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“I want to build a fence in my front yard. Do I need a permit?”
Any fences over six feet (6') and masonry walls over three feet (3') require building permits prior to construction. Fencing, walls, and hedges shall be reduced to a maximum of three feet six inches (3'6") in height in the required front yard and side yard abutting a street.
“I want to re-roof my house. Do I need a Permit?”
Yes. There are code requirements for roofing. In the City of Gonzales, the general rule is that only Class B fire rated roofing materials may be used. If your roofing material should fail due to improper installation and the code and manufacturer’s specifications were not followed the manufacturer may not accept full responsibility for the failure.
“I want to paint my house. Do I need a permit?”
No. No permit is required.
“I need to replace a loose electrical plug receptacle. Do I need a permit?
No. No permit is required.
“I need to replace the pipes which drain the sinks and toilets to the sewer system. Is a permit required?”
Yes. Proper materials and installation are important for the smooth operation of your drain and waste system and to prevent contamination of your potable water system.
“My drains are all plugged. Do I need a permit to have them ‘cleaned’ out?”
No. A permit is not required.
“I am going to extend an electrical circuit and add electrical outlets. Do I need a permit?
Yes. Proper wire size and types, proper connections and wiring methods are critical to your fire and electrocution protection. We recommend you to employ a licensed professional for this work if you are not certain of your abilities in this field.
“I am going to install, replace or extend a gas pipe. Do I need a permit?”
Yes. It is very important to your safety that your gas pipes do not leak and are installed to prevent developing future
“I am going to add or replace a heater/air conditioner or water heater. Do I need a permit?”
Yes. There are important electrical, gas piping, pressure relief and seismic issues that must be addressed in the
installation of heaters, air conditioners, and water heaters.
Note: The above questions and answers are general in nature and may not apply to specific projects. Should you require additional information or have a specific question regarding a project, please contact the Building Official at 675-5000.
Welcome to the frequently asked questions web page for the Gonzales Police Department. This page was designed to answer questions that our often asked by residents and visitors to our fine city. If you have a question that is not addressed on this site please feel free to call the police department at 831-675-5010 during normal business hours and we will do our best to answer any question that you have.
What is the crime rate in Gonzales?
All communities have crime issues and Gonzales is no different. We are happy to report that Gonzales’ crime rate continues to be one of the lowest in Monterey County. The City is able to accomplish this through partnerships with our residents, businesses and schools.
What should I do if I become a victim of a crime?
You need to report the matter to the police department as soon as possible. If the police department is not aware of a crime they are unable to use their resources to solve it or prevent it from occurring again. Once a police officer is assigned to handle the investigation, he or she will assist you to the best of their ability.
Does the police department have a Neighborhood Watch Program?
The Gonzales Police Department has a very active Community Policing Program and part of that program includes the Neighborhood Watch Program. I encourage you to visit out Community Policing Program link to view the programs that we offer. LINK TO COMMUNITY POLICING
How long can my vehicle to be parked on the street without moving it?
The California Vehicle Code allows local jurisdictions to regulate how long a vehicle may be parked in one spot without moving. The City of Gonzales has such a regulation that makes it unlawful to park a vehicle on a public street for over 72 hours without moving it.
Does this regulation apply only to motor vehicles?
No. This regulation applies to motor vehicles, boats, trailers or recreational vehicles that are left standing on a public street for more then 72 hours.
What happens if I don’t move my vehicle within the 72 hour period?
An officer or employee of the police department has the right to issue your vehicle a parking violation notice. There is also a vehicle code section that allows the officer or employee to have the vehicle towed and stored at the owner’s expense.
Does the City of Gonzales have any regulations that apply to disabled or non-running vehicles?
Yes we do. It is unlawful to store a non-running vehicle or any vehicle that is not able to be operated on a public roadway within public view.The term public view means that the vehicle can not be seen from any public place or from any private property other then the vehicle owner’s property.
What happens if I have a non-running vehicle stored on my property?
If the vehicle fits the description above then the police department will take action to abate the vehicle. The process for abating a vehicle starts with a certified letter being sent to the vehicle owner and the property owner. The letter instructs the owners of the need to remove the vehicle and comply with the City regulations. If the vehicle is not moved by the date indicated on the form then the police department has the right to have the vehicle removed. The regulation also allows the property or vehicle owner to request a hearing with the police department to determine if the vehicle is in fact in violation of City regulations.
