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Code Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions

What is Code Enforcement?

City of San Luis Obispo Code Enforcement staff members are part of the Community Development Department.  Code Enforcement Officers and Neighborhood Services Specialists are responsible for enforcing Building Codes and Zoning Regulations to provide for the health, safety, and general welfare of all City residents.  These codes are different than laws enforced by the Police and Fire Departments, because they mostly relate to property issues rather than issues directly related to a person.  However, an individual can be held responsible if their property, whether it is owned or leased, is in violation.

Why does the City enforce violations of Building and Zoning Regulations?

The goal of enforcement is to ensure city-wide conformity to Building and Zoning Regulations to maintain safety and enhance quality of life for all residents.  The quality of life in San Luis Obispo is tied to the character and conditions of its neighborhoods.  Enforcing violations stops unsafe issue from continuing and prevents future violations from occurring.  Specifically, enforcing property maintenance standards protects the appearance, integrity and character of the community, as well as helps maintain property values for owners.

What are some examples of City codes the City staff enforce?

City staff from the Community Development Department focus on enforcing violations of local and state building codes, the City's Zoning Regulations, and City property maintenance standards.  Common code violations in San Luis Obispo are:

  • illegally converted garages

  • unpermitted construction

  • substandard housing (i.e. no heat, plumbing leaks, etc.)

  • land use or use permit violations

  • improper storage of debris or materials in yards. 

You can learn more about specific codes by reading the “Are you a Good Neighbor?” brochure,  or by calling us with specific inquiries at (805) 781-7180.  The City's Zoning Regulations contain many of the codes that are enforced in the City.

How does City staff become aware of potential code violations?

City residents can report suspected code violations via our website at, or by calling the Code Enforcement Hotline at (805) 781-7180.  Beginning in May 2012, staff will be proactively patrolling to identify violations of property maintenance standards in public view (i.e.: front yard blight). 

I received a Notice to Correct for violations in my front yard , what does that mean?

City staff is currently working in neighborhoods to inform residents if they have any property maintenance code violations on their property.   You will notice that staff has checked one or more boxes on the Notice to Correct  indicating any issues observed on your property.  This is NOT a citation, it is a  formal warning. In May 2012, staff started proactively patrolling neighborhoods and issuing warnings and citations for violations.  You can use the contact information on the Notice to Correct form to address any questions you may have about specific violations on your property.

What happens if my property is in violation?

 Once City staff has observed a violation on your property you will be given a Notice to Correct.  This gives a specific time frame, depending on the violation, in which you are required to bring your property into compliance.  If the violation is not corrected within the time frame given, you will be subject to fees and/or citations until compliance is achieved.  You can view a Code Enforcement Process flow chart on our website for more details.

How can I dispose of bulk items such as couches, mattresses, televisions, etc?

SLO Garbage Company will pick up bulk items for a small fee.  Call them at (805) 543-0875 to arrange for pick up.  You can also donate items! View the SLO County IWMA page for local outlets (some provide free pickup).

How can I dispose of household hazardous materials such as paint, motor oil, etc?

Cold Canyon Landfill accepts household hazardous materials free of charge.  The household hazardous waste facility is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  There is a 15 gallon volume limit per trip.  For more information, visit their website at


Parking Frequently Asked Questions

Why did I get a parking violation for parking on or in front of my own driveway?

Under State law, a vehicle cannot park blocking a sidewalk or a driveway apron even if it is part of your residential driveway.  The purpose of this law is to ensure wheelchair access is maintained and pedestrians are not directed into a street to get around your car.  Likewise, to ensure emergency access, you cannot park on the street in front of your driveway.

Can I park partially in a red curb zone?

No, you cannot park or stop your car at a red curb.  There is no law or policy that your car can be in the red by a certain percentage of the car length.  You are either parked in the red zone or you are not.  These zones are usually set for safe visibility and traffic safety reasons so even a small encroachment is a violation.

Can I park near a fire hydrant as long as I am not in the red?

No, under state law you cannot park within 15 feet of either side of a fire hydrant regardless of any red curbs or signs.  This law changed about 10 years ago and is only based on distance and not painted curbs or signage.

Can I contest a parking citation?

Yes, you can obtain a form on the City's website, at the Parking Services Office downtown (1260 Chorro Street, Suite B), or by calling the City Parking Services office at 805-781-7230.

Is there a time limit for parking on City Streets?

Yes, on City streets where no time limit is posted, you can only park for a maximum of 72 hours before you are required to move your car a minimum of 500 feet.  Vehicles parked longer than 72 hours can be towed and issued a parking violation.  This is very costly for the owner of a vehicle.

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