In Sutter County, community benefits from emphasis on Code Enforcement

This building once occupied a location along the old Highway 99 alignment at Tudor, south of Yuba City. After the highway was re-routed, this building and several others on two adjoining properties was overtaken by squatters, who spread garbage and brought abandoned vehicles and trailers onto the property. After a Code Enforcement action to displace the squatters, a new owner has purchased the property and cleared both lots. Code enforcement officers have also led to $185,000 in fines and administrative costs for those violating the county’s local ordinance prohibiting outdoor grows of marijuana.

Whether it is abatement of outdoor marijuana grows that violate the County’s rules or enforcement of building standards that displace squatters, Sutter County’s Code Enforcement efforts in the past year are having a positive impact.

In the Tudor area, two parcels that attracted a half dozen or more squatters has been cleared by a new owner–at great expense. The property, which included an iconic wooden structure familiar to those traveling the old Highway 99 route south from Yuba
City to Sacramento, was the subject of more than 90 calls for service to the Sheriff’s Department and Code Enforcement in the space of seven months.

Squatters occupied several buildings on the two properties, but after code enforcement tagged the buildings as uninhabitable, the squatters were removed from the property by the Sheriff’s Department. The property has been sold to a new owner who invested a great deal of money in removing debris, which took 15 large truckloads.

Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors imposed fines and administrative costs of more than $185,000 combined on the owners of eight different properties for violating Sutter County’s ordinance banning outdoor marijuana grows. The County Counsel’s Office is taking the necessary steps to place liens on the properties.

This year, there have been 18 complaints of violations of the outdoor marijuana grows to date. In each case, the marijuana gardens have been abated before fines and administrative costs accrued. However, there may be more instances of reporting of outdoor marijuana gardens. The harvest season (essentially September/October) generates the largest numbers of complaints as the smell of the gardens permeates neighborhoods.