Private Enforcement Actions

The municipal code allows anyone "who lives, owns, or lawfully occupies property within one mile" of a property to charge a violation and to present a case directly to the Administrative Hearings Officer.

To initiate a private enforcement action, a person files a written complaint with the manager of Land Use Enforcement.  By code, "the complaint must identify by name and description and street address the property involved, the record owner of the property, the occupants of the property if known, the provision of this Code alleged to be violated, and the facts upon which the complaint is based.  The complaint shall also contain written proof that at least one prior contact was made by the complaining party with the respondent to resolve the matter informally.  A fee of $100.00 shall be paid to the municipality by the complaining party upon filing, which fee shall be reimbursed to the complaining party if the complaint is sustained." (AMC 21.25.035.B)

Land Use Enforcement will then notify the respondent and schedule a hearing before the Administrative Hearings Officer.  At this hearing, the complainant, not Land Use Enforcement, presents the case.  Administrative hearings are conducted in accordance with Title 14 of the municipal code.

Note: Private enforcement actions cannot be used to recover damages.  Any fines or penalties imposed on violators are paid to the Municipality.

The company that publishes the municipal code,, has a searchable version of the code on its website.  Try searching on "21.25.035" and "14.20.010" for more information.  Please note that recent amendments may not have been published yet.  Land Use Enforcement will be happy to verify the current code language for you.

Contact the Land Use Enforcement Division at 343-4141