California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Local Government Construction and Demolition (C&D) Guide

Fines and Penalties

The most common “penalty” for construction and demolition (C&D) noncompliance is forfeiture of the deposit. Some jurisdictions have additional enforcement mechanisms in their ordinance in the form of fines and/or penalties. Jurisdictions that have included fines or penalties in their C&D ordinance have found these enforcement methods to be very useful in ensuring compliance with their ordinance.

Some jurisdictions that have implemented ordinances without stipulating penalties for noncompliance have included an “option to revise” section in their ordinance. This gives a jurisdiction the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the ordinance after a specified time period to determine if it should be revised to include additional requirements, such as the assessment of penalties for noncompliance. Alternatively, you may want to put the mechanism for fines or penalties in place, but not enforce those until after a specified time period to enable you to evaluate the effectiveness of the ordinance without those additional fines or penalties.

Alternatives to establishing a fine or penalty for noncompliance include:

  • Focusing time and resources on increased technical support.
  • Verbal warnings.

Types of fines or penalties that may be included in an ordinance are:

  • Forfeiting deposit. Lack of compliance could mean deposit is forfeited to the jurisdiction.
  • Three strikes policy. You could establish an increasing fine for successive violations on noncompliance, for example, $100 for first time violation, $200 for the second, and $500 for each time thereafter.
  • Fines. Civil action for misdemeanor violation. Failure to comply could result in a misdemeanor violation, a certain amount of jail time, or a set dollar amount for a fine, or both.
  • Penalties. Lack of compliance could also result in encumbering or hindering any future building permits.

Listed below are additional ways to encourage compliance with your C&D ordinance:

  • Provide grant money to certified recycling facilities.
  • Return deposits for compliance with ordinance.
  • Link issuance of Certificate of Occupancy to C&D ordinance compliance.
  • Provide free pick up of recyclable materials (usually for projects that fall below the ordinance’s threshold level).

It is important to note that if your jurisdiction is a general law city or county, you should consult with your city attorney’s office or county counsel’s office before including a fines/penalties section in your ordinance, as general law cities and counties may have some limitations on their use of this kind of enforcement mechanism.

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Last updated: May 28, 2005
Local Government Library http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/LGCentral/Library/
Local Assistance & Market Development: LAMD@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6199