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Complaints should be filed as quickly as possible when alleged deviations are discovered so that they can be investigated and promptly resolved prior to completion of the construction work if possible.
After receiving a complaint, the Building Official or his/her designee will investigate all allegations within fourteen (14) days of receiving the complaint. The investigation will include interviews with: (a) the complainant; (b) the business owner, if a Private Project, or the responsible City Department or other public agency, if a Public Project; and (c) any other person the Building Official believes to have relevant knowledge concerning the complaint.
The Building Official also will consider any written or photographic evidence that is provided. After completing the investigation, the Building Official will review the factual information gathered through the investigation to determine whether the allegation is in fact a deviation from the Law. For Public Projects undertaken by the City, the City shall then take all actions necessary to correct any deviation from the Law which it confirms as a result of any investigation within ninety (90) days of the confirmation of such deviation, unless the deviation or deviations are so substantial that they cannot be corrected within ninety (90) days of confirmation. In such circumstances, a specific timetable shall be prepared to assure that the deviations will be corrected within a reasonable period of time.
For Public Projects of other public entities, the City will forward the complaint to the appropriate state or federal agency. These agencies will process the complaint in accordance with their own regulations and procedures.
For Private Projects, the City shall send the responsible party and/or owner a written notice of violation demanding that the deviation be corrected within ninety (90) days of the confirmation of such deviation, unless the deviation or deviations are so substantial that they cannot be corrected within ninety (90) days of confirmation. In such circumstances, a specific timetable will be prepared to assure that the deviations will be corrected within a reasonable period of time. If the responsible party and/or owner does not correct the deviation within ninety (90) days, commence to correct it if it is of such magnitude that it cannot be corrected within ninety (90) days, or comply with the timetable prepared by the City for correcting the deviation, the City shall refer the matter to the City Attorney for appropriate legal action.
Within seven days of receipt of each complaint, the City shall send a letter to the complainant confirming receipt of the complaint, along with a timetable and a description of the process that will be used by the City in investigating the complaint and preparing a response.
After completion of the investigation, the City shall provide the complainant with another letter advising the complainant of the resolution of the complaint, including informing the complainant about his or her right of appeal. Where the City determines that any or all of the violations alleged in a complaint are unfounded, the City's letter shall include the factual and legal basis for such determination. In addition, upon completion of the corrections of the deviations where required, the Compliance Officer will then notify the complainant in writing of the completion of the remedial work. Also, the complainant will be notified if the matter is referred to the City Attorney for appropriate legal action.
If you own a septic system and need assistance with your system, contact Marin County Environmental Health Services:
The connection referred to here is not the physical connection of the sewer pipe. It refers to allowing a dwelling unit to have its sewage transported by the City system and processed by the SASM treatment plant. The connection charge for second units is $1,250 for dwelling units less than 700 Square feet and $4,000 for units greater than 700 square feet. In addition, an annual Sewer Service Charge of $297 is levied on the second unit. The physical connecting of a second unit may also require a Plumbing Permit from the Building Department for work on private property and an Encroachment Permit for that portion of the work in the right-of-way.
There are several methods to submit a complaint:
Persons may also use the 711 Relay System to request complaint forms. When describing the alleged violation, additional documentation such as photographs also would be very helpful. Complaints must be filed with the ADA Coordinator:
The purpose of this procedure is to provide individuals with a convenient method to report disability access law violations in Mill Valley, and to establish a process for resolving as promptly as possible alleged violations of state disabled access regulations in either (i) buildings, -structures, sidewalks, curbs, and related facilities that are owned or leased by the City of Mill Valley or that are constructed or altered with city funds ("public projects"), or (ii) privately owned public accommodations (i.e., businesses that are open to the public) that are not publicly funded ("private projects").
State law requires all public and private projects to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. See California Government Code 4450 et seq. for public projects and Cal. Health and Safety Code 19955 et seq. for private projects. The State Architect has issued specifications for the construction or alteration of buildings and structures in the State Building Code, which is published as part of the California Building Code and which is often referred to as "Title 24" reflecting where it was formerly located in the California Code of Regulations, Under state law, the City is responsible for complying with Title 24 in its public projects and for enforcing the Title 24 requirements in private projects that are subject to the City's jurisdiction through the City's building permit and building inspection programs. For certain projects built before the first version of Title 24 was adopted in 1981, the applicable standards are the 1961 American Standards Association Standard (the "ASA Standards"). In addition, California Civil Code Sections 54 and 54.1 require that persons with disabilities have equal access to accommodations available to the public, and make a violation of the federal Americans with Disability Act also a violation of state law. For a detailed description of these state laws and regulations, please see Exhibit A. For the purposes of this Procedure, all of the above-referenced laws and regulations shall be referred to as the "Law."
