8.16.032   Vacant buildings and boarding regulations.
   Part 1 Purpose.
   The purpose of this section is to ensure all vacant and boarded buildings comply with minimum property maintenance requirements, to encourage proactive and preventive maintenance of properties, to ensure maintenance issues are quickly and efficiently remedied, and to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the City of Yucaipa.
   Part 2 Severability.
   If any provision of this ordinance and section is found to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, that invalidity will not affect the remaining provisions of this ordinance and section, which can be implemented without the invalid provisions, and to this end, the provisions of this ordinance are declared to be severable.
   Part 3 Definitions.
   As used in this section, the following terms and phrases are defined as follows:
   (a)   "Active construction" means that (i) construction activity is taking place at a property without any pause, interruption, or suspension greater in duration than 45 days, and (ii) the owner, owner of record, or a duly authorized agent, servant, assign, employee, or contractor acting or providing services on behalf thereof, is on-site at a property that is under construction, actively engaged in construction, maintenance, demolition, or related administrative activity, without any pause, interruption, or suspension greater in duration than 15 days.
   (b)   "Blight" or "blighted property" means any one or more of the following conditions or activities:
      (1)   Abandoned Building or Structure.
         (i)   A building or structure which is not being inhabited, occupied, or used and which is unsecured. For purposes of this section, a building or structure is unsecured when the public can gain entry without the consent of the owner; or
         (ii)   A partially constructed, reconstructed, or demolished building or structure upon which work is abandoned. Work is deemed abandoned when there is no valid and current building or demolition permit, or when there has not been any substantial work on the project for a period of six (6) months or more.
      (2)   Attractive Nuisance. Property which is in an unsecured state so as to potentially constitute an attraction to children, a harbor for vagrants, criminals, or other unauthorized persons, or so as to enable persons to use the property for the purpose of committing a nuisance or unlawful act.
      (3)   A building or structure which is in a state of disrepair:
         (i)   Exterior wall and/or roof coverings which have become deteriorated and do not provide adequate weather protections, resulting in termite infestation and/or dry rot.
         (ii)   Broken or missing windows or doors which constitute a hazardous condition or a potential attraction to trespassers.
         (iii)   Building exteriors, walls, fences, signs, retaining walls, driveways, walkways, sidewalks, or other structures on the property which are broken, deteriorated, or substantially defaced, to the extent that the disrepair is visible from any public right-of-way or visually impacts neighboring public or private property or presents an endangerment to public safety.
         (iv)   Building exteriors, walls, fences, signs, retaining walls, driveways, walkways, sidewalks, or other structures on the property which have been repainted in such a manner that the appearance may be further deteriorated or substantially defaced.
      (4)   Property Inadequately Maintained.
         (i)   Overgrown, diseased, dead, or decayed trees, weeds, or vegetation that: (1) are likely to harbor rats, pigeons, vermin, and other nuisances; or (2) substantially detract from the aesthetic and property values of neighboring properties; or (3) constitute a fire hazard or other condition that is dangerous to the public health, safety, or welfare; or (4) are likely to attract use as shelter by transients.
         (ii)   Solid waste, which includes "garbage," "refuse," and "rubbish," and all "solid waste" as may be defined in this code, constitutes blight and blighted property in the following situations: (1) the accumulation of solid waste is visible from a street or public right-of-way, is not enclosed in a City-approved container, and is present for more than 72 consecutive hours; or (2) the accumulation of solid waste is being stored or disposed of in a manner that would allow the material to be transported by wind or otherwise onto or upon any public street, public right-of-way, or neighboring property, unless the method of storage or disposal is specifically allowed by this code.
      (5)   Any swimming pool, pond, or other body of water which is abandoned, unattended, unfiltered, drained with no cover to prevent the existence of a hazard, or not otherwise maintained, resulting in polluted water. "Polluted water" is defined for the purpose of this section, as water which contains organic growth, including algae, remains of rubbish, refuse, debris, papers, and any other foreign matter or materials, which, because of its nature or locations, constitutes an unhealthy or unsafe condition.
