Residential

Fences

1. Are fences between neighbors required, and if so, who would build and maintain them?
2. Does my fence establish a property line?
3. How is fence height measured?
4. How high can my residential fence be?
5. What types of residential fences are prohibited?

Recycling
1. Are people that scavenge from my recycling bin in violation of the law?
2. What is the maximum penalty for scavengers who take recyclables?

Vehicles
1. Can I create additional surfaced parking space at my residence?
2. Can I park a RV vehicle at my property?
3. Is it legal to live in a Recreational Vehicle (RV) on residential property?

Housing
1. I live in a mobile home. Is my home regulated by the County?
2. Should I contact Code Enforcement about a vacant house?
3. What is the law requiring a carbon monoxide detector?

Property
1. What is a nuisance?
2. What is blight?
3. What is junk?
4. What is rubbish?
5. What is garbage? 
6. What are some examples of junk, garbage and rubbish?
7. Can I store junk, garbage, and rubbish behind my fence?
8. Can I store my junk on my property?

Fences

  1. Are fences between neighbors required, and if so, who would build and maintain them?
    Neighbor fences are not required. Construction and maintenance of a fence is between the adjoining property owners.  Generally, fences between neighbors in the RD zone and outside the front yard, seven or less feet in height, can be placed on your property line without any minimum setback limits and do not require a permit.  Fences in your front yard in the RD zone are limited to: 3 feet when solid, 4 feet when chain link or similar woven material, or 7 feet when open ornamental such as wrought iron. Fences in the side-street yard may be 7 feet.  Fences in the AG or AR zone may be seven feet at all property lines. If your property is located within a Neighborhood Preservation Area or a Special Planning Area, please contact the Planning and Environmental Review’s Public Information Counter at sacplan@saccounty.net to discuss if your property has different allowances.
  2. Does my fence establish a property line?
    No. Fences do not indicate legal property lines and are frequently erected without regards to legal property lines. To determine the legal boundaries of your property, it is recommended that a surveyor be hired. Code Enforcement cannot resolve property line disputes.
  3. How is fence height measured?
    Fence height for fences within five (5) feet of a public right-of-way or right-of-way with PUPF shall be measured from the grade of the right-of-way or right-of-way with PUPF. Beyond five (5) feet, fence height shall be measured from highest elevation of the ground on either side of the fence.
  4. How high can my residential fence be?

    Fences in the front yard in RD zones shall be limited to:

    Solid walls or fences not exceeding three (3) feet,

    Fences constructed of chain link or similar woven material, not exceeding four (4) feet, or

    Open ornamental fencing not exceeding seven (7) feet. 

    Fences exceeding these heights may be allowed with the issuance of a Minor Use Permit.

    Fences in the front yard in the AG or AR zone shall be limited to seven (7) feet.

    Fences in the side street yard shall not exceed seven (7) feet.  Retaining wall and fence combinations that exceed seven (7) feet may be permitted with the issuance of a Minor Use Permit.

    Fences in interior yards shall not exceed seven (7) feet and may be located on a retaining wall not to exceed four (4) feet in height.

    All Fences Adjacent to Drives and Street Intersections - When fences, walls, and/or landscape screening are adjacent to street intersections and points of ingress and egress (i.e. private driveways), the visibility requirements of the Sacramento County Improvement Standards enforced by the Department of Transportation shall be adhered to. (See Section 5.2.5.B for full text regarding Residential Fences)

    Note:  For purposes of measuring fence height, the frontage with the primary entrance to the main dwelling shall be considered the front yard and the other frontage(s) shall be considered the side street yard(s). In the case of a corner lot with a duplex, or two or more dwellings, where primary entrances face both frontages, both frontages shall be considered the front yard. Where a home demonstrates multiple established primary entrances on both frontages, both frontages shall be considered the front yard.

  5. What types of residential fences are prohibited?
    Barbed wire/concertina wire, electric, and any material extending the height of the fence above legal limits. This includes decorative items such as a lattice, unless it has been approved to exceed the normal height limit with a conditional use permit or variance.
    Fencing constructed of secondhand or cast-off material, not originally designed for fencing is prohibited.
    Fencing made of plywood less than five-eighths inches thick, plywood not of a grade approved by the Planning Director, particle board, paper, visqueen plastic, plastic tarp, cloth, or similar material is prohibited.

Recycling

  1. Are people that scavenge from my recycling bin in violation of the law?
    Yes. According to Section 6.20.160 of the County Code: "It shall be unlawful for any person within the unincorporated area of Sacramento County, other than the County or a permittee authorized by the Code or the Sacramento Waste Authority, to collect or remove refuse or salvageable material placed at a curb or in a container for County collection." If you see scavenging, call the Sacramento County Sheriff Department at 916-874-5115 to report it.
  2. What is the maximum penalty for scavengers who take recyclables?
    If people who violate Sacramento County Code 6.20.160 by stealing recyclables exceed three (3) convictions in a year, they may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and may be subjects to fines and/or imprisonment. To report scavenging, call the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department at 916-874-5115. 

