Measure C will provide funding that will stay 100% in Lafayette to be used for the maintenance and enhancement of the city's quality of life. Measure C provides for an additional 1% general sales tax for a period of 29 years, providing $3 million annually. A Citizen's Oversight Committee will be established to monitor the measure's revenues and expenditures. The Lafayette Chamber of Commerce supports Measure C.
Passage of Measure C would provide funding to pursue projects in Lafayette that residents have asked for over the past two years via Community Conversations and surveys. The approval of the Measure will also put Lafayette on an equal sales tax revenue basis compared with our neighboring cities and, along with Lafayette residents, the sales tax will be paid by people from other communities who shop in Lafayette. The money will also be used by the City to leverage opportunities for matching funds, grants and private donations as they arise by using the funds from the Measure as seed money.
Q:The City touts its $8 million reserve fund and consistent budget surpluses so why did the City propose a measure for additional tax money?A:
The City does have $8 million in reserves. However, the Council has traditionally earmarked those funds for potential disaster recovery efforts. When a disaster hits an area prone to wildfires and earthquakes, it is not uncommon for the jurisdiction to spend $1 million a day. For this reason, Lafayette maintains a healthy reserve.
It is also true that the City has generated surpluses for the last several years through prudent management and careful budgeting. However, the Sales Tax Revenue Study Committee concluded that, while the City can cover expenses for existing programs with budget surpluses, there is very little additional revenue available for any new projects or programs without reallocating resources from current priorities.
YES. State law gives cities the option to add sales tax increments but also provides limits. In Contra Costa County, the maximum sales tax add-on rate for any jurisdiction may not exceed 2.5 percent above the State rate (i.e., 10%). While this limit would not impede Measure C, it could impact future local sales taxes. Here’s how. If Lafayette voters choose not to approve the Measure C tax now and, in subsequent elections, county-wide agencies such as BART or the local transportation authority are successful with their own county-wide sales tax measures, those other agencies’ new tax rates could entirely “use up” Lafayette’s headroom under the tax cap. In such a case, the higher sales tax increment paid at local stores could be used entirely for County-wide purposes instead of remaining in Lafayette. Lafayette could be prohibited from seeking a higher sales tax rate for itself absent the sunset of an existing tax measure or the enactment of special State legislation.
Given the limitations of SB566 -- which imposes a maximum add-on sales tax rate of 2.5% -- the Sales Tax Revenue Study Committee recommended that in order to keep as much sales tax as possible specifically for Lafayette uses instead of for countywide purposes that the tax be levied for as much as for as long as possible.
NO. Lafayette employee salaries are currently benchmarked every two years to the median of nine peer cities which guarantees that employees are not paid substantially more or less than employees in similar cities. Furthermore, Lafayette is only one of 10 cities in California that offers a defined contribution retirement plan rather than a defined benefit plan. That means no city employee receives a pension, that the City currently has no unfunded retirement debt, and that none of the sales tax will be used for that purpose.
While the City does have an extensive Hillside Ordinance in place, the City cannot prohibit owners of private parcels from building on their property. Property owners do have certain development rights. A notable example is the gateway parcel across the street from the Oakwood athletic club. Many people do not realize that this 62 acre piece of open space, with its signature oak, is privately owned and not part of EBMUD’s reservoir property holdings – and that it is zoned for single-family housing.
If there are unique opportunities – such as the purchase of a rare piece of open space – that arise before the City has had time to accumulate significant funds, the City may choose to quickly issue a bond because, otherwise, the opportunity could be lost for good. In addition, bonding will allow the City to start on some projects right away so that people can see tangible benefits of the tax sooner, without waiting 5 to 10 years.
NO. While the City’s long-term Downtown Specific Plan does suggest that City offices should be relocated to Lafayette’s historic core, Measure C funds were never planned to be used for this purpose, nor has that been suggested or proposed. The City is well-managed, both operationally and financially, and has for twenty years been accumulating funds for a permanent City office building. Lafayette currently has $5M in notes and assets that are earmarked for the construction of City offices and does not require additional funding from Measure C.
At the City Council’s discretion, Measure C funds could be used to incentivize a non-profit or public/private partnership to stimulate renovation of the Park Theater. Once it is refurbished, Measure C monies could be used to fund the staging of community events and meetings at the refurbished Park Theater.
