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During the course of the review of various permit applications with the County Planning Department, there are certain actions that are appealable or can be protested. Appeals or protests may be filed on the following actions:

Type of Appeal

Appealed by

Heard by

Appeal Period

Determination of Coastal Exclusion, Appeal Jurisdiction or Requirement for Coastal Development Permit

Applicant

Executive Director, California Coastal Commission

14 business days of determination

Historic Resource Commission Actions

Applicant/Public

Board of Supervisors

14 calendar days from date of action

Agricultural Policy Advisory Commission Actions

Applicant/Public

Board of Supervisors

14 calendar days from date of action

Type of Protest

Protested by

Heard by

Protest Period

Notice of Intent to Record a Code Violation

Property Owner

Planning Director

20 calendar days from date of notice

WHEN TO APPEAL/PROTEST
For all appeals or protests, a letter and the required fee (if applicable) must be received by the Planning Department no later than 5:00 PM on the last day of the appeal/protest period noted in the table above. If the last day falls on a weekend or holiday, the appeal/protest period will end at 5:00 PM the next business day. The first day of the appeal/protest period is the day following the action.

HOW TO appeal

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

  1. Whose decision is being appealed? Give the date of the decision.
  2. Give the applicant's name, the application number, and the Assessor's Parcel Number (APN).
  3. State your name
  4. What are your reasons for appealing?
  5. Bring your letter and the fee (if applicable) 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 fee. Call (831) 454-2130 or see the Zoning Counter for the current fee. Make the check payable to the County of Santa Cruz.

HOW APPEALS ARE DECIDED

Coastal Determinations

This appeal may be filed by the applicant as a part of either the building or discretionary permit review process. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Planning Director, or his/her designee, will telephone the Executive Director of the Coastal Commission, or the Director of the regional office. The Planning Director will describe the determination made by County staff and the basis for appeal, and will request a determination by the Executive Director. Within two (2) days, the Executive Director shall reply. If the Executive Director concurs with the County's determination, the action is final. If the Executive Director's determination is different than the County's, the Executive Director shall place the disputed determination on the next agenda of the Coastal Commission for consideration and action.

 Historic Resources Commission/Agricultural Policy Advisory Commission Appeals

Any actions of the Historic Resources Commission (HRC) or the Agricultural Policy Advisory Commission (APAC) are appealable to the Board of Supervisors. Upon receipt of an appeal, the Planning Department will place a letter on the Board's agenda to schedule a public hearing to consider the appeal. The Board's action on the appeal is final. If the Board substantially modifies the project considered by the HRC or APAC, the Board must refer the matter back to the HRC or APAC for a recommendation.

HOW TO PROTEST A NOTICE OF VIOLATION

The property owner must write a letter to the Planning Director and include the following information:

  1. List the date of the issuance of the Notice of Violation and the Intent to Record
  2. Give the Assessor's Parcel Number (APN).
  3. State your name
  4. What are your reasons for protesting? Describe any evidence you will be presenting to demonstrate that a violation does not exist.
  5. Bring or mail your letter to the Planning Department on the 4th Floor at 701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz no later than 5:00 PM on the last day of the protest period. Mailed protests must also be received in the Planning Department by that date and time. Postmarks will not be accepted.

There is no fee to protest a Notice of Intent to Record a Code Violation. However, after reviewing the evidence, if the Planning Director or his designee determines that all of the cited violations do exist on the property, then enforcement costs will be assessed for the staff time to prepare for and attend the protest meeting, to review the evidence, and to render a decision.

HOW PROTESTS ARE DECIDED

Notice of Intent to Record a Violation

Following the issuance of a Notice of Intent to Record a Violation, the property owner may protest the notice to the Planning Director. The Planning Director, or his/her designee, will meet with the property owner to consider evidence that the violation does not exist. If the Planning Director determines that no violation exists, the Notice of Intent to record a Violation will be rescinded. If the Planning Director determines that a violation does exist, the Planning Department may record a Notice of Violation on the subject property.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

This brochure summarizes miscellaneous appeal and protest processes. To review the codified regulations regarding these appeals and protests, please refer to the following:

Appeals of Coastal determinations - County Code Section 13.20.085
Historic Resources Commission Appeals - County Code Section 16.42.060
Agricultural Policy Advisory Commission (APAC) Appeals - County Code Section 16.50.100
General Permit appeals - County Code Section 18.10.300 et seq
Protests of Notice of Intent to Record a Violation - County Code Sections 19.01.070 and 08

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