Citizen Toolkit

It’s important to me to share the information and resources from which I draw on to form my understanding and opinions. If there is one thing I can leave a fellow Rancho Cordovan with after visiting this campaign web site, it’s being more informed to make better decisions, regardless who you vote for.

Making Public Records Requests from the City of Rancho Cordova


Chapter 1: The Planning Commissioner’s Role
Planning Commissioners Handbook -CA Institute for Local Government

City of San Mateo Planning Commission Handbook

Planning Commission 101:The Nuts and Bolts of Planning
CA League of Cities 2017: Planning Commissioners’ Academy


Michael Zechlin Case 2017

New Code Compliance Activity Map Featured On City of Pasadena Website
Pasadena Now Published: Monday, March 19, 2018

City website speeds permit, zoning complaint watchdogging
San Diego Union-Tribune By Roger Showley Dec 01, 2014

City of San Jose,  CA Interactive Code Enforcement Case Inquiry Map

RV Ordinance

Regulation Of Recreational Vehicle Storage On Residential Property For Aesthetic Reasons Is Within A City’s Constitutional Police Powers | Land Use Law Blog

Concord’s RV Storage Ordinance Upheld | Concord, CA Patch

DISNEY v. CITY OF CONCORD, (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1410 

By: Christine Dietrick, City Attorney, Jon Ansolabehere, Assistant City Attorney ,City of San Luis Obispo

Written in 2015, provided by CA League of Cities, about the LEGAL authority a city has over land use and zoning, written by a city attorney of San Luis Obispo. The intended audience of this document is city attorneys, city council members, city staff. The last paragraph excerpt below discusses RV parking  case, Disney v. City of Concord, (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1410



This paper provides a general overview of the fundamental principles and legal concepts of Land Use and Planning Law. This paper will cover: the foundations of city land use authority through the constitutional police power; basis for challenging public agency decisions; the requirements for and relationships between general plans, specific plans, zoning and subdivision regulations and development agreements; basic environmental review requirements under CEQA; vested rights principles; an overview of design, conservation, and historic preservation tools; the general rules governing development fees, exactions and takings analyses; state and local affordable housing requirements; and the requirements for due process proceedings and administrative findings in the land use context. We hope you find the paper helpful and that it serves as an easy to use resource for municipal land use attorneys.


Virtually every reference guide on Municipal Law begins with the premise that a city has the police power to protect the public health, safety and welfare of its residents. See Berman v. Parker, (1954) 348 U.S. 26, 32-33. This right is set forth in the California Constitution, which states “A county or city may make and enforce within its limits all local, police, sanitary, and other ordinances and regulations not in conflict with general laws.” Cal. Const. at. XI, section 7. The ability to enact ordinances to protect the health, safety and welfare is important in the land use context because it confers very broad rights to adopt regulations that implement local land use vision and values, so long as laws enacted by a city are not in conflict with state general laws. This concept is critical because new practitioners often look to cite to a specific statute as the legal authority to adopt an ordinance when, in fact, a city’s broad land use authority flows directly from the constitution in the absence of a statutory prohibition or preemption of the city’s otherwise regulatory authority.

Land use and zoning regulations are derivative of a City’s general police power. See DeVita v. County of Napa, (1995) 9 Cal. 4th 763, 782; see also Big Creek Lumber Co. v. City of Santa Cruz, (2006) 38 Cal. 4th 1139, 1159. This power allows cities to establish land use and zoning laws which govern the development and use of the community. In Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas (1974) 416 U.S. 1, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the scope of such power and stated: “The police power is not confined to 2 elimination of filth, stench and unhealthy places. It is ample to lay out zones where family values, youth values, and the blessings of quiet seclusion and clean air make the area a sanctuary for people.” Id at 9.

One seminal land use and zoning case underscoring a city’s police power was Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. The City of Turlock, (2006) 138 Cal. App. 4th 273, 303 where, in response to concerns over the impacts of big box stores, particularly Wal-Mart, the City of Turlock adopted an ordinance prohibiting the development of discount superstores. Wal-Mart challenged the ordinance, stating the city had exceeded its police power, but the Court disagreed. The court found the police power allows cities to “control and organize development within their boundaries as a means of serving the general welfare.” Id at 303. The important issue to understand in that case was the language of the ordinance itself. The ordinance did not, and legally could not, target specific tenants which were perceived as causing the certain impacts. However, the city could control the use and development standards of property within its community which, in effect, prohibited only a handful of big box retailers, including Wal-Mart.

Another case that highlights the city’s police power, especially at the micro level, is Disney v. City of Concord, (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1410. In that case, the City of Concord adopted an ordinance restricting the storage and parking of recreational vehicles in residential yards and driveways. Among other things, the City of Concord’s ordinance limited the number of RVs on any residential property to two, required RVs to be stored in side and rear yards behind a six foot high opaque fence, prohibited RVs from being stored on front yards and driveways (with some exceptions) and established maintenance standards for RVs within the public view. James Disney filed suit. His main argument was that the ordinance exceeded Concord’s police power. The Court determined that the City of Concord’s Ordinance was a valid exercise of the city’s police power, where the ordinance had an aesthetic purpose. Citing Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego (1980) 26 Cal.3d 848, 858, the Court stated

“It is within the power of the Legislature to determine that the community should be beautiful as well as healthy, spacious as well as clean, well balanced as well as carefully patrolled.”

Again, as echoed by Village of Belle, supra, a city’s police power is not limited to regulating just stench and filth.

Appellate court upholds Concord’s RV ordinance – The Mercury News

Elk Grove City Council approves new RV parking law | News |

About City Parking Restrictions for Recreational Vehicles (RVs) – City of Elk Grove

11/01/2018 West Sacramento Planning Commission Report Zoning Ordinance Modernization Report


Rental Housing Inspection Program- City of Rancho Cordova

Rental Housing Inspection Program – City of Sacramento

Rental Housing Inspection Program – County of Sacramento

Sacramento reforms costly rental inspection program
CA Apartment Association June 7, 2013

A Guide to Proactive Rental Inspection Programs
ChangeLab Solutions Study – 2014

ROS (Residential Occupancy Standards), Keating Memo and  “2+1”  Rule

Occupancy Standards . . . Not As Simple As “2 Persons Per Bedroom”
Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. – Petrie + Pettit Law Firm

How Many People Can Legally Live in a One Bedroom Apartment?
Written by Jayne Thompson –

2016 White Paper: Fair Housing: Familial Status and Occupancy
National Multi-Family Housing Council – National Apartment Association

HUD: Keating Memorandum: Fair Housing Enforcement—Occupancy Standards; Notice of Statement of Policy 1998

2016 Presentation – Background and History of Residential Occupancy Standards
USF Tim Iglesias

‘Two plus one rule’ governs number of people in rental
Robert Griswold – SFGATE – 2005

Landlord’s limit on number of occupants may be fair housing violation
Los Angeles Times ANKY VAN DEURSEN JUL 01, 2015

Sacramento County Grand Jury

Grand Jury Final Reports

Grand Jury Complaints