The process was extensive and based on the opinions and thoughts submitted by Lafayette's citizens:
- In autumn of 2014, with the new library completed and the maintenance of our roads fully funded, the City Council sought input from residents on a 20-year vision for our city
- In winter of 2015, 725 people participated in an online and mail survey
- The survey results indicated that our residents want to preserve open space, enhance public safety, improve parking and traffic flow, and revitalize the Park Theater
- In spring of 2015, the City Council convened and held four "Community Conversations" meetings to review survey results. In these meetings, residents also called for the development of parks in the downtown and better pedestrian and bike paths.
- In fall of 2015, the City Council formed a sales tax exploration committee and retained a professional polling agency. The Sales Tax Revenue Study Committee performed a comprehensive assessment of the current city budget and determined that projected future city revenues (without the additional Measure C revenues) would not be sufficient to implement and support the enhancements that residents indicated were important for the future of Lafayette.
- In spring of 2016, a representative sample of 436 likely voters suggested that the vast majority are satisfied with our municipal services and that 64% would support a sales tax increase if the funds were spent in Lafayette only.
- In summer of 2016, the City Council voted unanimously to place Measure C on the November 8, 2016 ballot.
You can see a visual of this process in the Summer 2016 Vistas.
YES. A Citizen's Oversight Committee will keep Lafayette residents informed of the revenues and expenditures associated with the Measure C funds. In addition, the Measure C funds will be placed in a specific fund within the City's budget that will make that oversight and reporting transparent and easy to follow.
OpenGov is a financial transparency website which displays government finances over a multi-year period. The default view usually displays expenses broken down by department.
To focus on specific data – like a fund, department, expense type, or any combination – use the menu on the left side panel. The “By” drop-down allows you to specify which breakdown you want the graphs and table rows to represent on the graph. You can analyze the expense and revenues data by fund, department, or type.
Hover over any area of the graph to see the actual or budgeted amounts for that period. Or, just scroll down to see a table with detailed information.
Yes. Use the Data Filter on the left side panel to make specific selections within the data. The Data Filter shows you the hierarchical relationships of Funds, Departments, and Account Types. You’ll notice the title of the graph you are viewing on top along with the account type selector. You can use the filter to see the data of most interest to you.
In the upper right-hand corner, you will see options for the different graphs and tables. There are five graph types overall; an area graph, an area graph by percentage, a line graph, a pie graph, and a bar chart. There is also always a table view below any chart or graph. The table allows you to zoom-in on the detailed financial data selected in the chart or graph above.
In reviewing multiple years of data, you may see “spikes” in the individual years; this can be due to unexpected expenses, such as a hard winter, equipment failure, a capital project, or a specific event that required additional funds. You can drill-down into our OpenGov site to learn more about what exactly those expense or revenues are.
Yes, there are Share and Download buttons in the upper right corner. You can share any view on a social network or by email. There are also options to download the displayed data in .csv spreadsheet and .png image formats.
Use the Help menu on the top right corner to navigate to the “Budget 101” primer to learn more about multi-fund accounting.
Use the Help menu on the top right corner to navigate to the “Contact” option to send your message to your organization.
- A: Please see the "Do I Need A Second Unit Permit " page.
- A: Please see the "Do I Need a Massage Establishment Certification" page.
- A: A chip seal costs about 75 cents/sq. ft. while a full road reconstruction -- which is what is needed on these roads -- costs about $10/sq. ft. This process is admittedly a “band aid”, however, the goal is to provide a minimal treatment that will that will keep these failed roads in a drivable condition during the next 5-10 years, which is how long it may take get funding for a full reconstruction.
- A: There is currently a backlog of approximately $12 million. The City estimates that it needs to spend an average of $2.6M annually for each of the next 10 years to fix the remaining failed roads in addition to maintaining the roads that have already been repaired. The City currently has $1.7 million annually in secured funding in place for these purposes.
- A: The City contributes $1 million annually from the General Fund. In addition, another $700,000 comes from gas taxes and revenue from the county transportation measure (Measure J). Also, since 1995, the City has made additional contributions totaling $7 million from the General Fund reserve.