Anyone who believes that a public or private project does not comply with the law because it contains deviations from the specifications set forth in the law may file a complaint under this procedure. An authorized representative of such a person may also file a complaint on the complainant's behalf. To the extent authorized by law, the identity of the complainant will be kept confidential.
Persons with disabilities or others needing assistance should contact the following to request an appointment:
Before requesting the Residential Building Report, please view the City Limits page to verify that the property is located in our jurisdiction. A listing of streets within Mill Valley's city limits can be found on this page as well. Then follow the instructions HERE to obtain a report.
The primary purpose of the inspection is to provide a cursory review of the property and will identify any life safety or sanitation issues having the potential to cause injury. We also look to identify any illegal construction and unpermitted second units.
Generally, completed reports are not revised, and re-inspections are not required. The information contained in the report is to be used as a disclosure. If a life safety issue is discovered or a mandatory correction is required, a permit or re-inspection may be required.
It depends on who is doing the work and when.
If you are a Construction Professional (i.e. a Licensed Contractor) or an owner/occupant doing your own construction on a site with an active building permit:
If you are an owner/occupant and are doing home maintenance not associated with a site with an active building permit:
Certain types of activities and noise sources associated with residential living are permitted under the City's municipal code. With the exception of gas-powered leaf blowers, low-noise generating power garden equipment (such as hedge clippers, weed-eaters, lawnmowers) is permitted as follows:
Please Note: Unless expressly permitted by the City of Mill Valley, landscape construction work is not permitted on weekends and holidays and must abide by the same rules as regular construction. This does not apply to landscape maintenance which must abide by the non-construction noise ordinance requirements.
Before you make improvements on your property or convert or remodel a structure, check with our Building Department to obtain information and required building permits. The City of Mill Valley requires a permit for replacing a water heater, and state regulations require seismic strapping of all water heaters when a building is sold.
Mold and mildew can cause serious health risks. For tips on removing and preventing mold, contact your local health department or visit the California Department of Public Health's website.
This is true and most of what is exempt is work that is of a cosmetic nature only. However, this must be considered in light of how and why building codes have evolved over time. (Actually, a very long time; the earliest building codes can be traced back to the Code of Hammurabi, circa 1760 B.C.) The enactment of, and revisions to building codes are generally a direct result of failures from existing building techniques, and the disasters that often were a result of those failures.
Although the complexity of the codes have increased since the days of Hammurabi, what was true then remains true today; the intent of the building codes is to protect lives in the buildings and facilities we occupy and use.
If the steps outlined in previous FAQs have been completed, and the information contained in your plans is compatible with the Building Permits - Plan Submittal Requirements handout, as well as the Residential Design Guidelines and /or the Residential Design Review Handbook, you should be ready to submit.
Certain circumstances exist when the submittal may be incomplete, but the incomplete items may become what is referred to as, a deferred submittal. A deferred submittal is an element, or elements, that need to be part of the submittal at some juncture, but not necessarily critical information as far as getting the project started. In other words, Building staff may be able to issue the permit, but the missing information will need to be provided at some pre-determined point; usually contingent on how the information could impact the approval process on the project.
For example, plans for a major renovation are submitted, but the calculations and structural design for the truss roof may not be complete. The calculations and structural design will not affect the aesthetic design of the roof, so the calculations and structural design become a deferred submittal. However, the submittal is only deferred until the roof sheathing is to be installed. If the calculations and structural design have not been submitted to and approved by the Building Department staff prior to this juncture, work on the roof cannot progress, and there is a chance the project could be stopped altogether.
There may be many variations on deferred submittals, but the caveat is that the missing information cannot change the nature of the project as originally submitted. If it does, it becomes a revision and is subject to separate criteria.
If you are unsure if your project contains all the necessary information for submittal, a conversation with Building Department staff should provide the clarity necessary to get your submittal complete.
A number of variables play into this. Often, it depends on what the scope of your project is, and the number of departments and agencies involved in the approval process. Structural complexity, unusual design, and unorthodox construction methodology are among the many other issues that can impact the approval process. Due to the aforementioned variables, it is extremely difficult to provide an accurate timetable of the approval process. To avoid potential delays, contact us while the project is still in a conceptual phase. An open line of communication is often the most valuable tool in the approval process. Often we can provide information that may save a great deal of trial and error (and consequently, time) in the process. Working with designers who are familiar with the approval process in Mill Valley is often advantageous.
