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Appeals for Building Permit Applications

During the course of the review of a building permit with the County Planning Department, there are certain actions that are appealable. Appeals may be filed on the following actions:

The following appeals are filed with the Planning Department (see "How to Appeal")

Type of Appeal Appealed by Heard by Appeal Period
1.Building Code (interpretation of code requirements; accessibility) Property owner or other aggrieved person Board of Supervisors 14 calendar days from date of service
2.Building Code Administrative Determinations (time extensions, fees, etc) Property owner or other aggrieved person Planning Director (Administrative Appeal) 14 calendar days from date of service
3.Building Permit application review by other reviewers, as provided below:      
Zoning Plan Check Applicant Planning Director (Administrative Appeal) 14 calendar days from date of service
Env. Planning (Biotic Review, Riparian Corridors, Archaeological) Applicant Planning Director (Administrative Appeal) 14 calendar days from date of service
Grading/Erosion Control
Geologic Review
Property owner or other aggrieved person Board of Supervisors 14 calendar days from date of service
Soils Reports Property owner or other aggrieved person Board of Supervisors 14 calendar days from date of service
DPW - Roads Applicant Planning Director (Administrative Appeal) 14 calendar days from date of service
DPW - Drainage Property owner or other aggrieved person Board of Supervisors 14 calendar days from date of service
DPW - Driveways Applicant Planning Director (Administrative Appeal) 14 calendar days from date of service

The following appeals are filed with applicable departments and/or agencies as noted

Type of Appeal Appealed by Heard by Appeal Period
3.Building Permit application review by other reviewers, as provided below:      
 Sanitation District Applicant Sanitation District Board of Directors 14 calendar days from date of service
Env. Health Services (septic tanks, wells, health permits) Applicant Environmental Health Appeals 10 days
County Fire – Addressing/Street Naming Property owner or other aggrieved person County Fire Marshal 14 calendar days from date of service
4. Fire Code determinations by CDF/County Fire Dept Beneficially interested party Board of Supervisors 14 calendar days from date of service
4. Fire Code determinations by an independent Fire District Beneficially interested party Fire District Board of Directors 10 days

NOTE - It is always recommended that applicants discuss concerns with the review of their Building Permits with the reviewers before filing an appeal. Most of the time, the issue can be resolved without the time and expense of an appeal.

WHEN TO APPEAL
Except for appeals of determinations made by the County Fire Department, Sanitation, Environmental Health or an Independent Fire District, an appeal letter and the required appeal fee (if applicable) must be received by the Planning Department no later than 5:00 PM on the last day of the appeal period noted in the table above. If the last day falls on a weekend or holiday, the appeal period will end at 5:00 PM the next business day. The first day of the appeal period is the day following the date of service.

HOW TO APPEAL
The appellant must write a letter to the appropriate official or body and include the following information:

  • Whose decision is being appealed? 
  • Give the applicant's name, the application number, and the Assessor's Parcel Number (APN).
  • State your name
  • What decision or determination is being appealed? Why?
  • Signatures of all appellants and mailing address
  • Bring your letter and the appeal fee to the Zoning Counter on the 4th Floor at 701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz no later than 5:00 PM on the last day of the appeal period. Mailed appeals must also be received in the Planning Department by that date and time. Postmarks will not be accepted.

An appeal will not be accepted without the appropriate fee. Call (831) 454-2130 or see the Zoning Counter for the current appeal fees. 

Appeals of determinations by the County Fire Department, Sanitation District, Environmental Health Services or an Independent Fire District must be delivered to the appropriate agency as listed above no later than 5:00 PM on the last day of the appeal period noted in the table above. If the last day falls on a weekend or holiday, the appeal period will end at 5:00 PM the next business day .
 
HOW APPEALS ARE DECIDED

Administrative Appeals
Certain County staff determinations rendered in the review of a building permit application may be appealed by the applicant to the Planning Director, the Sanitation District Board of Directors, the Environmental Health Appeals Commission (septic tanks); the EHS Director (for all others), or the County Fire Marshal or independent Fire District Board of Directors. Action on appeals to the Planning Department must commence on the appeal within 20 business days and the applicant and/or appellant will be notified of the decision in writing within 60 days of the appeal submittal. The decision is final unless a member of the Board of Supervisors requests consideration of the matter.

Appeals to the Board of Supervisors
Certain types of issues may be appealed to the County Board of Supervisors, including Fire Code determinations of the County Fire Department and issues related to the use of alternative materials, interpretations of the adopted County amendments to the UBC and accessibility requirements. The Board of Supervisors must commence its review within 30 days of the appeal or no later than the first regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors following the end of the 30 day period if the setting period ends during a time that the Board of Supervisors is not in regular session. The Board must render a final decision no later than 14 calendar days following the opening of the appeal hearing except that the Board may extend the deadline if it determines that additional time is needed. Any decision by the Board of Supervisors is final.Certain types of issues may be appealed to the County Board of Supervisors, including Fire Code determinations of the County Fire Department and issues related to the use of alternative materials, interpretations of the adopted County amendments to the UBC and accessibility requirements. The Board of Supervisors must commence its review within 30 days of the appeal or no later than the first regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors following the end of the 30 day period if the setting period ends during a time that the Board of Supervisors is not in regular session. The Board must render a final decision no later than 14 calendar days following the opening of the appeal hearing except that the Board may extend the deadline if it determines that additional time is needed. Any decision by the Board of Supervisors is final

FOR MORE INFORMATION

This brochure summarizes the various appeal processes for Building Permits.  To review the codified regulations regarding appeals, please refer to the following
General Permit Appeals County Code Section 18.10.300 et seq
Building and Fire Code Appeals Board County Code Sections 7.92; 12.10; 12.12
Environmental Health Appeals Commission County Code Sections 2.56; Various Chapter 7 ordinances
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