Most of Lafayette’s growth occurred in the 1960’s with the population nearly tripling from 7,000 to 20,000 by 1970. So it has been almost 40 years since most of Lafayette’s subdivisions and their roads were created. Roads that are not maintained will last for 12 to 15 years before the road condition declines steeply and many roads will fail at an age of about 40 years. When Lafayette incorporated in 1968, it did so as a “no property” tax city, therefore, the city subsisted primarily on sales taxes. In 1978, with the passage of Prop 13, the City began to collect a share of the 1% tax paid by property owners. The City now receives about 6.2% of the property taxes. That means that for a $1 million home with a property tax of $10,000, Lafayette receives only $600. The rest goes to the State, BART, schools, etc. While this is still relatively low compared to other communities in the county (e.g. Hercules – 33%, Brentwood – 11%, Martinez – 15%), the City has no mechanism by which it can capture a higher percentage.
In 1995 a tax measure raised $13 million and financed 41 specific projects that provided benefit to the most people: arterials and collectors such as Moraga Road, St. Mary’s Road, Mt. Diablo Blvd., Pleasant Hill Road, Acalanes Road and Reliez Station Road. In 2004 the City turned its focus toward finding funding to repair neighborhood roads.
- Measure N was an ad valorem tax that would have taxed property owners based on the current assessed value of their homes. The cost was approximately $19 per $100,000 in property value, so the tax on a home valued at $500,000 would have been $95 per year. That measure failed.
- The City tried again in 2007 with Measure C, this time with a flat parcel tax that would have cost $150 per residential unit. That also failed.
- In 2011, the City tried again with Measure G, another flat tax of $89 per residence. That did not pass either.
- In 2008 the City considered putting a local sales tax measure on the ballot which would have increased the sales tax rate by up to 1%. However, there was significant opposition expressed by the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and the Lafayette Taxpayers Association and ultimately, the Council decided not to put a measure on the ballot.
- In 2010, a citizen’s Finance Committee recommended that the City increase the property tax transfer rate which would raise the rate of the current tax that is paid only when property is sold. However, in order to raise this rate, the City would have been required to change from a General Law city to a Charter City. There was significant concern expressed by residents about such a change, therefore the City Council chose not to put the charter city initiative on the ballot.
- A: Generally, Construction Hours are as follows:
8am - 6pm, Monday through Saturday. No noise-generating construction is allowed on Sundays & national holidays.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details or questions.
Setbacks are measured from property lines or access easements, whichever is more restrictive. Each zoning district establishes minimum setback requirements for the front setback, side yard, aggregate side yard, and rear yards. Some lots, such as “flag lots” or oddly configured lots, require that planning staff make a determination with respect to where each setback applies. Staff will consider the access to the lot and orientation of the house among other factors when making such a determination.
For properties located adjacent to creeks, click here to determine your creek setback.
Properties in the R-6 and greater zoning designations may maintain chickens on their property.
Additional questions regarding chickens? Contact Papa John (925) 284-5497.
For more information on regulations for keeping small farm animals click here.
Re-roof permits are generally exempt from review by the Planning & Building Department except when the project is located within a commercial, office, or multi-family zoning district. A Waste Management Plan is required for all non-residential projects. Additionally, proposed roofing color and material for re-roofs in a commercial, office, or multi-family zoning district must be reviewed by the planner-on-duty. A permit from the Contra Costa County Building Inspection Department is required in all circumstances.
- A: You can contact the planner-on-duty at (925) 284-1976 or at email@example.com between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. weekdays, or you can visit the City Offices during counter hours between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday - Thursday, the Planning Counter is closed on Fridays. Calls will be returned as soon as possible, but within 48-hours.
- A: Click here to view information on design review including triggers that would require your project to gain design review approval from the City. Additionally, the Planning Project Checklist is a brief form intended to provide a property owner or applicant with an overview of the rules and regulations that would be applicable to a given project. It is designed to be completed by a staff planner, however, it can be informative to an applicant as a blank form which lists the triggers for discretionary review.
- A: The Contra Costa County Building Inspection Department ("CCCBID") performs plan check and issues building & grading permits on behalf of the City of Lafayette. To inquire whether a permit has been issued for a specific property, contact the CCCBID Lamorinda Office at (925) 299-0263 or firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the property address or Assessor’s Parcel Number as well as the scope of work.
- A: Click here to review the How to Get a Building Permit in Lafayette pamphlet. Review page 7 of the document, entitled "Exempt from a Building Permit," for work that does not require a building permit. For additional questions, please contact the Contra Costa County Building Inspection Department at (925) 299-0263 or email@example.com.
