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Visual Blight and Noise

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Visual Blight and Noise

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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 view

--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 City Codes.


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 safety hazards).

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 Compliance Investigation

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  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 Coordinator daily.


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 (

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 quiet begins.


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  neighborhood.


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.


Parties should 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 day.


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  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 live band. 


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).]


Alcohol related 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.


Parking rules 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. 


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Site updated 8/12/2005.
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