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Santa Clara County Ordinances

Published on: 10/17/2012 8:12 PM


Below Ordinance Sections enacted through January 13, 2009

Copyrighted by SANTA CLARA COUNTY CODE & Municipal Code Corporation, 1998.

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Sec. A1-34 / Sec. C1-67 / Sec. C1-70 / Sec. C1-73 / Sec. C12-421 / Sec C12-556 / Sec.C12-830





Sec. A1-34. Public nuisance defined.

Any of the following are deemed unlawful and a public nuisance and a violation of this Code:

(a) Any condition, act, or omission declared by any statute of the State of California or any provision of this Code to be a public nuisance.

(b) Any public nuisance known or recognized in common law or equity.

(c) Any condition that constitutes a nuisance as defined in Section 3479 of the California Civil Code.

(d) Any use or condition of property that (1) poses a danger to human life or (2) is unsafe or detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare.

(Ord. No. NS-300.735, § 1, 10-19-04)

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Sec. C1-67. Permits.

No person shall engage in any work, or cause any work to be performed, for which a permit or approval is required by any provision of this title, without first obtaining a permit or approval in accordance with the provisions of this title. County of Santa Clara public facilities are exempt from the requirement to obtain permits or other approvals that may be required pursuant to the County Building Code, County Plumbing Code, County Electrical Code and County Mechanical Code. Any exemption from the permit requirements of the County Building Code, County Plumbing Code, County Electrical Code or County Mechanical Code shall not be construed as authorization to perform any work in any manner that violates the provisions of such codes or any other County ordinances, codes or standards.

(Ord. No. NS-1100.38, § 1, 11-2-71; Ord. No. NS-1100.102, § 2, 12-11-07)

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Sec. C1-70. Unlawful acts.

(a) It is unlawful for any person to engage in any work for which a permit is required by this title without first securing, or causing the securing, of such permit from the Building Official. It is unlawful to use, occupy or maintain any building or structure, or cause the same to be done, in violation of the provisions of this title, or in violation of any of the provisions of the codes incorporated herein.

(b) The Building Official may issue a permit to an owner-builder exempt from having a license under state law.

Ord. No. NS-1100.38, § 1, 11-2-71)

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Sec. C1-73. Enforcement.

(a) Any act or omission prohibited by this title or any of the codes adopted thereunder is hereby declared to be unlawful and a public nuisance. Pursuant to section 836.5 of the California Penal Code, the Building Official and his or her representatives are hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this title and to issue citations for violations thereof. The Building Official and his or her representatives may also seek to abate the nuisance pursuant to Chapter III of Division A1 of Title A of this Code. The Building Official and his or her representatives may also, through the Office of the District Attorney or the Office of the County Counsel, apply to any court of competent jurisdiction for a suitable remedy at law or in equity. In addition to any other relief that the court deems appropriate, the court shall require the violator to reimburse the County for all costs and expenses related to the violation, including but not limited to staff time, abatement and inspection costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees. To the extent required by Government Code section 25845, in a nuisance abatement action the prevailing party may recover attorneys' fees; however, an award of attorneys' fees against the County shall not exceed the amount of attorneys' fees incurred by the County in the action.

(b) There shall be no civil liability on the part of, and no cause of action shall arise against, the Building Official or his or her representatives acting pursuant to this section and within the scope of his or her authority.

(Ord. No. NS-1100.38, § 1, 11-2-71; Ord. No. NS-1100.72, § 3, 8-18-87; Ord. No. NS-1100.76, § 1, 1-10-89; Ord. No. NS-1100.92, § 2, 6-7-05; Ord. No. NS-1100.101, § 1, 8-7-07)

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Part 1. Prohibitions and Exemptions

Sec. C12-421. Exemptions.

The following grading work may be performed without obtaining a grading permit, provided the grading work meets the land use requirements of this division, meets the applicable exemption requirements, and does not endanger adjacent property or divert or impair the flow of water in a watercourse, or cause a public nuisance. Any grading work that is done without a permit and not conforming to these limitations and the exemption provisions herein shall be deemed a violation of this ordinance subject to penalties and abatement procedures provided in this chapter.