What happens to my vehicle if the police department has it removed?
Under California Law the vehicle will be surrendered to an auto dismantler and can not be made operable again. This means that your vehicle can not be retrieved and will be destroyed.
Does placing my vehicle in non-operational status with the Department of Motor Vehicles prevent the police department from removing my vehicle?
No. Non-operational status with the department of Motor Vehicles only pertains to the fees you owe for licensing and registration. It does not allow you to store the non-operational vehicle within public view or on any public street.
Does the City of Gonzales provide animal control within the city limits?
Yes it does. The animal control services are provided by the police department. Any animal control issues or requests can be made by calling 831-675-5010 during normal business hours.
What types of services does the Animal Control Officer provide?
The Animal Control Officer is charged with making sure that all animal regulations put in place by the State of California and the City of Gonzales is adhered to by the residents of Gonzales. The Animal Control Officer is a great source of information when you have questions concerning the number and types of animals that are allowed within the city limits. The City regulations can be found under the animal section of the Gonzales City Code. LINK TO CITY CODE
If my pet is lost what should I do?
We recommend that you contact the Animal Control Officer if you have a lost pet. The Animal Control Officer may have already located your pet or can assist in locating your pet. Many times other residents will turn in found pets to the Animal Control Officer and he or she can help reunite you with your pet.
Where are unclaimed animals taken?
All unclaimed animal are transported by the Animal Control Officer to the Monterey County SPCA. They are located at 1002 Highway 68 Monterey, California or by telephoning 831-422-4721.
Does the City of Gonzales have dog licensing requirements?
Yes there are annual licensing requirements for all dogs that are kept within the city limits of Gonzales. A dog license can be obtained at City Hall located at 147 Fourth Street. You will be required to show proof of a rabies vaccination when applying for your dog’s license.
What happens if I or a family member is bitten by an animal or our pet bites someone?
You need to report all animal bites to the police department as soon as possible. A report on the bite and a quarantine of the animal is required by law. The quarantine is done to insure that the animal dos not have any diseases that could cause harm to the person who was bitten. The Animal Control Officer will also follow up to insure that the animal has all of its required vaccinations.
Loud Music and Noise:
What is the law as it pertains to loud music or noise?
As in many cities loud music and noise can become an issue for some residents. There are state laws and city ordinances to deal with loud music and noise. California Penal Code section 415 makes it unlawful to disturb the peace of another with unreasonable loud noise, which could include music. The Gonzales City Code makes it unlawful to have outside amplified music after 10:00 pm or anytime during the day or night when the music can be heard for more the 200 feet.
What should I do if I am being disturbed by loud music or noise?
The first thing you should do is call the non-emergency number for the police department. An officer will be dispatched to the scene. If you request contact from the officer, he/she will work with you to find a solution to the problem. If you do not request contact the officer will take the appropriate enforcement action that he or she can.
What can the police officer do in a case like this?
There are some things that you need to know before the officer can take enforcement action. The California Penal Code section that covers unreasonable loud noise (disturbing the peace) requires that the victim press charges. The courts have ruled that an officer can not take action under this section without a victim willing to press charges. If the officer determines that the person causing the loud noise or music is in violation of the Gonzales City Code they can take enforcement action without having a complaint signed by the victim. In most cases the officer will issue the offending party a citation that will require them to appear in court.
What should I do if I have a complaint about a police officer or employee of the police department?
The Gonzales Police Department takes great pride in being part of the community and working with our residents to find solutions to the problems we encounter. The members of the department should treat our residents and visitors with respect and courtesy. If you have a compliant or question about a police officer or employee of the department you should call the non-emergency number for the police department and ask to speak with a supervisor. Explain to the supervisor what your complaint is and the supervisor will assist you with how to proceed. If you do not wish to speak with a supervisor, you can always contact the Chief of Police during normal business hours.
What will be done with my complaint?