- A: An appointment is not necessary to see a planner. The Planning & Building Services Division maintains normal drop-in counter hours, Monday through Thursday, between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m; the Planning Counter is temporarily closed on Fridays. Alternatively, subject to availability, you may schedule an appointment with a planner for a specific time by calling the department telephone (925) 284-1976, by calling the planner directly, or via email. Direct telephone numbers are listed on the main Planning page. Click on the planner’s name to generate an email message.
- A: You can find your Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) in your property tax statement or your preliminary title report. Can't find it, please contact the planner-on-duty at (925) 284-1976 or via email.
- A: The City has an ongoing road reconstruction and pavement maintenance program for selected public streets. An alphabetical list of street repair projects scheduled over the next five years is available in the 5-Year Capital Improvement Program Streets List.
- A: Yes, the fee for the setback determination review is $125, and the fee for processing an exception is $500. Lengthy applications and appeals requiring more than 1 hour of staff time for the initial review and 4 hours for the exception review will be charged an additional $125 per hour. You may mail your submittal or deliver it to the City Offices -- attention of the City Engineer. The Engineering office will usually contact you within one week for the initial review and two weeks for the exception review. Please make checks payable to the City of Lafayette.
If you still have questions, please call the Engineering Technician at (925) 284-1951.
Q:If my proposed work is within the creek setback area, can I apply for an exception to proceed with the work?A: Yes, the requirements for an exception are explained in Section 6-1842 of the ordinance. You will need to supply three items outlined in paragraph (c) of that section. Please note that the certification by the soils engineer must state, “In the professional opinion of the engineer, there is no likelihood of a hazard to persons or property resulting from the proposed construction.”
The City Engineer will review the exception application and make a recommendation for approval or denial to the City Council. As part of an approval, the City Engineer may impose certain conditions on your project to perform additional work in the vicinity of the project. The conditions will be based on the site conditions and the reports that you provide. If the City Council approves the exception, you will need to enter into a creek setback agreement with the City. A blank copy can be provided for your reference. After the agreement is executed, the City will issue your building permit. If you choose to appeal the City Engineer’s recommendation, you may do so at the City Council meeting when the City Engineer presents the recommendation with your application.
- A: If you have a creek-side property and you are contemplating work, you will need a creek setback determination.
Article 5 of the Lafayette Municipal Code Ordinance No. 512 prohibits construction of structures within the creek setback area. Following is a brief explanation of what the setback area is, and how to determine the setback line on your property. (There are other related regulations dealing with flood zones that you should also investigate at the same time by contacting the Planning Services Division at (925) 284-1976.)
Section 6-1841 of the ordinance contains the formula used to determine the setback line. Examples of creek setback determinations can be viewed here. We recommend that you obtain the services of a land surveyor to gather topographic information in the relevant area of your property. Based on the creek depth, the steepness of the bank, and the topography of the top on bank, the land surveyor can determine where the setback line is relative to the toe of the creek bank slope. All of the land between the creek and the setback line is defined as the creek setback area, and no structures are allowed within it.
In order to receive a building permit for your project, you need to submit evidence that your proposed work is outside the setback area. For the City’s review, please submit a topographic plan of the project area, including the creek and its features (i.e., top of bank, toe of bank, bank slopes, flow channel, grade breaks, etc.). You should plot on the plan the setback line in accordance to the ordinance. Lastly, provide a cross-sectional view of the creek, creek bank, the setback line, and your proposed structure. The section should reflect a point where your proposed structure is the closest to the setback line.
We strongly recommend that you use a licensed surveyor to perform this work. You may make the determination yourself. If the City disagrees with your measurements, you may have to submit calculations prepared by a licensed surveyor to prove your case.
What are sharrows?
“Sharrows” is short for “shared lane pavement markings” which indicate that motorists and bicyclists are to share the travel lane.
As a bicyclist, what should I do in the presence of sharrows?
We’ve placed the sharrows outside of the parked car’s “door zone.” Bicyclists should ride through the center of the sharrow with parked cars on their right and passing vehicles on their left.
As a motorist, what should I do in the presence of sharrows?
Slow down and drive carefully. Sharrows indicate that you are sharing the road with bicyclists. Because the travel lane is too narrow for safe side-by-side travel by motorists and bicyclists, motorists should slow down and either wait for the bicyclist to turn off the roadway, or wait until you can move safely into an adjacent lane.
