Request for Administrative Hearing
A responsible party who is issued an administrative citation may request an administrative hearing to contest the citation. A citation review is not required prior to requesting an administrative hearing. A request for an administrative hearing must be received within twenty-one (21) days from service of the citation, or within fourteen (14) days from the mailing of the notice of decision after the citation review. The request shall include the deposit of the fine, unless a hardship waiver has been timely requested.
The deposit must be made in the form of a certified check or cash (not personal check, credit card, or money order). The hearing date shall be set within sixty (60) days from the date of mailing of the request for a hearing. Written notice of the date, time, and location of the hearing shall be provided to the responsible party by personal service, or by mail post-marked at least fifteen (15) days prior to the hearing date.
A responsible party’s failure to request an administrative hearing may be deemed a waiver of the right to an administrative hearing by the responsible party when the Division has not received a timely request for a hearing, or a timely deposit of the fine, or a timely request for a hardship waiver.
CLICK HERE for a Request for Citation Review or Administrative Hearing Form.
Conduct of the Administrative Hearing.
1. Hearing Body - An administrative hearing shall be held before an assigned, impartial Hearing Body, whose decision may be appealed to the Superior Court pursuant to Section 53069.4(b) of the Government Code. The Hearing Body shall be comprised of a Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer shall be selected from a rotating panel of qualified individuals. The Hearing Officer shall remain neutral and impartial in his/her duties. The employment, performance, evaluation, compensation, benefits of the hearing officer, if any, shall not be directly or indirectly conditioned on or in any way related to the results or prior decisions issued by the hearing officer.
2. Powers of Hearing Officers - The Hearing Officer shall have those powers set forth in Sections 27721 and 27722 of the Government Code, including the power to decide a matter upon which a hearing has been held, the power to make findings of fact and conclusions of law required for the decision, the power to administer subpoenas, the power to receive evidence, the power to administer oaths, the power to rule on questions of law and the admissibility of evidence, and the power to prepare a record of the proceeding. The Hearing Officer shall continue a hearing only upon a showing of good cause
3. Fairness of Hearing - Hearings shall be conducted in a manner suitable to ensure fundamental fairness to all parties concerned. The Administrative Hearing Officer shall, at a minimum, ensure that the parties have a reasonable opportunity to be heard regarding the violation, to present relevant evidence, and to have the opportunity to cross examine any witnesses and controvert any evidence presented.
4. Evidentiary Rules - Pursuant to Government Code Section 11513, the administrative hearing need not be conducted according to technical rules relating to evidence and witnesses. Any evidence deemed relevant by the Hearing Officer shall be admissible if it is the type of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs. Unduly repetitious or irrelevant evidence may be excluded at the discretion of the Hearing Officer. Hearsay evidence may be admitted for purposes of supplementing or explaining other evidence, but over timely objection shall not be sufficient by itself to support a finding unless the hearsay would be admissible over objection in a civil action. Rules of privilege shall apply to the extent that they would be required by statute to be recognized at the hearing. The Hearing Officer shall reserve the right to exclude evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the probability that its admission will necessitate undue consumption of time.
5. Hearing Procedures - The Hearing Officer shall ordinarily proceed in the following order when conducting Administrative Citation Hearings;
(a) County staff’s presentation shall proceed first, and may be presented orally, in writing, or a combination thereof.
The presentation shall include identification of the property, a summary of the history and matters at issue, a staff
analysis of the legal and factual issues related to the Code violation(s), and a recommended decision.
(b) A presentation by or on behalf of the property owner if he/she so chooses.
(c) A presentation by tenants or other occupants of the subject property, if other than the owner.
(d) Other persons whose interests may be affected by the proceeding.
(e) The County shall be entitled to rebuttal.
During the course of the hearing, the Hearing Officer may question any witness. Cross examination of a witness by each party shall be permitted. Visual materials and exhibits may be used if deemed relevant, and shall become part of the public record and property of the County, except upon stipulation of the parties that the originals may be returned. The Hearing officer may establish reasonable time limits for presentations. Testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation.
At any time before the matter is deemed submitted for decision by the Hearing Officer, any interested party may submit written evidence or argument by providing one copy to the Hearing Officer and opposing party, and making one copy available for public review. Ex-parte communication shall not be permitted.