   (c)   "Building" means any structure, including, but not limited to, any residential, commercial, industrial, or assembly structure, approved for occupancy on either a lot of record or within a single project approved by the City pursuant to the code.
   (d)   "Commercial properties" means all properties in the City that are not developed for solely single family residential uses. The term "commercial properties" includes apartment buildings that include five or more rental units.
   (e)   "Development related agreement" means an agreement between the City and at least one other person or entity whereby an owner secures the authorization and approval of the City, whether through a duly authorized written contract, or via a land use permit or entitlement approval, to pursue a development or redevelopment project at a property where one or more abandoned buildings or structures, and/or vacant building is located.
   (f)   Reserved.
   (g)   "Enforcement official" means the city manager, building official, the chief of police, the fire chief, or their respective designees.
   (h)   "Evidence of vacancy" means any building in the context of the totality of circumstances that would lead a reasonable enforcement official to believe that the building is vacant or occupied by a person without a legal right of occupancy. Such real property conditions include, but are not limited to: overgrown or dead vegetation; accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers, or mail; past due utility notices or disconnected utilities; accumulation of trash, junk, or debris; the absence of window coverings such as curtains, blinds, or shutters; the absence of furnishings or personal items consistent with residential habitation; or statements by neighbors, passersby, delivery agents, or government employees that the property is vacant.
   (i)   "Local" means within 40 driving miles of the building, structure, or real property in question.
   (j)   "Out of area" means in excess of 40 road or driving miles of the building, structure, or real property in question.
   (k)   "Owner" means any person having legal or equitable title or any interest in real property, including all persons shown as owners on the last equalized assessment roll of the San Bernardino County Assessor's Office. An owner includes a person with power of attorney, an executor of estate, trustee, or who is a court appointed administrator, conservator, guardian, or receiver.
   (l)   "Person" means any natural person, partnership of any kind, corporation, limited liability company, association, joint venture, or other organization, however formed, as well as trustees, heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns, or any combination of such persons.
   (m)   "Property improvement program" or "PIP" means a program that allows artwork or other approved displays to be installed by the City geographic areas of the City determined by the city manager, chosen as an alternative pursuant to this section to provide window coverings for the storefronts of vacated commercial buildings or portions thereof. Each PIP will be approved by the city manager and administered by designated staff. Owners of vacated commercial buildings which have windows visible from the public right-of-way within the area of the PIP or can be seen by the public shall participate in the PIP upon registration of the vacant building as prescribed in this section. A copy of each PIP shall be made available in the office of the city clerk.
   (n)   "Vacant building" means a building where at least thirty-five percent (35%) of the total floor area within the building is not lawfully occupied.
   Part 4 Scope.
   (a)   Applicability. The provisions of this section shall apply generally to all improved real property throughout the City of Yucaipa where any of the conditions specified in this section are found to exist.
   (b)   Regulations Cumulative. The regulations provided by this section are cumulative to each other and to any other available under City, State, or federal law.
   (c)   Authority to Enforce Section. The enforcement official is authorized to administer and enforce this section. The enforcement official may adopt supplemental regulations or policies to implement and interpret this section. These regulations or policies must conform with the purpose of this section.
   (d)   Development Agreement Exemption. In the event that the City enters a development related agreement with the owner or developer of a property incorporating the partial or total demolition, repair, reconstruction, or preservation of a vacant building or structure the vacant building or structure in question is exempt from application of this section, provided that the property is maintained in strict accord with the terms and conditions of the development related agreement. In the event that the city manager, or his or her designee, determines in the city manager's sole discretion the owner or developer of a property is in default with respect to any term or condition of a development related agreement through which any building or structure is exempt from application of this section, the City may issue written notice to that owner that if the default in question is not cured in its entirety within 30 days of the issuance, that the exemption provided by this section shall be revoked, and that this section shall immediately become fully applicable to the building or structure in question.