Can I still drive in lanes where there are sharrows?
If there is not an accompanying white stripe with the marking then it is not a bicycle lane; it is a sharrow. You may still drive in that travel lane. You may encroach over the sharrow if there are no bicyclists next to you.
Why not just stripe bicycle lanes?
We’re using the sharrows because there isn’t enough room for bicycle lanes. This is because of a combination of a high demand for on-street parking and the inability to either eliminate a travel lane or narrow the existing travel lanes. It is also physically too difficult and prohibitively expensive to widen the roadway.
Why not just use sharrows instead of bicycle lanes?
Bicycle lanes are still the best solution for creating safe conditions for all roadway users on high vehicle volume streets. With bike lanes, motorists are not delayed by the presence of slower-moving bicyclists in front of them and bicyclists don’t feel intimidated by the presence of following motorists who wish to pass them. Sharrows will be added on roads where adding bike lanes is not feasible.
What does Lafayette hope to accomplish with the sharrows?
We want to create safer conditions for all roadway users on busy streets where we should have bicycle lanes but cannot. We hope to do this by moving bicyclists a little further away from parked cars than they would normally ride in the absence of sharrows and creating a little more awareness and separation between passing motorists and bicyclists than would normally exist.
Do sharrows work?
They seem to. A 2003 study in San Francisco showed that in the presence of sharrows, bicyclists moved further away from parked cars and passing motorists moved further away from cyclists than in the absence of sharrows. California has adopted sharrows as a standard roadway treatment, and San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley have already painted hundreds of them on their streets.
FAQ from the Portland sharrows fact sheet, adapted for Lafayette
- A: If you perform any work or store materials and equipment within the City’s right-of-way, you need an Encroachment Permit. Generally, the City’s right-of-way extends about 20-25 feet from the center of the road on most residential streets, and much wider on through-roads.
Light landscaping (ground cover, low shrubs) without irrigation may be installed in the right-of-way without a permit. However, you do so at your own risk, and anything planted within the City’s right-of-way may be removed if it conflicts with future City road or drainage construction activities.
Permanent structures such as a wall, fence, decorative mail box, or building are not allowed within the City’s right-of-way. Under special circumstances and as a last resort, you may apply for an Encroachment Agreement for these structures, which will be considered by the City Council, in addition to an Encroachment Permit.
After the work covered by your Encroachmernt Permit is complete (including theremoval of utility and construction identification markings), you must contact Lafayette City Offices, Engineering Department Encroachment Permit Hot Line (925) 299-3277 to request a final inspection.
Once your project has been inspected by the engineering staff and all conditions of the permit have been met, the deposit will be refunded in the same manner in which it was made. For check refunds the process may take 2-4 weeks for you to receive your refund; for credit card refunds, the process may take 1-5 days for you to receive your refund.
To obtain an Encroachment Permit, submit an Encroachment Permit application form, providing the address and detailed description of the project, to the Engineering Department. You may also need to provide plans, drawings, or sketches of the project.
When the permit application is received, a staff person will visit the job site to determine conditions the City may place on the project. Some construction details and typical conditions are provided for reference on the back of the Encroachment Permit form. If more information is needed about your project, the staff will call you with questions.
The staff will then determine the amount of the refundable deposit ($500 minimum, $2500 typical) as well as the permit fee to cover the initial staff time ($187.50 minimum). If applicable, additional inspection fees will be deducted from the security deposit when the project is complete.
Someone from the City offices will then contact you (typically within 1-2 days) and let you know that your Encroachment Permit has been processed. You can then submit your payment for the fees and deposit, and pick up your permit.
You are also required to contact the City’s offices at (925) 299-3277 (Encroachment Inspection Hotline) at least 24 hours prior to starting the work covered by your permit (see permit for details).
When Lafayette incorporated in 1968, it did so as a “no property” tax city, therefore, the city subsisted primarily on sales taxes. In 1978, with the passage of Prop 13, the City began to collect a share of the 1% tax paid by property owners. The City now receives about 6.2% of the property taxes. While this is still relatively low compared to other communities in the county (e.g. Hercules – 33%, Brentwood – 11%, Martinez – 15%), the City has no mechanism by which it can capture a higher percentage.