California Law requires that all formal Citizen’s Complaints of police officer to be investigated. You will be offered a Citizen’s Complaint Form to fill out. This form will outline what your complaint is and who it is against. Once the complaint form has been received it will be assigned for investigation. As in most investigations, the investigator will contact you for the purpose of an interview. The investigator will also interview the accused officer and any witnesses. At the completion of the investigation a report will be completed that outlines the complaint and the investigator’s findings. At the conclusion of the investigation you will be notified in accordance with the law.
What happens if I do not complete the Citizen’s Complaint Form and don’t return it to the police department?
Your failure to complete a Citizen’s Complaint Form does not mean that your complaint will not be investigated. If the Chief of Police determines that an investigation is warranted he/she will order an investigation to be done. This may require the investigator to contact you to obtain information about your complaint so that the investigation can be completed.
Why is important that I speak with the investigator?
As with any investigation it is almost impossible to determine what occurred unless those involved provide us with information. If there is an issue with an employee of the department it is important that we are made aware of it and take what action we need to correct it.
Does Gonzales have gangs?
Like any other community Gonzales has residents that have gang ties and affiliations. While Gonzales’ gang issues are not as prevalent as other communities it is still an issue that the police department monitors and takes enforcement action on. For more information on gangs please go to the police department’s gang web site. LINK TO GANG PAGE
What can I do to help with the gang issues that Gonzales has?
The first and foremost thing that any resident can do is to report any gang activity that they witness. The community members are the extra sets of eyes and ears that the police department needs to address any gang problems. Without the help of the public it is difficult for the police department on its own to prevent all gang violence or issues.
How can I report a gang crime or gang activity that I have seen?
The best way to report any crime that is in progress is to call 911. The dispatcher will take the information that you have and send police officers to the scene to deal with the matter. It will be your choice to provide your name and contact information to the dispatcher. Like any other crime it is important that a police officer interview any witnesses, so speaking to the officer gives us the best chance of solving a crime.
What if I don’t want to provide my name or be contacted by the police officer?
If the crime you have witnessed just occurred or is happening call 911. If the information you have is about a crime that has already occurred and you do not want to provide you name you should call WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME (1-800-782-7463). The police department uses WeTip as its anonymous crime tip line.
STREET CLOSURES/CONSTRUCTION TRAFFIC
Any construction or demolition occurring in the City of Gonzales that involves activities which impede normal traffic flow may require a street closure or traffic detour. Street closures either full or partial closure of any roadways in the City of Gonzales for any length of time. Affected neighbors/agencies must receive a minimum 72 hour notification prior to start of work.
An Encroachment Permit issued by the Department of Public Works at least five days prior to beginning the work is required for a street closure. A Traffic Control Plan is required and is to be provided at the time of submittal for approval. Please allow a minimum of five working days to process a completed permit application. There is no guarantee that you will receive a permit just because you submit an application.
Questions & Answers
The sidewalk, parkstrip, curb, and gutter are all public facilities within the right-of-way. They can generally be described as being that portion of improved land between the property line and the street.
Who Is Responsible For Maintaining The Sidewalk, Parkstrip Area, And Curb And Gutter Area?
By state law, the owner of the fronting property is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, curb and gutter and parkstrip area. Maintenance responsibility includes repair or replacement of damaged or displaced concrete, abatement of weeds or debris, and trimming of shrubs to keep the area free of hazards.
NOTE: An encroachment permit is required to plant trees or install any permanent covering such as concrete, over the parkstrip area. If any repairs on underground utilities in the park strip are required, permanent coverings may have to be removed in a professional manner, but not replaced.
How Is The Necessity And Extent Of Concrete Repair Determined?
The sidewalk concrete is in need of repair if an inspection reveals:
The concrete sidewalk or parkstrip has cracked and raised one-half inch or more.
Ramping, where there is a rise or depression of one inch in two feet.
A hole or opening in a break or construction joint of one inch or more.
The breaking away or spalling of concrete with a minimum depth of 1/2 inch.
The criteria used for determining the necessity of curb and gutter repairs is as follows:
Curb and gutter that has a vertical separation of 1/2 inch or more, or is broken away where pedestrians travel.
Curb and gutter that is a part of a driveway approach that needs replacement.
Where marginal sidewalks meet the curb and have a vertical separation of 1/2 inch or more at the curb and gutter line.