   Part 5 Service requirements.
   (a)   Except as otherwise provided, any notice required to be served under this section must be completed by either:
      (1)   Personal service; or
      (2)   Service by United States mail addressed to the person to be notified at the address as listed in the last equalized assessment roll. Service by mail is complete at the time of deposit in the mail. Failure of any person to receive a properly addressed notice by mail shall not invalidate any action, decision, determination, or proceeding under this section.
   Part 6 Registration requirement for vacant buildings.
   (a)   Registration Required. An owner of a vacant building must register their property with the enforcement official within 10 days of the building becoming vacant or being deemed vacant. If any building shows evidence of vacancy, it is hereby deemed vacant.
   (b)   Application Required. Any person seeking to register a vacant building must submit a complete, written application to the City using a form adopted by the City for that purpose. Submission of an application for registration does not authorize the maintenance of a vacant building until such registration has been accepted by the City.
   (c)   Application Contents. The application for registration pursuant to this section must contain or be accompanied by the following:
      (1)   The name and address of each owner and the local property management company, if any, responsible for the security, maintenance, and marketing of the property in question.
      (2)   A maintenance plan describing and documenting how the maintenance requirements of this section will be complied with.
      (3)   Documentation and information showing compliance with the local property management company requirements of this section.
   (d)   Annual Registration. The registration pursuant to this section must be renewed annually.
   (e)   Fee. The city council may establish by resolution, and from time to time may amend, an annual registration fee. An application for registration or reregistration must be accompanied by the submission of the required fee. Registration fees are nonrefundable and may not be prorated.
   (f)   Notice City of Changes to Registration. Any person, partnership, association, corporation, fiduciary, or other legal entity that has registered a property under this section must notify the enforcement official in writing of any change of information contained in the registration within 10 days of the change.
   Part 7 Maintenance requirements for vacant buildings.
   (a)   Maintenance Required. It is unlawful for any owner to maintain any improved property in violation of the provisions of this section. All vacant buildings, residential and commercial, must be maintained in compliance with the Yucaipa Municipal Code.
   (b)   Additional Requirements for Commercial Properties. Any vacant commercial building must be maintained in accordance with the following requirements:
      (1)   All doors, windows, and other openings are secure or boarded in accordance with this section.
      (2)   Any temporary site perimeter fencing is placed in connection with a building permit.
      (3)   The property must be continuously monitored, as follows:
         (i)   Buildings with fire sprinkler systems must be maintained in working order.
         (ii)   Buildings with a centralized and registered fire and burglar alarm system must be maintained in working order, and monthly reports showing continued and active service shall be submitted to the enforcement official.
         (iii)   Buildings without fire sprinkler systems or fire alarm or burglar alarm systems shall be provided with continuous physical monitoring by means of an onsite patrol. "Continuous physical monitoring" shall mean the use of a licensed security agency operating in the City of Yucaipa and providing regular surveillance of the vacant building as part of the agency's security route.
      (4)   A monthly report from the property owner or the property owner's representative or property management company that identifies each date inspections were performed for the reporting period and a statement affirming that the building interior, exterior, and the entire site was inspected, the landscaping is maintained in good condition, and that all buildings are secure.
   (c)   Reserved.
   (d)   Requirements For Buildings Vacant More Than 90 Days. No person may allow a building designed for human use or occupancy to stand vacant for more than 90 days, unless the person establishes by substantial evidence to the reasonable satisfaction of the enforcement official that at least one of the following applies:
      (1)   Active Construction. The building is the subject of active construction for repair or rehabilitation in order to make the building habitable, and the owner is progressing diligently to complete such repair or rehabilitation within one year of the issuance of the building permit related to such repair or rehabilitation.
      (2)   Active Marketing. The building or property contains no Yucaipa Municipal Code violations, is ready for occupancy, and is actively being offered for sale, lease, or rent.
