Visual Blight and Noise
IVY TOWN NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION (draft document)
What is Visual Blight?
Visual blight is defined in the Davis city code as “any
reasonable or unlawful condition or use of real property, premises or of
building exteriors which by reason of its appearance as viewed at ground level
from the public right-of-way or from neighboring premises, is detrimental to
the property of others or to the value of the property of others, offensive to
the senses, or reduces the aesthetic appearance of the neighborhood.”
Visual blight includes: (a) the keeping, storing,
depositing, scattering over or accumulation on the premises any of lumber,
junk, trash, debris, scrap metal, rubbish, packing materials, and building
materials (except those being used for construction for which a building permit
has been issued); (b) abandoned, discarded or unused objects or equipment such
as furniture, stoves, appliances, refrigerators, freezers, cans or containers,
automotive parts and equipment; abandoned, wrecked, disabled, dismantled, or
inoperative vehicles or parts (except
inoperative vehicles that are registered and are in an active state of
renovation or restoration; (c) any personal property, object, debris,
decoration, design, fence, structure, clotheslines, landscaping or vegetation
which is unsightly by reason of its
condition or it inappropriate location,” and (d) vehicles parked on any
surface other an “improved surface” or “driveway.”
Who is Responsible
for Property Maintenance and Correcting Code Violations?
The property owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring
that code violations are corrected.
However, the property tenants may also have an obligation (through the
rental agreement) to keep the property in good condition and free from code violations. Tenants are required to take reasonable care
of the rented property and are responsible for damages caused by him/her or
anyone else for (e.g. children and guests) that result from neglect or
abuse. The landlord is responsible for
repairing conditions that seriously affect the rental unit’s habitability. For less serious repairs, responsibility to
make repairs is often determined by the rental agreement.
Common Code Violations
The most common code violations in the City of Davis are
those that are in public view. While
there are many possible code violations, according to the city, the most common
code violations in Davis include:
--Uncontrolled grass or weeds (over 4 inches tall) in public
view lacking regular maintenance
--Dry grass and weeds that present a fire hazard
--Materials placed on the street or sidewalk
--Garbage/trash scattered around the property
--Indoor furniture on the front of the property in public
--Dilapidated or inoperative vehicles parked on private
property and in public view
--Construction activity without required zoning approvals
and/or building permits.
The City’s Code Compliance Program is a citizen-based
program that inspects and investigates complaints from city residents. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Code
Compliance Coordinator will conduct a site visit to investigate the reported
violation. After confirmation of the
violation, the Coordinator will take necessary steps to gain compliance with
Steps Involved in Enforcing Code Compliance
1. The Code
Compliance Coordinator receives a request for investigation.
2. A site
investigation takes place within 5 working days (within 1 working day for
3. If the violation
exists, the coordinator proceeds to the next step. If no violation exists, the case is closed.
4. A Notice of
Violation and Notice to Correct is issued to the property owner and the tenant
explaining the code violation, how to correct the violation, and the expected
date of compliance. The City of Davis
Code requires a minimum of 10 days be provided for compliance.
5. A second site
investigation takes place. If the
violation still exists, the coordinator proceeds to the next step. If the violation no longer exists the case
is closed and a thank you letter is sent.
6. A Notice of
Violation is sent and a $100 penalty is issued to both the property owner and
tenant an additional 10 days for
compliance is provided.
7. A third site
investigation takes place. If the
violation still exists, the coordinator proceeds to the next step. If no violation exists, the case is closed
and a thank you letter is sent.
8. A notice of
violation is sent and penalties accrue (up to $300) until the violation is
resolved. If the property is still in
violation after the $300 penalty, the City will seek alternative remedies,
including court orders, abatement, or other legal remedies.
9. If a similar
violation occurs on the same property within one year, an immediate $100
penalty may be issued.
How to Request a Code
Code Compliance investigations are initiated on a complaint
basis. It is the City Davis’ policy to
make every effort to keep the complainants information anonymous. Anonymous complaints are accepted; however,
citizens are encouraged to leave a name and a phone number so that the City can
follow up on the status of the complaint or to ask clarification questions.
A request for
investigation can be filed in one of two ways:
--Complete a request for investigation form and submit it to
the Planning & Building Department.
The form is available at the Planning and Building Department, 23
Russell Boulevard, or online at www.ci.davis.ca.us/pb/forms/investigation.cmf. Completed requests may be submitted via
e-mail, hand delivered to City Hall, or sent by U.S. mail.
