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.
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).
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.
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.
How does City staff become aware of potential code violations?
City residents can report suspected code violations via our website at REQUEST A FIELD INVESTIGATION, 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).
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
substandard housing (i.e. no heat, plumbing leaks, etc.)
land use or use permit violations
improper storage of debris or materials in yards.
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 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.
RELATED CODE QUESTIONS
How do I get rid of used motor oil?
Residential curbside disposal of used oil and oil filters is offered by San Luis Garbage Co. Call them at (805) 543-0875 for more information.
How do I dispose of needles and sharps?
All local pharmacies offer Free containers to dispose of used needles and syringes, lancets and other sharp objects.
What should I do with my broken steam iron, waffle maker, ice cream maker, crock pot, vacuum cleaner, or similar item?
Small electric appliances like these should be disposed of with electronic waste at a Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
Why can’t I recycle Styrofoam?
Recycling is driven by the market and product availability. Because expanded polystyrene (the generic name for Styrofoam) is so light, it is not cost effective for the recycling industry to ship and process.
5. What are "Street Trees" and who maintains them? Can a Street Tree be removed?
Street Trees make up a large part of the city’s Urban Forest. The trees planted in the parkway area between the sidewalk and the street including neighborhood theme trees, are generally considered Street Trees. Our Urban Forest Services conducts zonal pruning on these trees every 8-10 years. In between that time, property owners can pay to have a street tree pruned by a certified arborist after City Arborists’ approval.
4. Can a tree be removed without paying for a tree removal permit?
Yes, only when it is not a native species, on developed residential zoned private property R-1 and R-2 zones and under 20'' diameter at shoulder height or a native under 10'' in diameter at shoulder height. (see list below)
"Native" means the following listed trees:
(1) Quercus Agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)
(2) Umbellularia Californica (California Laurel)
(3) Platanus Racemosa (California Sycamore)
(4) Juglans Californica (Southern California Black Walnut)
(5) Salix Lasiolepis (Willow)
(6) Populus Trichocarpa (Black Cottonwood)
(7) Heteromeles Arbutifolia (California Holly Toyon)
(8) Acer Macrophyllum (Big Leaf Maple)
(9) Acer Negundo (Box Elder)
(10) Quercus Lobata (Valley or White Oak)
6. What qualifications are required by the City when hiring a tree care contractor to prune my private trees or the City Street Tree in front of my property?Tree care contractors must possess an appropriate contractor's license, business license in the City and have at least one currently certified ISA Arborist on its staff overseeing any approved tree work to be done in the City.
1. When does a tree in the City of San Luis Obispo require a Tree Removal Permit?
Any size Street Trees; any size tree within 25' of a creek bank; any tree that is related to development, construction or remodel; and any tree that is within a commercial area or part of a community development approved plan such as a shopping center, apartment, condo, or any HOA managed property.
2. How much does it cost to submit a tree removal application?No fee is collected when an application is turned in. If, however the application is recommended for review by the Tree Committee and approved, a permit will be issued costing $81.00
3. Can anyone remove a tree in the City of San Luis Obispo?A property owner or authorized agent acting on behalf of the property owner can submit a tree removal application for review by the City Arborist.
How do I apply for a permit?See Application Review Procedures page.
What type of approval will I need for my business?
The first step would be to identify the zoning for the location of your project. With this information you can reference Table 9 of the Zoning Regulations which indicates the land uses allowed by zone. This denotes what type of permit will be required to allow that use in each zoning district if allowed at all.
I want to build an accessory building on my property? What is the process? What can I build?This depends to the scope of the project and how existing buildings and lots are configured. Check your zoning, look at the Zoning Regulations, and then contact the Planning Department if you still have questions.
What materials do I need to submit for an exception?Once you determine which exception you will need, submit a planning application along with the materials listed on the application checklist appropriate for the type of permit needed for your project. Bring the planning application, the checklist, and the requested materials to the counter when you submit your application. If an application is missing an item required by the checklist, your application will not be accepted.
How much will my application cost?
The cost of an application will vary depending on the type of permit or approval needed and the scope of review a project will require. Fees for projects can be found at the following link. This is separate from the fees associated with building permit inspections and plan review. Building review and inspection fees are related to the square footage and type of project. For more information please call the Building and Safety Division at 805-781-7180.
What does Architectural Review evaluate?
Architectural review evaluates the suitability and appropriateness of individual project design and to help achieve attractive and environmentally sensitive development. Review the City’s Design Guidelines to learn more click here.
My property is on the Master or Contributing list of historic resources, what does this mean?This means your property has been determined to be a locally significant historic resource because of significant architecture or historical themes. Properties determined to be a historic resource may be eligible for benefits such as the Mills Act. Likewise, building owners of qualified historic properties can follow the more flexible California State Historical Building Code (CHBC). The CHBC’s standards and regulations are intended to facilitate the rehabilitation or change of occupancy so as to preserve their original or restored elements and features, to encourage energy conservation and a cost effective approach to preservation, and to provide for reasonable safety from fire, seismic forces or other hazards for occupants and users of such buildings, structures and properties and to provide reasonable availability and usability by the physically disabled.
Additionally, historic properties are eligible to receive a decorative plaque that can be displayed on their property. More importantly changes to historic properties are guided by the City’s Historic Preservation Guidelines and Historic Preservation Ordinance.
How long will it take to obtain a building permit?
The City reviews applications on a first-come, first-served basis. However, we are committed to processing your plans as quickly and efficiently as possible. The City's goal is to complete the plan checks within the following time frames:
Type of Plan Check
Initial Plan Check (City’s Goal Time)
Rechecks (City’s Goal Time)
Non-structural tenant improvements, residential remodels and additions, single-family homes
Structural tenant improvements, commercial additions up to 5,000 SF, changes of occupancy
Major Plan Check
New commercial buildings
How can I recycle my hazardous waste?
Both Cold Canyon and Chicago Grade Landfills have developed hazardous waste drop-off facilities that are open to the public on an ongoing basis. The basic limitations are fifty gallons of liquid or 125 lbs. of other materials per visit.Most materials are accepted except for biological hazards, explosives, and nuclear wastes. Hours are Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Businesses must make an appointment, but private citizens can just show up. For more information or appointments, call the Integrated Waste Management Authority at (800) 400-0811 or 782-8530 (Mon-Fri). Available to all county residents except residents of the City of Paso Robles.
I want more information on curbside recycling; where do I sign up?
Our residential recycler is San Luis Garbage Company. There is no additional charge for residential recycling. Call 543-0875 to sign up. They also offer a greenwaste recycling program, and literature that explains how to recycle.