      (3)   Active Maintenance. The person is actively maintaining and monitoring the building, which includes:
         (i)   Maintenance of landscaping and plant materials in good condition.
         (ii)   Maintenance of the exterior of the building including, but not limited to, paint, finishes, windows, doors, and signage in good condition and in compliance with this section.
         (iii)   Any sign which advertises a use or business not being made on the premises, the name of the owner or user, or which identifies a product, an interest, service, or entertainment not available on the premises is prohibited.
         (iv)   Regular removal of all exterior trash, debris, and graffiti.
         (v)   Prevention of criminal activity on the premises including, but not limited to, use and sale of controlled substances, prostitution, and criminal street gang activity.
         (vi)   Any windows screened: (1) in a manner authorized by this code; or (2) election upon registration of a vacant building to participate in the property improvement program.
         (vii)   Securing the property in a manner so as not to be accessible to unauthorized persons. Secure manner includes, but is not limited to, closing and locking of windows, doors (walk-through, sliding and garage), gates, and any other opening that may allow access to the interior of the property or structure(s), or the erection of temporary construction fencing approved by the enforcement official for not more than 180 days. In the case of broken windows, securing includes the replacement of the broken window.
         (viii)   Maintaining sufficient utility services to provide power for any alarm or security system and to properly irrigate all landscaping on the property.
         (ix)   Compliance with any alternative or additional methods of securing a building in as may be imposed by the enforcement official. Such methods may include, but will not be limited to, security patrols, alarms, or other security requirements.
         (x)   The building or the lot on which the building is located, and the landscaping on such lot, does not contribute to and is not likely to contribute to blight because the owner is actively maintaining and monitoring the building and the lot so that it does not contribute to blight.
   (e)   Insurance. The owner shall maintain fire and liability insurance coverage as determined necessary by the City's risk manager. Any insurance policy shall require advanced, written notice to the risk manager in the event of cancellation of insurance or a reduction in coverage.
   Part 8 Local property management requirement.
   (a)   Any owner located more than 40 miles by road from a property containing a vacant building that must be registered, must retain a local property management company with a business license in the City, and must be contracted to perform weekly inspections to ensure compliance with the Yucaipa Municipal Code.
   (b)   The property must be posted with the name and contact phone number of the local property management company. The posting must be no less than 18" X 24", must be of a font that is legible from a distance of 45 feet, and must contain the following: “THIS PROPERTY MANAGED BY (LOCAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY),” and “TO REPORT PROBLEMS OR CONCERNS CALL (PHONE NUMBER).”
   (c)   The posting must be placed on the interior of a window facing the street to the front of the property so it is visible from the street, or secured to the exterior of the building facing the street of the front of the property so it is visible from the street. If no such area exists, the posting must be on a stake of sufficient size to support the posting, in a location that is visible from the street to the front of the property, and to the extent possible, not readily accessible to potential vandalism. Exterior posting must be constructed of, and printed with weather resistant materials.
   (d)   The local property management company must inspect the property on a weekly basis to determine if the property is in compliance with the requirements of this section and must perform all monitoring duties prescribed in this section. If the property management company determines the property is not in compliance with this section or any provision of the Yucaipa Municipal Code, it is the company's duty to notify the owner and bring the property into compliance.)
   Part 9 Monitoring program for commercial properties.
   (a)   Monitoring Program Established. A program monitoring commercial properties is hereby established. The enforcement official is responsible for administering the monitoring program to enforce this section.
   (b)   Monitoring Program Duties. The enforcement official has the duty and responsibility to do the following pursuant to the monitoring program:
      (1)   Inspect properties in the City to identify commercial buildings that are vacant.
      (2)   Order vacant commercial buildings to comply with this section and any other applicable codes.
      (3)   Order vacant commercial buildings that are open and accessible to be secured against unlawful entry in accordance with this section.
