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Common Complaints Not Under the Jurisdiction
of Code Compliance

The County has enacted regulations to promote and protect the public health, safety, peace, morals, comfort, convenience, and general welfare; however, there are issues that do not fall under the jurisdiction of Code Compliance. These are best addressed as civil matters through the court system, mediation through one of the local mediation services or though the appropriate County Department.

  • Privacy concerns: A new addition/deck was constructed and now the neighbors can see into my rear yard or house. Unfortunately, not all building permits require neighbor notification.


  • View protection: With the exception of required coastal and scenic corridors, code compliance does not protect any views. To be protected, views must be a condition-of-approval of a development permit.


  • Trees: Not all trees are protected from removal. The only trees that are protected by the Significant Tree Ordinance, SCC 16.34, are those located in the Coastal Zone or a designated Riparian Corridor and meet the definition of a significant tree. The California Department of Forestry (CDF) enforces timber harvesting and exemptions.


  • Blocked easements and rights-of-way. The County does not guarantee the usability of private easements and rights-of-way. The titleholders of the easement or right-of-way must protect their own rights. Public easements or rights-of-way are maintained by the Department of Public Works.


  • Neglected Properties: The neglected property ordinance, SCC 13.10.566, applies only to residentially zoned parcels and not to commercial properties such as grocery stores. Commercial properties are regulated by commercial development permit conditions-of-approval.


  • Tenant/housing complaints: Code Compliance only enforces the legality of a structure and does not enforce sub-standard housing complaints. Sub-standard housing complaints should be directed to the Environmental Health Department. Illegal units will be required to be vacated. The County of Santa Cruz does not limit the number of people dwelling in a house or require that they be related.


  • Septic concerns such as leaking septic tanks, leach fields and gray water issues should be reported directly to the Environmental Health Department.


  • Property line disputes: Complaints involving property line disputes, such as a fence over the property line, are private civil matters. Complaints alleging structures that encroach over property lines will only investigated if the building is currently under construction without a valid building permit.


  • Drainage: Drainage from one property onto another is a trespass issue. If the drainage system is required as part of a condition-of-approval of a development or building permit and has been altered, Code Compliance would investigate the complaint.


  • Noise: the Sheriff's Department in accordance with SCC Chapter 8.30 handles general noise complaints. If the noise were restricted by a building, development or use permit, Code Compliance would investigate the complaint.


  • Parking issues: Code Compliance enforces only those parking requirements that are conditions-of-approval of development permits.


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