(a) Minor projects which (1) have cuts and/or fills each of which is less than five feet in vertical depth at their deepest points measured from the natural ground surface, (2) the combined cuts and the combined fills are each less than 150 cubic yards in volume, and (3) do not create unstable slopes. These volume and height limits apply to all work performed regardless of the time period and do not represent annual exempt amounts.

(b) Grading performed by or under the supervision or construction control of a governmental agency, including the County of Santa Clara, where that agency assumes full responsibility for the work, or by a public utility on property owned by the public utility or within recorded public utility easements where the work is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the State of California Public Utilities Commission and the public utility assumes full responsibility for the work.

(c) Valid building permit. Grading in connection with a building, swimming pool, retaining wall, or other structure authorized by a valid building permit. All such grading shall be shown on the approved plans and inspected and approved by the County Building Inspector. This exemption shall not affect the applicability of this chapter to, nor the requirements for, a grading permit for any excavation having an unsupported vertical bank greater than five feet in height after the completion of such structure, or any fill which is removed from the site or not shown on approved plans and inspected.

(d) Agriculture. Grading performed exclusively for the growing of agricultural crops or the raising of livestock. This exemption does not extend to grading work necessary to convert land from non-agricultural use to agricultural use, but rather pertains to grading necessary for the routine planting, cultivation, tilling and harvesting of existing agricultural fields.

(e) Trenching. Trenching, water well drilling, post holes drilling, and grading incidental to the construction or installation of underground irrigation or water supply pipelines, septic tank drainfields, conduits, electrical or communication facilities, provided such work shall be backfilled and shaped to the original contour of the land immediately after the completion of the work or within 45 days after the start of the work, whichever is sooner.

(f) Excavations for soils or geological investigations by a soils engineer or engineering geologist. Such work shall be backfilled and shaped to the original contour of the land under the direction of the soils engineer or engineering geologist immediately after the investigation, or within 45 days after the start of the work, whichever is sooner.

(g) Cemeteries. Excavation or deposition of earth materials within a property which is dedicated for cemetery purposes.

(h) Logging. Grading done pursuant to a valid use permit for timber harvesting operations, unless such use permit also requires a grading permit.

(i) Exemption for dumps, mines and quarries. Grading within the site of a refuse disposal dump, sanitary landfill, quarry or plant for excavating and the processing and stockpiling of rock, sand, gravel, aggregate or clay, provided that such grading or other activities are established and operated in accordance with all laws and the requirements of all permits.

(j) Maintenance of existing firebreaks and roads. Maintenance shall mean keeping the road in substantially the same condition it has been in previously. Prior to the first maintenance operation for each existing firebreak or road, or portion thereof, after adoption of this chapter, a permit shall be obtained from the Building Official as provided herein. Succeeding maintenance operations meeting the requirements of this exemption shall not require a permit.

(k) Soil improvement. The addition of topsoil, compost, sand, loam, or other soil amendments in amounts greater than 150 cubic yards. Amendments shall be added in such a manner that the relative topography of the land shall remain unchanged and the increase in elevation shall not exceed a maximum of one-half foot or such greater depth as may be approved by the Building Official.

(Ord. No. NS-1203.109, § 1, 1-9-01; Ord. No. NS-1203.110, § 1, 9-5-01)

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Part 4. Legal Proceedings

Sec. C12-556. Additional remedies.

(a) Any violation of this chapter or the codes adopted hereunder is hereby declared to be unlawful and a public nuisance.

(b) If this chapter is violated or there is noncompliance with the abatement order provided for, the Building Official may request the County Counsel and/or the District Attorney to initiate legal action.

(c) The remedies provided herein are not exclusive, and shall be in addition to any other remedy or penalty provided by law for violation of this chapter.

(Ord. No. NS-1203.109, § 1, 1-9-01)

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Sec. C12-830. Development permit.

A development permit issued by the Director of Planning and Development shall be obtained before start of construction of a structure or substantial improvement, or before commencement of other development if no structure is to be built or affixed, when the development is subject to the provisions of this chapter and is within any area of special flood hazard. A development permit need not be a separate permit document but, at the discretion of the Director, may consist of a clearance signature integrated into an existing approval process.


(Ord. No. NS-1100.63, § 1, 7-27-82; Ord. No. NS-1100.75, § 6, 8-2-88)