Nearly everyone wants to know "how long until my permit is ready to issue?" We understand how important your project is to you; it is not unreasonable to expect some kind of timeframe. On medium, to large projects, the standard processing time is four to six weeks, with the understanding that it will be approved as quickly as reasonably possible. However, a great deal of the responsibility for an expeditious approval is dependent on the initial level of relevant detail provided by the applicant. When plan check comments are generated, a timely and clear, complete response is the most efficient practice to keep the process moving. It may also be advantageous, if getting the project started is a priority, to wait until the permit is issued before submitting revisions. Revisions, except of a minor nature, must be processed in the same manner as a new submittal and considered on the basis of how they impact the entire project.
It is also important to note that Building is only one of the departments and/or agencies that may be involved in the approval process. One of the reasons why we state a long time frame is that approval by other departments or agencies may take much longer than the actual Building approval. Generally, the more approvals required, the longer it might take before your permit is ready to issue.
As with the building inspection process, there are time limits in the plan review process. If comments are not responded to within 180 days, or there is otherwise no activity on the applicant's part of the process, the permit application will expire and may have to be completely resubmitted. An extension may be granted for an additional 180 days if circumstances occur that would preclude the applicant from completing the process in a timely manner. The request for an extension must be in writing, prior to expiration, and signed by the applicant. It must be addressed to the Building Official and the reason for the request must be stated.
In general, a project must be approved and the permit issued before the actual work can begin. The California Building Code does allow an exception for emergency work if City Hall is closed when the event occurs. This is applicable only if the emergency is of such a nature that repairs must be initiated or life and/or property would be threatened. A permit for such work shall be applied for on the next business day.
We will issue a demolition permit in certain cases. Usually, it is issued for specific structural exploratory work, where certain elements need to be exposed to determine the level of repair or reconstruction necessary, for inclusion into the submitted plans. Another situation is the demolition of an entire structure, which is often allowed before the permit for the replacement structure is approved and ready to issue.
If you have a particular situation where you feel demolition might be appropriate before the project is actually approved, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please be advised, however, that these cases are the exception rather than the rule. The multitude of factors and departments that are often involved in an alteration often preclude anything but specific, monitored areas of demolition.
A Road Impact Fee is assessed on any permit issued with a valuation of $10,000 or more, as per the Mill Valley Municipal Code. This fee has been in effect since 2004. The fee is equal to one percent of the valuation of the permit. The fees collected are not specific to the street in which the work is being performed but are deposited into a fund that helps the Department of Public Works maintain all roadways in Mill Valley.
The Drainage Fee is a one-time fee assessed to every parcel within the City, as per the Mill Valley Municipal Code. This fee has been in effect since the 1960s. Any permit with a valuation of $5,000 plus will trigger the assessment of this fee; with parcels, over one acre in size charged a double fee. Once the fee is paid, it is entered into a spreadsheet that tracks the collection activity so the property is not charged twice. This money is deposited in a fund that is used by the Department of Public Works to improve the City's drainage systems.
Please contact the Building Counter for information on a specific parcel.
Due to the potentially disruptive effects construction projects may have on a neighborhood, and sometimes the community in general, the Mill Valley Municipal Code has set specific time limits on project completion based on the project's valuation. This information can be found in Section 14.05.032 (G) of the Mill Valley Municipal Code.
We understand circumstances may prevent a project from being completed in a timely manner. Please contact us as soon as you are aware that your project may not be completed within the allotted time frame, and we will explore what options may be available to grant an extension.
When considering opening a business in Mill Valley, it is wise to contact the Planning and Building Department regarding zoning ordinances, use permits, etc. as part of planning your business model. It is highly recommended this consultation take place before entering into any sort of lease or purchase agreement. Once it is determined that the endeavor is feasible, the next stop should be Building if any sort of alteration to the interior or exterior of the structure that houses the business is being considered. At this juncture, we can advise you as to other departments or agencies that may be involved in the approval process, as well as which building codes and ordinances may be applicable.
A major consideration on the Building Department side is accessibility. Accessibility is defined in the California Building Code as: "the combination of various elements in a building, facility, site, or area, or portion thereof which allows access, circulation and the full use of the building and facilities by persons with disabilities." Almost any type of alteration will trigger the requirement for some degree of accessibility upgrade to the building or site.
Accessibility is an extremely complicated and potentially litigious subject. The importance of retaining experienced and competent accessibility consultants and/or design professionals as an integral part of your potential alterations and how they impact your overall business model cannot be overstated. While Building staff can advise on applicable code interpretations, we cannot act in the role of a consultant. Competent professionals may be worth their weight in gold in this arena.