The curb and gutter is raised and backs up water.
How Is The Need For Correction Of Landscape-Related Problems Determined?
Visibility - When parkstrip shrubbery interferes with vehicle operator visibility, trimming to a maximum height of three feet is required.
Thorny plants - Varieties of cactus and century plants have thorns that could cause serious injury; thus, removal of these is required. Removal of fan palms is also required.
Walkway and Gutter Clearance - Trimming of ground cover or shrubs is required when there is encroachment of more than six inches onto the sidewalk or gutter.
Tripping Hazards - If the parkstrip is unimproved or landscaped and there is a drop that exceeds one half inch below the concrete walk, the parkstrip must be filled with dirt or other material except asphalt. Tree stumps, large rocks, trash, and holes must be eliminated.
How Are Property Owners Notified That Sidewalk/ Parkstrip Repairs Are Necessary?
When an inspector determines that repair is necessary, the property owner is sent a letter informing him/her of the need for repairs.
What Are The Options Available For Completing The Work?
The property owner may not do the work. A permit is required for concrete repair, and may be obtained from the Public Works Department. There is no fee for the permit.
The property owner must hire a contractor to do the work. Again, a permit is required for concrete repair within the City Right of way.
How Does One Go About Finding A Contractor?
The City does not maintain a list of qualified contractors (Note: City does not recommend any contractor). The Yellow Pages are a good source of information. Contractors must be licensed to contract in the City of Gonzales and must obtain an encroachment permit from the City.
Where Does The City Get The Authority To Require Property Owners To Pay For The Repair Of Public Sidewalks?
The City uses the procedure provided in Chapter 22 of Division 7, Part 3 of the California Streets and Highways Code. Briefly summarized, this State law requires the owner of the property fronting a public street to maintain the sidewalk, curb and gutters and parkstrip in a condition that will not endanger persons or property and interfere with the convenient use of the area.
Are There Standards For Repair Work?
Yes, the standards for repair work are the same as those used for new construction. Concrete walks must be removed to construction joints or sawed at score lines and replaced using the materials and specifications required in the City of Gonzales Standard Details. In some instances, repairs may be permitted using patching materials. The locations and materials must be approved on an individual basis by the City Engineer. They are approved for minor repairs only.
Is The Property Owner Responsible For Repairs If The Concrete Damage Is Caused By A Parkstrip Tree?
Property owners are not exempt from liability for the cost of concrete repair even though the damage may have been caused by trees in the public right-of-way. In an effort to beautify our City's neighborhoods, street trees are required to be planted in front of each residence. Careful consideration is given in selecting street trees that will not cause sidewalk damage. Also, it is required that concrete, bricks, plastic sheeting or other impervious material be placed no closer than three feet to any street tree. This allows air and water to better penetrate into the soil to encourage deeper tree roots. If you wish to plant, trim or remove a tree in the public right-of-way, you must obtain a permit from the Public Works Department (675-5000).
Who Is Liable If Someone Is Injured Due To A Damaged Sidewalk?
Personal injury suits can be filed against both the property owner and the City. A judge and/or jury determines if there was negligence and who is liable for damages.
How to Diagnose and Fix a Leaking Toilet
A leaking toilet can be annoying and wasteful. To check if your toilet has a leak, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If coloring is seen in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak. To pinpoint the leak, follow these simple steps:
If the tank is not filling with water, the float ball is not returning to the seat properly.
Check to see if the linkage that connects to the trip lever is hung up.
If that doesn't work, then the ball needs to be replaced. A flapper ball can replace a worn flush valve ball.
If the tank is full of water, and water is flowing into the overflow tube, then the valve is not shutting off correctly.
Lift up on the float ball. If the water shuts off, then the ball is not sitting properly in the tank. This could be caused by two things:
The ball has a leak and is full of water. Replace with another ball or flapper.
The float ball needs adjusting. Use the screw at the base of the rod to lower the float ball so that the water level is 1/2 to 1 inch below the overflow tube.
If water does not shut off when you lift up on the float ball, then the valve itself needs to be repaired or replaced. Repair kits and new valves with easy to follow instructions are available at local hardware stores.