NOTE: For more information about City finances, you can view a short video and read the Fall 2007 issue of Vistas: Where Do Your Taxes Go? Municipal Finance 101.
Lafayette has 21 commissions and committees comprised of 147 volunteers. While all the volunteers are unpaid, city staff members are assigned to each commission and committee, not only to take minutes of the meetings, but also to perform research and analysis as directed by the commission/committee.
Since only a portion of a staff member’s time is usually allocated to the committee, simply reducing the number of times a commission/committee meets will not necessarily decrease expenses. In order to save a substantial sum, the structure of the commissions/committees would need to be evaluated such that reorganization would result in being able to reduce the overall number of employees. Simply eliminating the smaller committees would have little impact on expenses.
Q:How many City employees are there? Why has the number of City employees grown over the last 40 years if the population has stayed relatively the same?A: The City currently has 39 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) plus a number of contract and temporary employees that increase and decrease depending on the current workload.
When the City incorporated in 1968 most of the functions were contracted. There were few planners, no engineers, and no recreation or public works employees.
Although the City started with only 6 employees (mostly administrative), by 1978, there were 20 -- all of which were being carried by the General Fund. Today, the General Fund supports only 21.3 FTEs -- very similar to 1978 -- because many of the positions added since then are outside the General Fund (e.g. Recreation, Code and Parking Enforcement, Lamorinda Bus Program Manager, Redevelopment).
Since 1968, the state and federal government has imposed many new regulations and mandates (stormwater pollution control, environmental reviews and protections, redevelopment, permit streamlining). In addition, the City, in an effort to maintain the semi-rural character of the city engaged in additional complex planning activities (e.g. hillside ordinance, parking & circulation, tree protection, sign ordinance, etc.). The planning functions are largely supported by fees.
Finally, the Pavement Management Program since 1995 has required at least 3 engineers.
The City’s General Plan and zoning code establish maximum density limits for each of its residential districts. Developments that exceed these limits are allowed in two ways:
- The State’s density bonus law mandates that a city allow densities exceeding that set by the General Plan if the development includes a certain number of affordable units. The City has no choice but to approve a project that complies with this law.
- The General Plan can be amended to rezone a parcel of land; however, in order to do so the City Council must find that there is a community need for the change proposed. For example, if a developer proposes clustering homes (e.g. condos instead of single family homes) that allows the City to keep more open space.
Moraga residents, as well as those in neighboring cities, use our streets, but there is no practical way for the City to charge them their “fair share” of road repair. Not maintaining a busy thoroughfare like Moraga Road would also adversely impact Lafayette residents. However, Moraga and other neighboring residents do shop and eat in Lafayette, and their contributions to our sales tax revenue helps fund a portion of the $1 million the City contributes to the road repair budget each year. In addition, when the new homes are built in Palos Colorados (Moraga) Lafayette will receive a monetary settlement of $2.5 million as mitigation for the increased traffic the development will generate. It expected that most, if not all, of this money will be put towards local road repair.
Q:Why don’t EMBUD, PG&E, Comcast and CentralSan pay for the damage they do to the streets? Why doesn’t the City coordinate their street repairs with these agencies?A:
EBMUD, PG&E, Comcast and the Central Sanitary District are all responsible for repairing the damage they do to our streets and we hold them to the highest standards allowed by law. In the case of planned maintenance, we do try to coordinate street repair with other agencies and businesses, however, it is not always feasible, particularly in emergency cases.
- A: When properly constructed and maintained, a road can last for up to 40 years. However, without proper maintenance, the condition of a road deteriorates precipitously after about 10 years and the cost to rehabilitate those streets may be 5 to 10 times what it would have cost to just maintain the good pavement. If the City were to neglect this necessary maintenance on “good roads” in favor of streets that are already costly to repair, the newly improved streets would fall back into the more expensive reconstruction category and actually end up increasing the funding gap we already face.
Q:Why do we continue to contract with the County for police services? Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more efficient to have our own police force?A: Because of the relatively small size of the police force, the City benefits from economies of scale provided by the County. A stand-alone police force would likely result in additional administrative costs for payroll, human resources, communications, forensics and workers compensation/disability.
In 2005 the City analyzed opportunities to reduce costs by forming a Lamorinda police force or contracting with another agency, however the study concluded that the costs would be higher than what we are paying now.