Story poles need to go up a minimum of 10-days prior to the public hearing before the Planning Commission (the same time the public notice is sent out to property owners within 300 feet of the proposed project). This is intended to allow ample time for the public and Planning Commissioners to view the project dimensions.
Although obtaining a building permit is not a guarantee that your project will be problem-free, it does provide many benefits over non-permitted projects. Perhaps the most important benefit is that it provides an independent evaluation of the code-related aspects of your project. This process often actually begins when the project is still in a conceptual phase. Many times the information the Planning and Building Department can provide at this juncture greatly benefits an applicant in regards to the manner in which the project is ultimately structured and submitted. From initial inquiry through final approval, this "independent evaluation" is ongoing, to ensure that your project is compliant with all applicable building and municipal codes.
In addition to the above some of the more obvious advantages to obtaining a building permit are:
Yes. Building plans are protected by copyright laws, therefore approval of the architect, designer, or other design professionals who prepared the plans is required, in writing, before the plans can be copied. Plans, however, can be viewed on the computer in the lobby at City Hall.
Maintain your swimming pool with proper chemical treatments and cleaning or drain the water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and potentially spreading West Nile Virus. Report abandoned and unclean pools to the Code Enforcement Officer or to Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control, 800-231-3236 (toll-free) and 707-285-2200 (office).
Yes, a Sign Permit (PDF) is required since it is considered a new sign.
Observed holidays: The general rule is if the banks are open, you may do construction.
You can start by using our Building Permit resource page to better learn what you steps you will need to take. If you need more guidance and assistance with the online process or have any questions, feel free to call us @ (415)388-4033 or email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also currently offer limited counter hours at the Planning and Building Department at Mill Valley City Hall, 26 Corte Madera Avenue (next to Mill Valley Market), between the hours of 8AM and 12PM, every Tuesday and Thursday. Our lobby is open Mon-Thurs from 8AM to 5PM with a break for lunch between Noon and 1PM, for simple inquiries and appointments. We are closed every Friday.
Oftentimes, a quick conversation with a planner may validate whether or not a project is viable, and an inspector can provide information on the permitting process, code requirements, and other building-related subjects. They may also be able to determine if consultation with other departments and/or agencies prior to the design process is appropriate, depending on the scope of your project.
Some minor permits are issued automatically upon application. Permit cards will be mailed after an administrative review, generally within a week.
Some permits will require a minor review, in addition to the administrative review. You will need to submit plans.
Vacant structures can become targets for vandals, criminal activities, and a general nuisance for adjacent property owners. Contact the Code Enforcement Officer or Building Department for the proper procedures to secure the property and keep it secured.
Section 14.05.032 (G) of the Mill Valley Municipal Code requires that your first inspection must be scheduled within 180 days of the date the permit was issued, and "successive approvals" must occur every 180 days thereafter. "Successive approval" means the work is inspected and approved within the 180-day period. A typical scenario would be an inspection is requested and performed, a correction list is generated, and the corrections are completed, another inspection is scheduled to verify the corrections, and the next 180-day period begins from the date the corrections were "signed off", and the work in question allowed to be covered.
Upon request, a permit may receive a one-180 day extension. The request for an extension must be in writing and signed by the applicant, addressed to the Building Official, and the reason for the request must be stated.
It's important to note at this juncture that "successive approvals" must be based on "valid" inspection. A valid inspection generally involves completing all possible elements in a phase of the project before applying finishes, or otherwise covering the work. An example of this could be a bathroom remodel. We would not inspect the plumbing, electrical, framing, and mechanical elements separately; we would request that once all these elements were completed, the applicant would call for a "rough all" inspection. This means that all of the work involved is completed and ready to cover with sheetrock or other finishes.
With every permit that is issued, a copy of "Building Inspection FAQs" is included with the permit hard copy. The majority of information necessary for understanding the inspection process is included in this document. The inspection process for larger projects is covered in detail in the "Pre-Construction Meeting" handout. This is usually distributed as part of a project that requires a pre-construction meeting, but a great deal of the information is relevant to the inspection process in general.
To report a code violation regarding building, zoning, or Municipal code violations, open a Code Enforcement Investigation online or use the Report a Code Violation Form (PDF) and send it to the Code Enforcement Division at City Hall (26 Corte Madera Avenue) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generally speaking, the benefits of hiring a licensed contractor far outweigh the perceived benefit of acting as your own contractor and managing the project yourself. Acting as your own contractor (especially if you are not experienced in construction techniques and procedures) has cost many an unwitting applicant more in the long run than what the cost would have been had they hired a competent contractor.
