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A. The council finds that there is a need for alternative methods of enforcement of the Murrieta Municipal Code and applicable state codes in addition to the penalties provided by Section 1.32.010. The council further finds that the assessment of civil penalties is a necessary alternative method of code enforcement. The administrative assessment of civil penalties established in this section is in addition to any other remedies established by law which may be pursued to address Municipal Code or state law violations.
B. Civil penalties may be assessed against a responsible party for continued violations of the municipal code or applicable state codes, whether of the same section or any combination, that reflect a continuing disregard for the requirements of such laws. The chief of police or his or her designee may issue a notice and order to the responsible party assessing a civil penalty pursuant to this section. The civil penalty may be enforced as a lien pursuant to subsection (D) of this section.
C. Civil penalties may be assessed at a daily rate not to exceed $1,000 per violation per day, and not to exceed a total of $100,000 per tax assessor's parcel number, in the case of unimproved real property, or $100,000 per each structure against which violations have existed on a single tax assessor's parcel number for any related series of violations. In determining the amount to be imposed on a daily rate, the chief of police or his or her designee shall consider the following factors:
1. Duration of the violation.
2. Frequency or occurrence of the violation or other similar violations.
3. Seriousness of the violation in relation to its threat or impact upon public health, welfare, or safety.
4. History of violations.
5. Activity taken by the responsible party to obstruct or interfere with correction of the violation.
6. Good faith or bad faith efforts by responsible party to comply.
7. The impact of the violation on the surrounding property and community.
8. The financial ability of the responsible party to have corrected the violation in a timely fashion.
D. Civil penalties, as confirmed by resolution of the city council, shall constitute a special assessment against the property to which it relates, and after its recording, as thus made and confirmed, the same shall constitute a lien on the property in the amount of such assessment. After the confirmation of the statement, a copy thereof shall be recorded in the official records of Riverside County and shall be transmitted to the assessor and tax collector of the county by the city clerk. Whereupon it shall be the duty of the assessor and tax collector to add the amount of such assessment, or assessments, to the next regular bills of taxes levied against the said respective lot or parcel of land, and thereafter the amount shall be collected at the same time and in the same manner as ordinary real property taxes are collected, and shall be subject to the same penalties and the same procedure for foreclosure and sale in the case of delinquency as provided for ordinary real property taxes.
E. Appeals. Within ten (10) days from the date of giving written notice of the imposition of civil penalties, the violator may file an appeal to the city manager. Such appeal shall be in writing and shall identify the property subject to the notice of civil penalties. The city manager shall then appoint a hearing officer to hear the appeal. The hearing officer must hear the appeal within twenty (20) days from the filing of the notice of appeal by the violator or at such later date as may be mutually agreed to in writing by the appellant and the city manager. Notice of the date of hearing shall be given in writing. The date of the hearing shall be no sooner than five (5) days from the date when notice of the hearing is given to the appellant and to the code enforcement officer. The decision of the hearing officer shall be final.
(Ord. 405 § 1, 2008)