)
- Barking dogs (Animal Services)
- Dangerous animals and illegal animal keeping (Animal Services)
- Businesses operating without a Business Tax Certificate/Business License (Administrative Services)
- Non-permitted street tree removal (Public Works Department)
- Mosquitoes (Marin Sonoma Mosquito Vector Control District)
- Asbestos removal (Bay Area Air Quality Management District)
Code Enforcement FAQs
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There's a property in my neighborhood that has a lot of garbage and rubbish in the front yard. What can be done?
The City requires all garbage and rubbish to be placed in a clean, covered container (typically provided by Petaluma Refuse and Recycling).
There's a property in my neighborhood that has inoperative vehicles all over the property. What can be done?
All vehicles parked on private property and visible from off-site must be currently registered, operative, and able to be legally and safely driven on the street. This applies to any car, truck, boat, RV, trailer, etc. that would require licensing by the DMV to be driven on a public street.
I noticed a lot of people park their cars, boats, and recreational vehicles on their front lawn. Is this legal?
As of January 1, 2011, The City of Petaluma prohibits the parking of any car, truck, boat, RV, trailer, etc. not parked on a permanent surface as defined by Section 11.070(F) of the City of Petaluma Zoning Ordinance. A permanent surface is defined as a durable, dustless surface which shall be graded and drained to dispose of surface water without damage to private or public properties, streets, or alleys.
Someone keeps parking their cars on the street in front of my house for weeks at a time. How can I put an end to this?
Any vehicle with current registration can be parked on the street for up to 72 hours without being moved. This includes automobiles, boats, and recreational vehicles. Recreational vehicles are not allowed to be hooked up to any utility (water, power, cable, etc.) at any time while parked on the street. To file a complaint for a vehicle that has not moved in 72 hours, please contact the Police Department at 707-778-4372.
The house next door to me appears to have a lot of people living in it. This can't be legal, can it?
At this time, the City cannot regulate how many people live in a single residence. What we CAN regulate is where they are sleeping inside the home. Kitchens, hallways, bathrooms, and garages are the most common places where sleeping is NOT allowed. Any vehicles associated with this home will have to follow the regulations answered in prior questions.
Yes, but there are a limited amount of uses that are permissible in a residential zone. Prior to operation, a Home Occupation Permit from the Planning Division is required, as is a Business License from the Finance Department. The Home Occupation Permit regulates the type of business, hours of operation, types of activities, and number of employees.
In some instances, yes, but only after review and approval by the Planning and Building Divisions of the Community Development Department. The Planning Division inspects the structure to ascertain whether it has been converted to habitable space (no kitchen facilities), or a dwelling unit (with kitchen facilities). A dwelling unit requires specific Planning review prior to building permit approval; habitable space may only require building permit review.
Trees hanging over a property line, dead trees that do not pose an immediate threat to the public right of way, property line disputes, and other civil matters among property owners are the responsibility of the affected property owners. The Code Enforcement Division does not get involved with civil matters between property owners. We advise you to seek your own legal advice.
If your answer is not found there, please feel free to contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 707-778-4469, or in person at 969 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, CA 94952
EMERGENCY cell phone calls: 707.762.2727
Patrick Williams, Chief of Police
969 Petaluma Blvd. North
Petaluma, CA 94952
Code Enforcement 707.778.4469
Graffiti Hotline 707.776.3606
Property & Evidence 707.778.4328
Mental Health Resources
Report Habitual DUI Offenders 707.778.4335
Traffic Complaints (Voice Mail) 707.776.3775
Monday – Thursday, 8AM - 5PM