      (4)   Order the property on which the vacant commercial building is located to be properly maintained or cleared of trash and debris.
      (5)   Initiate proceedings against the owner of any vacant commercial building found to be in violation of this section or any other applicable code.
      (6)   Maintain surveillance over vacant commercial buildings so that timely code enforcement proceedings are commenced in the event the property becomes substandard or a nuisance.
      (7)   Establish and enforce rules and regulations for the implementation and compliance with the property improvement program.
      (8)   Identify blighted property and to initiate proceedings against the owner of record of any blighted property for failure to remedy such blight.
   (c)   Fee Imposed. There is imposed upon every owner of a vacant commercial building monitored pursuant to this section an annual vacant commercial building monitoring fee in an amount the city council may establish by resolution, provided that the fee shall not exceed the estimated reasonable cost of monitoring the vacant commercial building.
   (d)   Fee Procedure. If unpaid in connection with a vacant building registration, a vacant commercial building monitoring fee may be billed and mailed to the owner of the property. Any owner aggrieved by the decision of the enforcement official relating to a vacant registration fee bill may appeal the decision to the city manager. If the fee is not paid within 60 days following billing, the city council may thereupon order that the fee be specially assessed against the property involved. If the city council orders that the fee be specially assessed against the property, it shall confirm the assessment and thereafter said assessment may 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 and sale in case of delinquency as provided for ordinary real property taxes. All laws applicable to the levy, collection, and enforcement of real property taxes are applicable to the special assessment. The city council may also cause a notice of lien to be recorded. The notice shall, at a minimum, identify the record owner or possessor of the property, set forth the last known address of the record owner or possessor, a description of the real property subject to the lien, and the amount of the fee.
   Part 10 Boarding permits and regulations.
   (a)   Boarding Permit Required. No person may erect, install, place, or maintain boards over the doors, windows, or other openings of any building or structure or otherwise secure such openings without a valid a boarding permit from the City.
   (b)   Boarding Permit Process. The enforcement official must issue a boarding permit required by this section upon submission of a written application by the owner of the property upon payment of the required fee and upon confirmation by the enforcement official that the boarding or other method of securing has been done in compliance with this section.
   (c)   Boarding Permit Period of Validity. The boarding permit is valid for 90 days.
   (d)   Boarding Permit Extension. A boarding permit may be extended once, for a period of an additional 90 days, provided that the following conditions exist: (i) the boarding is in compliance with this section, (ii) the owner has submitted the request for extension within 10 days after the expiration of the initial boarding permit period, (iii) the owner has complied with all prior orders and notice from the City regarding the property, (iv) the owner simultaneously submits a detailed plan and timeline for correction, repair, and rehabilitation of the property, or a plan for the sale of the property with a provision in the sale requiring the correction, repair, or rehabilitation of the property.
   (e)   Boarding Permit Renewal for Good Cause. A boarding permit may not be issued for a building that was previously boarded until one year after the date of expiration of the previous boarding permit or extended boarding permit, except the enforcement official may renew a new boarding permit for a period of three months upon a showing of good cause, as determined in the enforcement official's sole discretion. "Good cause" means a showing by the owner that the permit reissuance is necessary due to conditions or events beyond the owner's control, such as inability to obtain financing, financial hardship, inability to locate a suitable buyer despite diligent efforts, or unanticipated delays in construction. "Good cause" also means a showing that the owner exercised reasonable and due diligence in attempting to complete the needed work or in attempting to sell, rent, or lease the property. Renewal shall require submission of a written application demonstrating good cause, payment of the boarding permit fee, and upon confirmation by the enforcement official that the method of boarding or securing of the building has been done in compliance with this section.
   (f)   Reserved.
   (g)   Boarding Permit Fees. The fees for the initial boarding permit, and the extension and the renewal permit, shall be as established from time to time by resolution of the city council.
   (h)   Boarding Standards. The boarding or securing of the doors, windows, or other openings of any building must comply with the following standards.