--Call the Code Enforcement Hotline at 530-757-5646, and
leave a detailed message including the address of the property and a detailed
description of the code violation.
These messages are transcribed and forwarded to the Code Compliance
It is the city’s goal to investigate code violations within
5 working days of the investigation requests.
Safety hazards will be investigated within one working day.
This information is excerpted from the Code Compliance
section of the City of Davis website (www.ci.davis.ca.us)
Be a Good Neighbor
Living in a pleasant neighborhood requires a commitment to
courtesy, and consideration from every resident. In general, keeping the Golden Rule in mind helps. How would you want your neighbors to behave
towards you? What behavior would you
object to? Positive behavior can be
stated briefly as the following three “R’s of Neighborliness.
RIGHTS – You have the right to engage in whatever
behavior you like (as long as it isn’t criminal). That right ends, however, at the boundaries of your
property. With regard to noise, for
example, your right to make noise ends where your neighbor’s right to peace and
RESPONSIBILITIES – You are responsible for your own
behavior and also for the behavior of those who visit your house. And you and your visitors have the
responsibility to behave in a fashion that befits the neighborhood where you are. For example, loud, inconsiderate behavior
may be tolerated on University campuses, but in a residential neighborhood of
working professionals and young families, such behavior is inappropriate.
RESPECT – Neighbors need to treat each other in a
respectful fashion. In order to know
what behavior is respectful and what is not, you need to think of how your
behavior might affect others. It is
your responsibility to fit into the neighborhood – not your neighbors’
responsibility to adapt to you.
The following items are specific considerations important to
maintaining good relationships in the Ivy Town
Trash cans should
be stored inside your yard until the night before trash day, Friday.
[VERIFY]. Bring them back in quickly –
Davis Waste Removal requires that cans may be placed in the street no earlier
than 5:00 p.m. prior to the day of pick up.
Remove the cart no later than 7 a.m. the day after pick up. Clean up any spillage.
Dogs are not
allowed to roam the neighborhood. Keep
them on leash during walks and clean up excrement immediately.
not create problems for your neighbors.
Notify neighbors prior to the event.
Try to schedule parties for weekends, not weekdays. Ask your guests to be considerate. Make sure your guests park legally. Keep noise at a reasonable level. Confine the festivities to your own house
and yard. Turn the music down in
accordance with city noise regulations.
Clean up any cups or other trash left around the neighborhood the next
Noise – The City
of Davis has a strict noise ordinance.
A copy of the City Noise Ordinance (Chapter 24 of the City Municipal
Code) is available online at www.ci.davis.ca.us/cmo/citycode. The Code is enforced upon complaint and
neighbors are within their rights to call the police. A fine will be assessed and increases with each re-occurrence or
infraction. Noise permits are required
for events with 150 or more people attending, use amplified sound or an outdoor
The City Code outlines the limits and laws of the city noise
ordinance. “Notwithstanding any other
provision of this section, no person shall produce, suffer or allow to be
produced any sound on any private or public property, which is audible to a
person of normal hearing sensitiveness within any dwelling units of a
residential planned development or residentially zoned property, when the
windows and doors of the dwelling unit are closed, except within any dwelling
unit in which the sound source or sources are located or which is occupied or
controlled by the person controlling such source; unless the permission, either
written or verbal, of the occupants of all affected dwelling units has been
obtained. During the hours of nine a.m.
through ten p.m, Sunday through Thursday, and nine a.m. through twelve-thirty
a.m. the following day, Friday and Saturday, such permission shall be presumed
to be granted by occupants of all affected dwelling units; provided, that any
affected person may withdraw such consent at nay time. Such withdrawal of consent may be
accomplished by either verbal or written request to the person causing, or
allowing, such sound to be made, or by making such request to the city police
department who then shall notify the person causing, or allowing such sound to be made.” [City of
Davis, Municipal Code, Article 24.02.020 (c).]
problems are of great concern to the Davis community. Regulations relating to the use, possession and sale of alcoholic
beverages are strictly enforced. The
City has a strict party ordinance that makes it the responsibility of the
property owners and/or the party host to keep alcoholic beverages away from
minors. Prevention is the best way to
avoid problems. If you are planning a
party, be sure that ample food and non-alcoholic beverages are provided and that
transportation home is available for those who have had too much to drink. Hosts may be held personally liable if an
intoxicated person or a minor is served alcoholic beverages and after leaving
the party kills or injures anyone else or themselves while driving.
need to be obeyed but common courtesy is important as well. Try to park on you own property or in front
of your own house. Allow space for
homeowners to place yard waste on the street for weekly pickup.