Code Compliance

Carmel-by-the-Sea Department of Community Planning and Building


Carmel-by-the-Sea is internationally recognized as a unique small coastal community with a distinctive residential village character.  The City strives to preserve and maintain this character through appropriate zoning and land development regulations.  The code compliance function of the City is established to:

  • Educate the public on City rules and regulations;
  • Assist in maintaining and protecting community character;
  • Help promote a clean, healthy and safe environment; and to 
  • Protect property values.

Code compliance activities are initiated through both citizen complaints and by City staff observations.  Complaints can be filed by either calling 831-620-2010, filling out a complaint form at City Hall, or by email at Complaints should include the name and contact information of the person(s) filing the complaint, the exact location and description of the possible violation.  Incomplete or insufficient information may delay or stop the investigation.

Privacy Policy

Records of complaints are considered "acquired in confidence" consistent with Section 1040 Of the Evidence Code and Section 6254 of the Government Code.  Code violation case files fall within the definition of a public record and are subject to public disclosure. However, the identities of complainants will be held as confidential unless ordered to be released by a judge of a court of record.


The following steps are typically followed when a potential violation is identified:

  • Complaint is received or staff observes a potential violation;
  • A site inspection is scheduled to verify if a violation exists;
  • Staff attempts to make personal contact with property owner/tenant/business owner to discuss the violation;
  • A letter is sent detailing the violation with a timeline for correction;
  • If a property owner/tenant/business owner is not responsive, a citation may be issued.  Businesses may also be scheduled for a hearing with the Planning Commission to revoke a use permit and/or business license;
  • If a citation does not resolve the violation, the matter is forwarded to the City Attorney’s office for further action.