Nuisance Conditions in Urban Residential Property


The following Section 6.64.030 of the Alameda County General Code, current as of July 26, 2000, defines those conditions of property that constitute a nuisance, for which the county is empowered to order abatement (action that will remove or ameliorate the nuisance).

In addition to the conditions described here, County Code section 6.48.030 states that "any abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle or parts thereof located on public or private property" is a public nuisance that shall be abated by county officials.

In the following ordinance the term "blight and property degradation" means "the condition of a specific property or group of properties that would be offensive in the eyes of the public as compared to standards of maintenance of at least seventy-five percent of the properties in that community or neighborhood where those items or conditions are visible from public or private streets." (Section 6.64.020)



Section 6.64.030 Unlawful urban residential property nuisance.

It shall be unlawful for any person owning, leasing, renting, occupying or having charge or possession of any urban residential property in the county to maintain the property or to allow the property to be maintained in a manner such that any of the following conditions are found to exist thereon and be visible from a public street or approved private street for an unreasonable period of time as determined by the enforcement officer, except as otherwise stated herein or as may be allowed by any other provision of law or when existing in conjunction with a lawfully existing home occupation use. The prohibited conditions are:

A. Unlawful Outdoor Storage.

1. The accumulation of abandoned, discarded or dilapidated objects, including but not limited to broken or neglected equipment, machine parts, scrap material, appliances, furniture, household equipment and furnishings, shopping carts, containers, packing materials, salvage materials, firewood, plant cuttings, litter, rubbish and debris, or similar materials that constitute a threat to the health or safety of any person or contribute to conditions that cause blight and property degradation. This prohibition includes the accumulation of litter, rubbish and debris in any yard that extends above lawful fencing and is unscreened from view of an adjoining property. Upon written notice that sets forth prohibited conditions on vacant lots, the enforcement officer may order the property to be enclosed by chain link or equal fencing;

2. The accumulation of dirt, sand, gravel, concrete, or other similar material not incorporated into landscaped areas on the property;

3. Attractive nuisances generally considered dangerous to children including abandoned, broken or neglected vehicles, equipment, machinery, refrigerators and freezers, hazardous pools, ponds and excavations;

4. Boats, trailers, camper shells, recreational vehicles, vehicle parts or other articles of personal property that are left in a state of partial construction or disrepair;

B. Landscaping and Vegetation.

1. Dead or hazardous trees, other vegetation that is unsightly or dangerous to public health, safety and welfare, or contributes to blight and property degradation;

2. Overgrown vegetation likely to: harbor rats, vermin and other nuisances dangerous to public health; cause a detriment to neighboring property; contribute to conditions that cause blight and property degradation, or grow into the public right-of-way such that it obstructs the view of drivers on public streets or private driveways, or substantially obstructs the use of a public sidewalk area;

3. Lawn areas that are dead and/or exceed a height of twelve (12) inches from grade; or lack plant material necessary to prevent erosion or prevent an unsightly landscape appearance that contributes to conditions that cause blight and property degradation;

C. Trash and Recycling Containers.

1. Trash, garbage, recycling or greenwaste cans, bins, boxes or other such containers stored for more than forty-eight (48) hours including trash and recycling pick-up day for such property in any front or street side yard, public street, private driveway and public sidewalk area unless otherwise authorized by the enforcement officer;

2. Permanent dumpsters, debris boxes and other such trash containers that are unscreened from view from the street;

3. Trash or garbage containers, permanent dumpsters, debris boxes and other such trash containers without covers that fit securely; this provision shall not apply to debris boxes or recycling containers;

D. Buildings and Structures.

1. Buildings that are dilapidated, abandoned, boarded up, partially destroyed, have broken windows or broken windows secured with wood or other materials, or that are left in a state of partial construction or demolition, or disrepair;

2. Buildings that are unpainted (except color coated or natural finish coated), or where the paint on the building exterior is mostly worn off, cracked or peeling; or where roofing or other exterior materials or components are deteriorated, mostly infected with dry rot, or warped so as to constitute an unsightly appearance; or contribute to blight and property degradation;

F. Fences and Gates.

1. Fences, gates and similar structures that are sagging, leaning, missing boards, fallen or otherwise in an unsafe condition, or constitute an unsightly appearance, or are left in a state of partial construction or disrepair;

G. Graffiti.

1. Graffiti including but not limited to words, symbols or drawings on the exterior of any building, fence, wall, pole or other structure;

H. Parking Limitations.

1. Wrecked vehicles, recreational vehicles, travel trailers, utility trailers, unmounted camper tops, or boats with significantly cracked or dust-covered wind shields, mostly peeling or faded paint, flat tires, or major body damage stored in violation of Alameda County General Code Sections 17.52.330 (Yard regulations) and where applicable, 17.30.150 (RV combining district - Regulations);

2. Recreational vehicles, travel trailers, utility trailers, unmounted camper tops and boats stored in violation of Alameda County General Code Sections 17.52.330 (Yard regulations) and where applicable, 17.30.150 (RV combining district - Regulations);

3. Vehicles parked or stored on other than a driveway or parking area constructed with an all-weather concrete, brick or similar material and extending at least twenty (20) feet from road right-of-way;

4. Except as allowed under Alameda County General Code Sections 17.52.310 (Accessory building - In front yard) and excluding any standard walkway or driveway, parking or storage of vehicles in the front yard or street side yard exceeding more than fifty (50) percent of the width of the lot;

I. Vehicle Repair.

1. The performance of major mechanical or body repairs, or dismantling of any motorized or nonmotorized vehicle, unmounted camper top, boat or part thereof, in a location visible from the street. This section shall not prohibit the registered owner of a vehicle or boat, or part thereof, from performing minor repair on said vehicle in the driveway or other paved surface of a residence, provided that the vehicle or boat is registered to someone living at the residence and that any such minor repair is completed within seventy-two (72) hours;

J. Sidewalks, Parking Strips and Gutters.

1. Allowing the accumulation of any material, the placement of any object, or any overgrown vegetation that obstructs the view of drivers on public streets or private driveways, or substantially obstructs the use of a public sidewalk area;

2. Allowing overgrown vegetation or the accumulation of abandoned, discarded or dilapidated objects, including but not limited to broken or neglected equipment, machine parts, scrap material, appliances, furniture, household equipment and furnishings, shopping carts, containers, vehicle parts, packing materials, salvage materials, firewood, plant cuttings, litter, rubbish and debris or similar materials in that area between the sidewalk and the curb commonly known as a "parking strip";

3. Allowing the accumulation of leaves, litter, debris or weeds in the gutter in front or street side of any property;

K. Garage Sales.

1. Garage sales in excess of two per property in any calendar year, and any garage sale lasting longer than two consecutive days unless otherwise authorized by the enforcement officer;

L. Miscellaneous.

1. Any other condition or use of a property that gives rise to a reasonable determination by the enforcement officer that such condition or use represents a threat to the health and welfare of the public by virtue of its unsafe, dangerous or hazardous nature; or that is out of harmony with the standards of properties in the vicinity so as to cause a diminution of the enjoyment and use of the property; or contributes to blight or property degradation.


Legislative History

Ord. 99-49 § 1 (part): Ord.. 93-86 § 1 (part): prior gen. code § 3-302.0


Reposted by San Lorenzo Express