If water is not flowing into the overflow tube, but constantly runs or periodically turns on and off, the flush ball or flapper is not fitting snugly into the flush ball seat. When seats get old they get pitted and allow water to leak past the seal and down the drain. Minerals and other deposits may also build up on the seat, making it rough.
If worn, replace the flush ball or flapper.
If the problem persists, the seat can be cleaned with steel wool, covered with a repair seal or replaced.
Sewage is backing up into my house overflowing from my drains. What should I do?
If these problems occur and you are not using any water outlets, there may be a problem in the City main. Call 675-5000 or after business hours call 769-8888 to request service.
If you are using your household water outlets, turn them off. If the overflowing wastewater stops after turning off your outlets, you likely a problem in your sewer lateral and you will need to call a plumber. There is a cap on the sewer lateral cleanout located outside your home; if you remove the cap it may reduce backup in your inside drains for a short time.
What is a sewer lateral?
A sewer lateral (building sewer) is the privately owned and maintained sewer pipe connecting a building/dwelling to the public sewer main.
What should I do if sewage is overflowing from a sewer structure onto the ground?
If you notice any sewage flowing onto the ground call 678-5000 or 769-8888 to report it. Please give your name and a call back number and note exact location and where the sewage is coming from. City crews will respond to investigate.
I have slow drainage through my toilets, drains. What can I do about it?
Check to see if your neighbors are having a similar slow drainage problem. Call the City Hall and request that sewer main check. City crews will notify you if the problem is in the City main or not. If the city does not have a problem you will need to call a plumber to clean your lateral.
What causes sewer odors inside the house?
Sewage has a natural tendency to produce odors; all sewers have odors. The plumbing system in your home is designed to prevent these odors from entering the house by using a vapor trap. If you are experiencing odors indoors, it is likely that there is a problem with the vapor trap. If you experience a problem with your vapor trap, a plumber can help you.
Atmospheric conditions can also affect odors from sewer systems entering the house. When barometric pressure is falling or is very low, the air outside can be heavier than air from the sewer system, causing pressure to build up in the sewer system. This temporary condition may cause indoor odors, but will resolve as barometric pressure increases.
What is the purpose of vapor traps?
Every water fixture in your house has a vapor trap. This “U” shaped pipe is clearly visible under sinks, and is present in some form on all lines draining to the sewage system. The “U” shape holds water, preventing gases from backing up from the sewer into the house through the sink drain.
What is the purpose of the roof vent?
All houses have plumbing vents (also called a vent stack) that extend through the roof. These vents allow air to flow both in and out of the house plumbing system, helping water to flow through the pipes. Working in combination with the vapor traps, gases from the sewer system are safely vented.
What are some of the problems that can occur?
When sewer gasses are present inside the home, usually one or more vapor traps has dried out. The water in a vapor trap will evaporate if the fixture is not used often; seldom-used bathrooms or utility sinks are commonly odor sources. The simple solution is to periodically run water (one or two cups) into the drain to refill the trap.
How do I file a claim if I have property damage caused by a sewer back up?
Contact the Office of the City Clerk at 675-5000 or at 147 Fourth Street City Hall to request a Claim Form.
Who maintains the sewer line?
The City maintains all sewer mains, which are located in the street or public utilities easements. Residents and business owner’s own the lateral connections to the mains, laterals typically run on the owners’ property and on streets or public areas to reach the main.
Property owners maintain their sewer lateral line, including the connection to the public sewer main. Locating the lateral is also a property owner’s responsibility, although the City will attempt to assist by providing recorded, available information.
How do I report a problem?
To report a problem in the sewer main during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., call city hall at (831) 675-5000. Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., contact the Gonzales Police Department at (831) 769-8888
Who should I call in case of a water emergency, such as a water line break or broken fire hydrant?
For water emergencies during normal office hours, contact City Hall. For water emergencies after office hours, call Please contact the Police Department at any of the following: From 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 675-5010 After Business Hours Call 769-8888.
Is City of Gonzales responsible for plumbing leaks?
The City of Gonzales is only responsible for the water system on the City side of the meter. Customers are responsible for maintaining the plumbing on their side of the meter.
How do I turn off the water supply to my house in the event of a break in my plumbing or a repair?