Vehicles

  1. Can I create additional surfaced parking space at my residence?
    When adding additional surfaced parking in the front or side-street yard of your residence, the following requirements must be met:
    • For residential parcels that are less than 15,000 square feet in size, the surfacing area must be impervious (consist of asphalt, concrete, grouted continuous brick or cobblestone, for example).
    • For residential parcels that are 15,000 square feet in size or greater, the surfacing may be permeable
    • In addition, both the total paved area and/or parking area in the front or side-street yard is limited to no more than the greater of the following: 
      • 40% of the land area between the front lot line and the front wall of the primary dwelling that is furthest from the front lot line; or
      • The area leading directly to the carport or enclosed garage.
  2. Can I park a RV vehicle at my property?
    Yes. It is legal in unincorporated Sacramento County to park and/or store an RV on your residential property. The RV must be operational and currently registered to the home. Any trailer type RVs that are parked on the street shall not be detached from the tow vehicle while parked there. Mobile homes that have or had axles and wheels but are designed to be detached are considered permanent dwellings and do not have the same regulations as RVs.
  3. Is it legal to live in a Recreational Vehicle (RV) on residential property?
    No. The zoning code does not allow for anyone to occupy a recreational vehicle (RV) on residential property. If constructing a new single-family dwelling, you may also obtain a temporary use permit to reside in a recreational vehicle for up to one year while the home is constructed.  The occupancy must cease within 30 days of the issuance of the final building permit.

Housing

  1. I live in a mobile home. Is my home regulated by the County?
    It depends. Mobile Homes within mobile home parks are governed by the State's California Department of Housing and Community Development. Their phone number is 916-255-2532. Visit their website or view the Inspection Residential Information Booklet. Mobile homes that are on their own property are governed by Code Enforcement.
  2. Should I contact Code Enforcement about a vacant house?
    A vacant house is not a violation of any County Code and cannot be addressed by Code Enforcement. However, if the home is vacant, open and accessible, and is also being accessed by unauthorized people or persons, Code Enforcement can respond and ensure that the property is secured. Contact the Sheriff's Department if you see illegal activity. It is also a violation of the nuisance code if a vacant building is not being maintained and dead grass/weeds exceed 12 inches over 50% of the yard.
  3. What is the law requiring a carbon monoxide detector?
    The Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act - Senate Bill SB 183 - requires all single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source to install carbon monoxide detectors within the home by July 1, 2011.  Owners of multi-family leased or rental dwellings, such as apartment buildings, had until January 1, 2013 to comply with the law.  More information can be found at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection website.

Property

  1. What is a nuisance?
    Generally speaking, a nuisance is anything which is injurious to health, is indecent or offensive to the senses, or is an obstruction of the free use of property. In other words, a nuisance interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property. Nuisances are more specifically defined in the Sacramento County Code under section 16.18.401.
  2. What is blight?
    Blight is a deteriorating environmental condition or nuisance that can damage and eventually ruin the security, health and economic vitality of a business district or neighborhood if it is ignored and allowed to grow.
  3. What is junk?
    Junk is defined as "any worn-out, cast-off, or discarded article or material which is ready for destruction or has been collected or stored for salvage or conversion to some use. Any article or material which unaltered or unchanged and without further reconditioning, can be used for its original purpose as readily as when new shall not be considered junk.
  4. What is rubbish?
    Rubbish includes, but is not limited to, waste such as paper, cardboard, grass clippings, tree or shrub trimmings, wood, bedding, crockery, construction waste, and/or similar waste materials.
  5. What is garbage?
    Garbage includes, but is not limited to, the following: Waste resulting from the handling of edible foodstuffs or resulting from decay, and solid or semisolid putrescible waste, and all other mixed nonrecyclable wastes which are generated in the day-to-day operation of any business, residential, governmental, public or private activity, and may include tin cans, bottles and paper, or plastic food or beverage containers.
  6. What are some examples of junk, garbage and rubbish?
    Examples include, but are not limited to the following items:
    • Automotive parts, equipment, tires, etc.
    • Appliances, electronics, etc.
    • Furniture – indoor furniture stored outdoor, damaged outdoor furniture, worn furniture
    • Containers (plastic tubs, crates, boxes, etc.)
    • Packing Materials (cardboard, Styrofoam, etc.)
    • Scrap Metal (sheet metal, piping, dismantled bikes, broken tools, etc.)
    • Building Materials (sheetrock, insulation, toilets, sinks, tile, carpet, etc.)
    • Wood (scrap wood, weathered lumber, pallets, landscape waste and debris, etc.)
    • Clothing
    • Garbage or other waste
    • Accumulated leaves or other green waste
  7. Can I store junk, garbage, and rubbish behind my fence?
    No. It is a violation of the zoning code to have junk and rubbish on the property whether screened from view or not. The storage of junk, garbage, and rubbish within view of the public right-of-way is in violation of additional nuisance laws beyond simple storage of junk and rubbish as prohibited in the zoning code.
  8. Can I store my junk on my property?
    No. It shall be unlawful for any person to store or keep, or permit others to store or keep junk on their property. This includes, but is not limited to: scrap metals or other scrap materials on any lot or parcel, or any portion thereof, in any zone other than a heavy industrial zone. All such items should be stored inside a fully enclosed structure. Junk, garbage and rubbish stored outside of a fully enclosed structure is illegal. The only exception is for junkyards in the heavy industrial zones. Code Enforcement does not allow tarps to hide junk, nor can junk be stored in a rear yard behind a fence. If an item is broken, not normally used out-of-doors, being stored for conversion to another use, being stored for salvage or recycling, dismantled, cast-off, worn-out, etc., it is considered junk and subject to abatement.