Homeowners in Sonoma County’s unincorporated areas can avoid penalties and extra fees if they step forward by Feb. 1 and apply for the proper permits to correct code violations on their properties.
The North Coast Builders Exchange this week alerted its members to the county’s Penalty Relief Program, which took effect last month.
Under the program, the county will waive civil penalties and investigative fees for individuals who voluntarily step forward to obtain permits for unpermitted work before Feb. 1. The homeowner still must pay the normal permit fees, and the work must meet current building codes.
The program applies only to construction completed before Aug. 1. Violations already in the county records will not qualify.
Until Feb. 1, the county also will provide a “no jeopardy” opportunity to discuss the unpermitted work with county planning staff. No record will be maintained of the inquiry, officials said, and the property owner will have the chance to learn about code requirements and what to expect in the permit and inspection process.
Valerie Brown, chairwoman of the county Board of Supervisors, commented in a statement, “These policy changes improve building safety by making it less expensive for homeowners to get permits for work they’ve already done.” The fee deferral “will help people do what’s right by encouraging them to bring their unpermitted building improvements up to code.”
Here are links to the county’s press release and to the home page for the Permit and Resource Management Department.
– Robert Digitale