      (1)   Securing by Boarding. The boarding of doors, windows, and other openings must comply with the following requirements.
         (i)   Windows and similar openings must be boarded with exterior-grade plywood of a minimum thickness of 3/4 inch or equivalent. Plywood must be secured by 2"x4" or 4"x4" crossmembers, secured to the plywood by 3/8 inch plated carriage bolts with washers on each end. Bolts and nuts used to secure the crossmember must be threaded to the correct length and tightened securely. A minimum of two crossmembers must be used on each window. Each crossmember must be a continuous piece of lumber, and each must extend at least one foot past the window opening in each direction. Additional measures may be required as deemed necessary in the sole discretion of the enforcement official.
         (ii)   Exterior doors must be boarded with exterior-grade plywood of a minimum thickness of 3/4 inch or equivalent fitted to the entry door jamb with maximum 1/8 inch clearance each edge. The existing door must be removed and stored inside the building. Plywood must be secured by 2"x4" or 4"x4" crossmembers, secured to the plywood by 3/8 inch plated carriage bolts and matching hardware. A minimum of one door must be operable. Plywood for operable door openings must be attached to the door entry with three case hardened strap hinges of the type specified by the enforcement official. Plywood must be secured by a case hardened steel hasp and minimum two-inch hardened padlock, also of the type specified by the enforcement official. Additional measures may be required as deemed necessary in the sole discretion of the enforcement official.
         (iii)   All boarded openings must be painted with exterior paint that is of a color compatible with the exterior color of the building and is approved by the enforcement official.
      (2)   Alternative Methods of Securing a Building. Upon application for a boarding permit, the enforcement official may approve alternative methods of securing a vacant building. In making the determination to approve any alternative method, the enforcement official must consider the effectiveness of the alternative method to provide adequate and long-term security against the unauthorized entry and the aesthetic and other impacts of such method on the immediate neighborhood.
      (3)   Additional Requirements. In connection with the boarding or securing of the doors, windows, or other openings of any building, the owner must also comply with the following requirements.
         (i)   All utility services to the building must be terminated by removal of the meters and termination of electric power by Southern California Edison or any successor utility. Compliance with this subsection may be waived in writing by the enforcement official as to electric power in the event that electricity is necessary to power exterior security lighting, an alarm system, or equipment to be used in connection with the rehabilitation of the building for which there is a valid building permit.
         (ii)   The sewer must be capped in a manner approved by the enforcement official so as to prevent the accumulation of methane gas in the building or structure.
         (iii)   The interior of the building must be cleared of all trash, junk, garbage, debris, solid waste, and personal possessions, in order to eliminate any fire or health hazard and prevent hindrance to firefighting equipment and personnel in the event of a fire.
         (iv)   The owner of any boarded building must register the building as vacant with the City in accordance with this section.
   Part 11 Enforcement.
   (a)   Violation Unlawful. It is unlawful and declared a public nuisance for any person to violate any provision of this section.
   (b)   Criminal Penalties. Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, or by imprisonment in the County jail not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, except the city attorney may prosecute a violation of this section as an infraction or reduce a previously charged misdemeanor to an infraction, in his or her discretion.
   (c)   Administrative Penalties. Any person who violates any provision of this section may be issued an administrative penalty in accordance this code.
   (d)   Civil or Equitable Enforcement. Nothing in this section prevents the city attorney from bringing a civil or equitable action, at his or her discretion, to seek the abatement of any violation of this code.
   (e)   Ongoing Violations. Each and every day a violation is maintained, caused, aided, abetted, concealed, suffered, or permitted is a separate offense.
   (f)   Remedies Cumulative. The remedies, procedures, and penalties provided by this section are cumulative to each other and to any other available under City, State, or federal law.
   (g)   Joint and Several Liability. The duties and liabilities specified in this section are joint and several among and between all owners.
(Ord. 434 § 1, 2023; Ord. 284 § 2, 2008)