Code Enforcement

Community Development Agency
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The Marin County Community Development Agency has established a code enforcement program to ensure compliance with the County's laws and regulations for land use, zoning, building, housing, and environmental health. The Community Development Agency places a high priority on code enforcement as a means of accomplishing adopted community goals, such as maintaining the quality of neighborhoods, avoiding nuisances, and protecting the environment. The code enforcement program is not intended to be selective or discriminatory against any one individual, group, area, or business. Alleged code violations are investigated by County staff as they are reported or discovered, and steps are taken to resolve confirmed violations prior to initiation of abatement procedures. The Community Development Agency has not been notified of all code violations that currently exist in the County.

 

How to File A Complaint

The Community Development Agency accepts written, signed complaints only. The contact information on the complaint will be kept confidential. Anonymous complaints will not be investigated. 

Please include the address of the violation and any other pertinent information including, but not limited to, the assessor's parcel number and property owner's name. The complaint should provide a clear description of the violation and where it is located on the property. Example -- The property located at 10 Main Street, City contains a junkyard in the rear or 60 First Street, City appears to be constructing an addition at the rear of the property.

Please submit your written complaint to:

Marin County Community Development Agency, Planning Division
Attention: Enforcement
3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 308
San Rafael, CA 94903.
Fax: 415-473-7880
Email: Code Enforcement

To submit a complaint online please visit the Public Service Portal

Frequently Asked Questions (Including notices and steps in the process.)

Notice Information

If you have been notified by the Community Development Agency that a code violation exists on your property, be apprised that the County is not necessarily accusing you of intentionally breaking the law. Many of the code violation cases addressed by the Community Development Agency involve the simple lack of knowledge of a regulation and are resolved through voluntary efforts of the property owner. The County is, however, asking you to abide by the regulations which have been applied to your particular community or the County as a whole in the interest of protecting the quality of life and the public health and welfare.

The following are basic steps in the code enforcement process and explain the actions you can take to resolve code violations in a timely manner.

Click on a question to see the answer, or Open All Questions.

  • Why Me? Am I being singled out?

    In all likelihood, you received a notice from the County regarding a code violation on your property because:

    • The County received a formal complaint from a concerned citizen in the area. The names of the complainants are maintained on a confidential basis by the County.
    • The code violation was discovered and referred to the County for investigation by another public agency.
    • The code violation was discovered by County staff during the course of business regarding an unrelated matter.

    The code enforcement process is conducted on a Countywide basis, and all complaints are treated equally and processed according to the same administrative procedures. The County is legally required to resolve code violations which are confirmed through investigations, and cannot simply dismiss them at the request of the property owner.

  • What can I do to resolve the code violation?

    In general, the most effective way to resolve code violations is to act quickly by contacting the code enforcement staff person assigned to the case and discuss the nature of the code violation, information that you may provide to address the code violation, and options that may be available for resolution of the code violation. Because the code enforcement program is a cost recovery program it is to your economic benefit to act expeditiously in correcting any violations of the code.

  • What will happen next?

    Voluntary compliance to correct code violations is the primary objective of the County's code enforcement program. To this end, the Community Development Agency staff is interested in finding solutions to code enforcement problems through meetings or correspondence with the property owner. Code enforcement actions involving abatement hearings and assessment of penalties are taken by the County as a secondary approach when attempts to gain compliance through voluntary efforts by the property owner are unsuccessful.

    Code violations involving lands uses, structures, or other physical improvements which are permitted by the County's land use regulations can be resolved by the property owner submitting and subsequently receiving approval of development applications proposing to legalize the use or structures that has been undertaken without proper County permits. Code violations for other development activities which are not permitted may be remedied by abatement, relocation or other modification. You should contact the Community Development Agency staff member assigned to your code violation to discuss the options for correcting code violations.

  • What if the violation is not corrected in a timely manner?

    If voluntary compliance is not accomplished in a timely manner, then the code violation will be scheduled for an abatement hearing before the County Code Enforcement Hearing Officer. The Code Enforcement Hearing Officer is a member of the California Bar who is appointed by the Marin County Board of Supervisors to conduct abatement hearings and render decisions regarding code violations. The abatement hearings are conducted in accordance with adopted procedures that ensure fundamental fairness to all affected parties and guide impartial decisions. At a code enforcement hearing, you will be given the opportunity to present evidence as to why the use of your property is not in violation of the County Code.

  • What happens of the Code Enforcement Hearing Officer determines that a violation exists?

    If the Code Enforcement Hearing Officer determines that a violation exists, you will be issued a written order that the illegal uses(s) must be abated in a prescribed manner within a definite time frame. In addition, you will be asked to pay all costs incurred by the County for conducting code enforcement actions and possible civil penalties. These monetary fines will become a lien against your property in the same manner as your property taxes. The lien and assessment can be avoided by abating the code violation and paying the County enforcement costs and civil penalties within a time certain after the Hearing Officer issues an order. Otherwise, the lien will be released when the code violations are abated and the enforcement costs and penalties are paid to the County.

    Keep in mind, however, that the County's primary concern is to resolve the code violation by working cooperatively with you prior to a code enforcement hearing. The code enforcement hearing process, including abatement orders and assessment of enforcement costs and penalties are only necessary if all efforts to correct or otherwise remedy the violation are unsuccessful.