Q:Can we increase fines for speeding? Can we decrease the speed limit and enforce fines for even 5 mph over that limit?A: The Contra Costa County Superior Court sets the fines for speeding therefore Lafayette has no jurisdiction to increase those fines. In addition, the California Vehicle Code defines areas that can be increased fine areas and again, Lafayette has no jurisdiction to define those areas subjectively.
The traffic and speed surveys determine the safe speed for the roadway therefore it is not legal for municipalities to arbitrarily decrease speed limits on specific roadways. Driving 5 mph over the speed limit is also not necessarily against the law. Speeding is defined as driving faster than the safe speed, not the speed limit sign so each roadway has a different safe speed, which depends on road conditions at the time.
- A: No, RDA funds are prohibited from being used for police services.
Q:How do I report a problem with street cleaning, clogged culverts, a fallen sign, branches that need trimming, graffiti, and other maintenance problems?A: Call the Public Works Department at (925) 934-3908 and be prepared to leave a detailed message and contact information. If you prefer, you can fill out an on-line Public Works Service Request.
- A: The Lafayette Municipal Code is available online.
The City of Lafayette does not require a Business License or Business Registration. Businesses are free to operate without a Business License or Registration from the City, provided that they comply with local zoning regulations (e.g. the use is permitted in the zoning district, parking standards are met, etc.) Please contact Planner@lovelafayette.org or (925) 284-1976 to inquire about permitted uses and parking standards.
However, if your business is located in the unincorporated area or are conducting business in the unincorporated area of Lafayette, contact the County offices at (925) 957-5290 for their licensing requirements.
- A: Call Steven Falk, City Manager, at (925) 284-1968 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A: Yes. Check the Lafayette Police Department web page for more information, or call them at (925) 283-3680.
No, the city does not require a permit for yard or garage sales. However, signs advertising for these types of sales must be taken down immediately after the sale is over.
- A: Contact Vector Control at (925) 685-9301.
- A: Local nurseries can recommend some useful measures to help protect your plants. Refer to the local yellow pages.
The Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority at (925) 906-1801 handles garbage services for the City of Lafayette.
- A: Call Comcast Cable at (800) 945-2288. Although the City does have a franchise agreement with Comcast, the City does not have control over prices or programming. If you have tried unsuccessfully to resolve the problem directly with Comcast, you may contact the Administrative Services Director at (925) 284-1968.
Call Central Contra Costa Sanitary District at (925) 228-9500.
For emergencies call (925) 933-0990 or (925) 933-0955 (24 hours, 7 days a week).
For toxics, call (925) 689-3890.
Q:I think one of my neighbors is in violation of city code or ordinance. Where can I report this problem?A: Please check out the Code Enforcement web page, to ensure that the problem falls within the city's jurisdiction.
- A: Visit the Police Department webpage to learn how to dispute a parking ticket.
- A: No, private streets are maintained by the property owners on that street. List of public and private roads.
- A: Call Contra Costa Animal Services at (925) 335-8300. For other questions about animals, pests or vermin on your property, visit the Code Enforcement page.
- A: For a list of utility providers within Lafayette go here.
Parking permits are available at the city offices through the accounting department. Make sure that your street has a Residential Parking Permit Program. Please be prepared to show proof of residency by showing two of any of the following:
- Recent phone, PG&E, water or other utility bill
- Recent receipt of rent payment
- A: Homeowners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks that are adjacent to their homes.
- A: The Lafayette Chamber of Commerce is located at 100 Lafayette Circle, #103. The phone number is (925) 284-7404.
- A: Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm call the Public Works Department at (925) 934-3908. On weekends and after hours, call the police department dispatch at (925) 284-5010.
- A: Voter registration forms are available at the city offices.
For information about recent and current building permits (issued during the 1980s to the present), please contact:
Contra Costa County Building Inspection Department
Lamorinda Field Office
3685, Mt. Diablo Blvd., Suite 120
Lafayette, CA 94549
Tel. (925) 299-0263
For information about permits issued prior to the 1980s or if you need copies of the permits, please contact:
Contra Costa County Building Inspection Department
30 Muir Road
Martinez, CA 94553
Tel. (925) 674-7213
Alternatively, you may download the "Records Research Request Form" by clicking here and faxing the completed form to (925) 674-7238 or (925) 674-7239.
Please note that all plans must have permission from the owner and any licensed professional before they may be reproduced.