You can interrupt the flow of water to your home by turning off your house valve. House valves are usually located beneath a faucet outside the home, most typically near the faucet for the garden hose. If you cannot find your house valve, please call City Hall for assistance.
How do I discontinue or transfer my water service?
To stop your water service, please contact City Hall phone, mail, fax, or e-mail and request to have the service taken out of your name. If you are moving within the city limits and would like to transfer your service, please call City Hall.
How can I tell if my toilet has a leak?
To find out if your toilet leaks, listen for the sound of running water. You can also place a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Don't flush the toilet. If the coloring is seen in the bowl, the toilet is leaking.
Fact Sheet: Hard Water
Water is considered soft if total hardness is less than 75 ppm, moderately hard at 75 to 150 ppm, hard at 150 to 300 ppm, and very hard at 300 ppm or higher. To convert the hardness of your water from parts per million to grains per gallon, simply divide by 17.1.
Water's hardness varies with its source. Hard water is not harmful to health, so the choice to buy a water softener is an aesthetic one. However, people on low-sodium diets should be aware that many water softeners increase the sodium content of the water.
Water Quality FAQs
Why does my water appear milky or cloudy?
A milky or cloudy appearance is usually caused by air bubbles in the water, which pose no health risk. If the water is allowed to sit, the air will dissipate and the water will clear. If the cloudiness does not disappear, please call Public Works Department so that we may investigate.
What causes the spots on my dishes?
Spots are caused by hard water, or minerals that remain after the water has evaporated. Spots can be eliminated through use of a dishwasher rinse agent.
Should I buy a water softener?
The hardness of water varies with the water's source. The choice to buy a softener is an aesthetic one, since hard water is not harmful to health. However, water softeners typically increase the sodium content of the water, a factor that should be considered by people on low-sodium diets.
Should I buy a home filtration unit?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, home treatment units are rarely necessary for health reasons. Most often, water treatment units are used to remove substances that affect the aesthetic qualities of the water. If you do choose to install a home treatment unit, it is important to follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions, because improperly maintained units can actually cause water quality problems.
What should I do if my coffee has an oily appearance?
Clean your coffee maker with vinegar and water as directed by the manufacturer.
What causes odor in the hot water?
The most common cause of odor in hot water is the water heater. If your cold water smells fine, check your water heater to ensure that the temperature setting is correct. Water heaters also need to be maintained (see manufacturer's instructions). Please call Public Works Department if the odor persists or if it is present in both the hot and cold water.
What causes some water to be discolored?
Color in water is usually caused by naturally occurring organic matter, minerals, or mineral build-up in the pipes. At Public Works Department, we flush our water system regularly to clean mineral build-up and other sediment from the pipes. If you receive discolored water, you should let your faucets run until the water is clear. Such substances typically do not pose a health hazard; however, we ask that you please report any instances of discolored water to Public Works Department so that we may investigate.
Is bottled water higher quality than tap water?
Tap water providers and bottled water providers must meet the same water quality standards. In fact, tap water providers are required to conduct more frequent water quality testing and reporting than bottled water providers. Some consumers prefer the taste of bottled water, and some choose bottled water because they have special health needs. But tap water is a much better deal, costing 1,000 times less than bottled water.
Why do City employees open fire hydrants?
Public Works Department conducts regular water system flushing to remove any mineral build-up and sediment from the pipes and also to ensure that water circulates adequately throughout the system. Fire hydrants may also be opened to conduct fire-flow capability tests.
Why does water need to be disinfected?
Disinfectants are required because they prevent the spread of germs that cause diseases. Years ago, before disinfectants were used for drinking water, diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery were common. Drinking water disinfection has vastly improved the quality and safety of drinking water.
Why does my water have a chlorine taste (or smell)?
Public Works Department disinfects your water to ensure that it is free of harmful bacteria. To reduce any chlorine taste or smell, try refrigerating your water before drinking.
Why is there dirt or sand in my water?
Dirt or sand can occur naturally in groundwater or as a result of a water line repair. We try to reduce the instances of dirt or sand in the water through regular flushing, which improves water quality by increasing the circulation of water in the pipes and removing most of the sediment from the water.