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Common Municipal Code Violations

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Exterior Storage

The property maintenance code (Chapter 9.22 CMC) prohibits the storage of any appliance, furniture, Exterior Storage Blightold mattresses or other equipment not designed for outdoor use, to be stored in any front, side or back yard areas visible from the public street or sidewalk for more than seventy-two hours. In addition to detracting from the aesthetic appearance of the neighborhood, this type of storage can be an attractive nuisance to children and may become a harborage rodents and other vermin.

Disposal Suggestions
For information on how to dispose of large bulky items such as appliances, machinery or other similar items, please contact the Los Altos Garbage Company at 408.725.4020. For electronic waste recycling such as computer equipment, televisions, VCR’s and similar, please call the Apple and City of Cupertino Joint Recycling Program at 408.862.2667

Excessive and Non-containerized Garbage

Uncontainerized GarbageThe property maintenance and garbage codes (Chapters 9.22 and 6.24) prohibit the accumulation of more than one week’s garbage on any premises. Furthermore, an accumulation of litter, junk and / or recyclables is a violation, but more importantly creates unpleasant odors and is a health hazard, as it may create habitat for rodents, flies and other vermin.

Disposal Suggestions
Many items traditionally considered to be garbage, may in fact be recyclable. Scrap metal, lumber, and yard waste can all be recycled and should not be mixed with garbage to be taken to the landfill. For questions about what can be recycled, please contact the Los Altos Garbage Company at 408.725.4020 or the Santa Clara County Recycling Hotline at 408.533.8414.

Under California State law, electronic waste such as computer equipment, televisions, VCR’s and similar items may not be disposed of in the garbage, due to mercury and lead contamination. This waste can however, easily be recycled by calling the Apple and City of Cupertino Joint Recycling Program at 408.862.2667.

Other hazardous waste such as paint, solvents and fluorescent lighting can be disposed of by calling the Countywide Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program at 408.299.7300 or


Dry and Overgrown Weeds
Dry and overgrown weeds are a nuisance and safety hazard. In addition to contributing to visual blight, Weeds in front of the housedry weeds create a hazardous condition increasing the risk of fire and create a habitat for rodents. Overgrown, seed bearing weeds spread weed seed through the air causing the proliferation of weeds throughout the neighborhood. The property maintenance and weed abatement codes (Chapters 9.22 and 9.08 CMC) require property owners to maintain their properties such that weeds do not become overgrown and become a fire hazard. Residents should regularly mow lawns and implement effective weed control by appropriate use of weed pre-emergent in other yard areas, to reduce the weed growth on both their property and other homes in the neighborhood.


Inoperative and Abandoned Vehicles on Public and Private Property

Inoperable Car and JunkInoperable vehicles parked on city streets and on private property in view of the street and sidewalk detract from neighborhood appearance and are a violation of the municipal code (Chapters 11.04 and 11.24 CMC). Vehicles parked on private property that are visibly inoperable due to missing tires and engine parts or are wrecked and dismantled in many cases constitute a violation and are subject to abatement.

Both the California State Vehicle Code and Cupertino Municipal Code prohibit the storage or parking of vehicles on the public street for longer than seventy-two consecutive hours. Vehicles violating provisions of these codes are subject to citation and impoundment. To report a vehicle that meets these criteria, please call the City of Cupertino Abandoned Vehicle Hotline at 408.777.3315.

If you have a desire to donate a vehicle to charity, there are a host of organizations that may be willing to assist you. In many cases, you may be eligible for a tax deduction for your vehicle. For additional information concerning charitable vehicle donation consider the following web site for information:

Non-Conforming Home Occupations

The City of Cupertino acknowledges that changes in technology and composition of the work force, among other factors, have contributed to a growing interest on the part of Cupertino citizens to live and work in their homes. The City also finds that home business enterprises can help reduce commuter-traffic impacts, reduce or eliminate child care expenses for people with young families, and provide the opportunity to test creative business ventures with greatly reduced startup costs. While many businesses meet these standards, many more may not and would in fact, be a disruption to the non-commercial nature of a residential neighborhood.

