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A Good News: City of Solvang launches an amnesty program for unpermitted properties!


The Solvang City Council adopted an Amnesty Program effective January 1 through June 30, 2020.

Newly elected mayor and entirely renewed city council were promising an amnesty program and smooth, transparent building permitting process during their election campaign.

Building Amnesty and improvement of permitting department was one of the top items on newly elected city officials’ agenda. Newly elected mayor and entirely renewed city council has been working on it.

Building and sign permitting process has been a big issue and many complaints about the permitting department. The previous city administration used the permitting process and code check as a weapon toward “non-liked projects and non-liked people”.

During the amnesty time period, the program will allow all penalties to be waived for residential and commercial structures to bring any unpermitted alterations, repairs, adjustments projects to be brought into compliance. The Amnesty Program will allow residents and businesses to go through the process to permit any building amendments to their property subject to the City Municipal Code that have not been formally permitted prior to construction without incurring City-imposed penalties.

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  • “Having experienced first-hand the ramifications of buying a house that had been modified without permits, I could see how daunting it can be for residents and businesses who may be concerned about uncontrolled costs, penalties, and paperwork,” says Mayor Ryan Toussaint. “The City wants to make this process approachable. It’s the city’s responsibility to make it easy for residents and businesses to become compliant with the law while achieving their goals. Our hope is the Amnesty Program will take away concerns related to bringing properties up-to-code and working with the City on their projects.”
  • Mayor Toussaint emphasizes the importance of community feedback to make this program successful. “As we continue to undertake this process, we are looking for feedback from organizations or people of interest on how the Amnesty Program can best serve residents and businesses,” says Mayor Ryan Toussaint. “We encourage contractors, realtors, property owners and any other interested parties to spread the word about this new program. The City of Solvang is here to serve the community.”
  • Acting City Manager, Xenia Bradford said “The goal is to provide this service to those in need who have purchased the property and/or performed unpermitted work. It will reduce liability and increase property values. Ultimately, the goal is to improve health and safety for homes and businesses, reduce liability and increase property values through the permit process.”
  • The City urges Solvang residents and businesses to submit a permit application to bring their property into compliance by contacting the Planning Department at (805) 688-4414 or visiting in person at 411 Second Street, Solvang, CA 93463 to initiate the process.