After all of the testimony is taken, the Hearing Officer shall close the public hearing unless he or she deems it necessary to continue the hearing for receipt of additional evidence. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall take the matter under submission, and within ten (10) days of taking the matter under submission shall render a written decision, including any findings or conclusions required for that decision, and submit the decision and the record to the clerk of the Community Development Agency.
6. Field Trips - Whenever the Hearing Officer finds that a view of the site where the alleged violation(s) occurred would be proper and would aid in the determination of the case, the Hearing Officer may proceed to the subject property. Following the view, the Hearing Officer shall state on the record the visual observations made and the conclusions drawn as a result of the visit.
7. Recording - All proceedings shall be recorded by mechanical means. If a transcript of the proceeding is requested, the requesting party shall be responsible for the scheduling and payment of a court reporter to transcribe the hearing.
8. Recusal of Hearing Officer - At the time the Administrative Citation Hearing is noticed, the name of the Hearing Officer shall be included in the notice. Within five (5) days of the notice being mailed, posted, or published, any individual desiring to recuse the Hearing Officer shall notify the Community Development Agency of the specific factual basis for seeking recusal. Failure to notify the Community Development Agency within the five day period shall be deemed a waiver of any right to recuse the assigned Hearing Officer at the Administrative Citation Hearing. In the event the Hearing Officer denies that a conflict of interest exists, the Planning Director or other designee shall hear evidence, consider the matter, and render a decision regarding whether a conflict of interest exists.
Final Administrative Order
If the Hearing Officer determines at the conclusion of the administrative hearing that the responsible party violated the Code, the Hearing Officer’s order shall describe the violation(s) and may determine a penalty which may include fines, fees, costs, and charges. An order of the Hearing Body becomes final when it has been upheld on appeal or the time for appeal has run. A final administrative order shall be served on the parties within ten (10) days after the hearing. If the order validates any part of the citation, then the parties shall be informed of the following:
1. The final amount of any fine imposed by the Hearing Officer shall be determined and payable to the Community Development Agency’s Fiscal Unit within thirty (30) days of the final order, and any deposit in excess of the fine shall be ordered to be returned. In the event that the responsible party seeks judicial review of the final administrative order, payment of any fines, fees, costs, or charges shall be stayed pending the decision of the Superior Court.
2. Pursuant to Section 53069.4(b) of the Government Code, a responsible party may seek judicial review of the final administrative hearing order or decision by filing a timely appeal with the Superior Court within twenty (20) days after service of the final administrative order. The Superior Court shall hear the appeal de novo, except that the contents of the Code Compliance Division’s file shall be received in evidence. If the decision of the court is against the responsible party, and the administrative fine has not been deposited within thirty (30) days of the court’s final order, the County may proceed to collect the penalty pursuant to the procedures set forth in L-II 5.23.K.
Payment and Collection of Administrative Penalty.
In the event the responsible party fails to pay the administrative penalty and costs when due, the County may take any action permitted by law to collect the unpaid administrative penalty. Such action may include, but is not limited to, recordation of a lien on the subject property, including lien pursuant to Government Code Section 54988, or a small claims action for a civil money judgment. The County shall provide the owner of the property with a minimum of thirty (30) days written notice of intent to commence collection of the administrative penalty, including the intended method of collection. Notice shall be deemed to have been received by the responsible party five (5) days after it was sent by certified mail to the responsible party's last known address, upon which the responsible party will have forty-five (45) days to pay the penalty. If the responsible party fails to pay the penalty within forty-five (45) days of notice of intent to commence collection proceedings, the County is authorized to commence collection proceedings. If the method of collection is by lien, the responsible party may request to appear before the Board of Supervisors to be heard regarding the amount of the proposed lien.
Ord. #2307, 01/12/10; Ord. #2286, 05/12/09; Ord. #2284, 3/24/09; entire Chapter II repealed and reenacted by Ord. #2253, 10/23/07; Ord. #2232, 2/27/07; Ord. #2187, 8/23/05; Ord. #2139, 4/15/04; comprehensive changes Ord. #2090, 7/9/02; Entire Chapter II repealed and re-enacted by Ord. #2033, 6/27/00.