The home occupation section of the municipal code (Chapter 5.04.290 CMC) provides for regulation of home-based businesses. To operate a conforming home occupation, a business license must be issued. As part of the license application, the Planning Division reviews the application and nature of the business, considering the impact it would have on the neighborhood. Certain conditions such as noise, traffic (pedestrian and vehicular), signs, and exterior storage are all considered when the application is being reviewed. Certain occupations are specifically prohibited and include beauty parlors, medical offices, private schools, and auto repair.

Excessive Noise Issues

Excessive noise can have adverse effects on our quality of life. When considering activities and conditions that create noise affecting both the residential and business communities within Cupertino, the City has adopted a comprehensive noise ordinance (Chapter 10.48 CMC). It was designed to balance the need for certain necessary noise making activities to be permitted, while protecting the community from unreasonable impacts by limiting the noisy activities by time and day of week they may be conducted. The Code Enforcement Division responds to complaints of excessive noise from construction, commercial deliveries, landscape maintenance, and noisy animals. For incidents of excessive noise after normal business hours and on weekends, residents should call the Sheriff’s Department Dispatch Center at 408.299.2311 for a deputy response to investigate the complaint and quiet the noise if warranted. Contacting the Code Enforcement office to report the incident is also encouraged, as additional follow up can be conducted with the involved parties to ensure long-term compliance.

Right-of-way Obstructions

Sidewalk ObstructionCupertino prides itself on being a pedestrian friendly community. To that end, it is important to keep our streets and sidewalks clear of any obstructions that impede their safe use. Overgrown hedges and shrubs that encroach into the sidewalk are a hazard and must be kept pruned. The municipal code (Chapter 14.08 CMC) requires property owners to cut back all foliage from obstructing the sidewalk and to maintain a minimum ten-foot overhead clearance above the sidewalk and street.




Sign Violations

Temporary Sign ImageTemporary signs are an integral component to the business in community attracting customers to their stores. Temporary signs also are quite helpful to the consumer in locating those special treasures found in many of our shops and restaurants. There are however, regulations in the municipal code (Chapter 19.104 CMC) that regulate temporary advertising signs as it relates to size, placement, and style. The Planning Division issues temporary sign permits and complaints of possible sign ordinance violations are investigated by the Code Enforcement Division.

Other types of temporary sign violations include posting lost pet, real estate, and garage sale signs. The Code Enforcement Division periodically conducts non-conforming sign sweeps and encourages community input of possible violations.

Nuisance Animals
The City of Cupertino contracts its animal control services with the City of San Jose Animal Care and Services (SJACS). Animals running at large, maintaining unsanitary conditions, excessive number of household pets and bite investigation/quarantining are all services provided by SJACS. SJACS can be reached at 408.794.7297 for non emergency calls for service. For reports of excessive noise from animals such as barking issues, please call Code Enforcement at 408.777.3182.

Graffiti is detrimental to property values, degrades the quality of life in the City, and is inconsistent Graffiti On Wallwith the City’s property maintenance goals and aesthetic standards. Graffiti eradication is regulated in the municipal code (Chapter 10.60 CMC) and requires private property owners to remove graffiti within ten days. Property owners are strongly encouraged to act as quickly as possible to remove graffiti, as each day a graffiti tag is visible is another day the perpetrator has gained affirmation. In addition, graffiti left visible, tends to encourage more graffiti in the same location or on adjacent property. To report graffiti on private property please contact the Code Enforcement Division.

Graffiti on public property such as street signs, traffic signal boxes, and parks is addressed by the Public Works Department. To report graffiti on public property please call the Public Works Service Center via e-mail or at 408.777.3269. 

Parking Enforcement
The City has numerous areas with restricted permit parking and bi-monthly street sweeping restrictions. As part of their responsibilities, Code Enforcement Officers patrol and respond to complaints of parking violations. To report a parking violation, please call the Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at 408.299.2311 and a Code Enforcement Officer or Sheriff’s Deputy will respond.

Various Permit Violations
Code enforcement officers investigate numerous types of permit violations. Activities such as door to door soliciting and distributing flyers both require the participant to obtain a permit in advance of engaging in the activity. Businesses such as massage establishments and taxicab operators also are required to possess valid permits to operate. Other activities such as encroachment permits, land use permits, and business licenses are also requirements of the municipal code.