To report a suspected code violation, submit a completed Code Enforcement Form. If you have a question about whether or not an action violates the code, the information on this page outlines the most common infractions for your convenience.
Construction activities is only permitted during the following times:
CONSTRUCTION WITHOUT PERMITS
No person, firm, or corporation shall erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish any building or structure regulated by Section 15.04 of the Orinda Municipal Code, or cause the same to be done, or install or connect any equipment regulated by this title, or perform any work regulated by this title, without first obtaining the necessary permits from the City.
Most construction and demolition projects require a building permit. Certain projects do not require a building permit. Visit the Building Permits page for more information.
You may view the online building permit history of a property in Orinda by visiting the ePermits website.
Fence & Retaining Walls
Planning Department approval is not required for new and reconstructed fences Section 17.4.27 of the Municipal Code. Fences within 5 feet of a street abutting property line are limited to 4 feet in height and must be visually open. Fences more than 5 feet from the front property line may be up to 6 feet in height, must be screened with landscaping and may be constructed of a solid material.
Fences may not be constructed in the public right-of-way without the approval of a revocable encroachment agreement. Because the public right-of-way is almost always wider than the paved roadway width and the pavement is not always centered in the right-of-way, a property line survey may be required. For additional information, please review Section 17.15.3 of the Orinda Municipal Code.
Protected trees cannot be removed without a Tree Removal Permit. Trees are protected if they are:
- On Vacant Property - 6 inches or more in diameter, regardless of species.
- On Developed Property - 12 inches or more in diameter and are an oak species.
- Riparian trees - 4.5 inches in diameter within 30 feet of the bank of a water course.
- When a hazardous or dangerous condition requires immediate action to protect life or property;
- Under emergency conditions when ordered by a fire official, the Public Works Director, Parks and Recreation Director or City Manager;
- For a city project on city property or for a city project within the public right-of-way;
- To maintain a firebreak as required by state law;
- To maintain an unobstructed flow of water for flood control safety in creek beds and waterways as determined by the City Engineer;
- When required in writing by the Moraga-Orinda Fire District for Fire Code compliance following consultation with the Planning Director, who will annually make available to the City Council data regarding how many times and where this exception is invoked; and
- When alternation, removal or destruction of a protected tree is required for compliance with any federal or state law.
Orinda Municipal Code Section 19.01.070 identifies the following as a nuisance:
- Visible rubbish and refuse;
- Tangible personal property not intended for outdoor use (including but not limited to broken or discarded furniture, household equipment and furnishings, or shopping carts) which is stored on property so as to be visible from a public street or the vicinity of the property;
- Packing boxes, cardboard boxes, lumber, trash, barrels, drums, salvage materials, vehicle parts or other debris kept on the property for more than sixty (60) days, and visible from a public street or the vicinity of the property;
- Attractive nuisances dangerous to children and other persons, including but not limited to, abandoned, broken, neglected or hazardous equipment, machinery, appliances, refrigerators and freezers, hazardous pools, ponds and excavations;
Garbage cans must be reasonably screened, where practical, from a public street or the vicinity of the property, except during times allocated for regularly scheduled collection.
Large Vehicle Parking
A recreational vehicle, boat, trailer, camper shell, large appliance or other large equipment shall not be parked, stored or placed on a residential lot for more than seventy-two (72) hours within a one-month period, except to load or unload the vehicle, unless the following requirements are met:
- The vehicle or equipment shall be adequately screened from view. "Adequately screened from view" means substantially screened from view from the street or other property by a closed garage, fence or landscaping so that the vehicle is not visible or is barely visible. For vehicles over six (6) feet high, at least seventy (70) percent of the height shall be screened.
- No vehicle or equipment may be placed within the minimum side yard setback area unless it maintains a minimum five-foot setback from the property line.
- The engine of such a vehicle or equipment shall not idle for more than ten (10) minutes a day on the property.
A vehicle or trailer may not be used for habitation, for keeping animals, or for any other residential use.
Work Within Riparian Zones
Section 17.4.6 of the Orinda Municipal Code states that no structure may be built in the setback required for creeks, streams and watercourses unless City Engineer approval has been obtained under Municipal Code section 16.64.220.C and an Exception Permit has been obtained under Orinda Municipal Code Section 17.30.5. The City Engineer review ensures the safety of the structure and design review ensures that the site and landscape plan "retains, enhances and restores appropriate riparian vegetation."