On the Building Permit Application, there are two spaces to check if you are obtaining the permit as an owner-builder. One is applicable if you are acting as an employer; the other, if you are exclusively contracting with licensed contractors. The forms required by California law are the Property Owner-Builder Declaration Form (PDF) and Verification Form (PDF).
The California State License Board website is an excellent source of information regarding the legal aspects of being an owner-builder, as well as the pitfalls of hiring unlicensed contractors. We strongly recommend that a potential owner-builder take the time to peruse the requirements and information included in these links.
The owner or their authorized representative must legalize any violation(s) the inspector identifies as mandatory in the report. A building permit must be obtained to address the unpermitted work. Depending on the extent of the unpermitted work, the process may involve other departments as needed.
Permit fees are based on the valuation of the project. Building staff will assist you in determining your cost. View a simplified version of our Building Department Fee Schedule 2023 (PDF).
Hoarding occurs when the clutter in people's homes impairs their basic living activities. Compulsive hoarding can cause fires, pest infestations, and other health and safety hazards. To evaluate a hoarding situation and develop an effective plan to address those involved, contact the Code Enforcement Officer.
All requests for public records should be directed to the Mill Valley City Clerk. Please include in your request:
Requests may be sent to the Mill Valley City Clerk via email at email@example.com or at:Mill Valley City Hall26 Corte Madera AvenueMill Valley, CA 94941
Anyone may initiate a request for public records.
Public Records requests may be used to obtain "agency records," which include a wide variety of documents and other materials (including print, photographic, and electronic formats) that were created or obtained by a City agency and are, at the time the request is filed, in the department's possession and control.
A City agency receiving a request for documents under the Public Records Act has ten days in which to respond to the request.
Fees for copies are $0.25 per page, unless the requested document has an established statutory fee. The cost of CDs and audio tapes will vary depending on the specific request.
Public records are open to inspection during regular City Hall business hours. To make an appointment with the City Clerk, please call 415-388-4033. The office of the City Clerk is located at:26 Corte Madera AvenueMill Valley, CA 94941
Many are surprised to learn that certain postal addresses labeled "Mill Valley," including those in Strawberry, Tam Valley, Homestead, Almonte, Strawberry, and Alto neighborhoods, lie outside Mill Valley City limits, in unincorporated parts of Marin County. Specific property taxes imposed by the City of Mill Valley, such as the City’s Municipal Service Tax, do not affect you.
Mill Valley, along with Belvedere, Ross, and Tiburon, has the lowest sales tax rate in Marin County, at 8.25%. This tax generates approximately $3.6 million in revenue.
Mill Valley, along with 9 other cities in Marin, imposes a Transfer Tax rate of $0.275 per $500 property value, the maximum authorized rate for California cities. Annual revenue typically ranges between $200,000 and $400,000.
If you are a Mill Valley resident, only about 25% of your property tax bill remains in Mill Valley. The remaining 75% goes to education, the County of Marin, and special districts.
Funds from the Municipal Service Tax (MST) support the maintenance, repair, and improvement of streets and roads, as well as fire suppression activities, including vegetation removal. It is a “restricted fund” and may only be used for these purposes. It brings in about $1.8 million per year, and is set to expire at the end of June 2027. Learn more about the MST here.
Approximately 30-40% of the City’s revenues come from Property Taxes.
The City of Mill Valley has been a member of the California Public Employees System (CALPERS) since 1972, aiming to provide retirement pensions for City employees. Mill Valley also extends health insurance to long-serving employees upon their retirement after fifteen years of continuous employment (seven and one-half years for the City Manager and department managers) as an Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB).
The City Council has implemented various measures over the past thirty-five years to contain and reduce both current and long-term pension costs, including:
The City currently allocates about 18.0% of the General Fund Operating Budget to pension costs (approx $5,894,171.00) and about 3.7% to OPEB costs (approx $1,219,503.00).
The City follows a policy of preparing comprehensive financial statements conforming to generally accepted accounting principles each fiscal year. An independent, licensed, certified public accounting firm conducts these audits. Audits from the past 10 years may be found here.
The City of Mill Valley urges residents to work with pool service providers that commit to flushing pool water into the sewer system instead of into the ground or down the storm drain.
Because many of us swim in chlorinated water at relatively high concentrations, we often don't fully understand the toxicity of chlorine on the natural habitat that surrounds us. It's quite simple: the concentration of sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) in pool water is high enough to pollute a body of water 10 to 100 times its size if sent to the storm drain.
Because every storm drain in the City of Mill Valley empties into a sensitive natural body of water, such as a creek or wetland, introducing chlorine into those creeks and wetlands kills fish and frogs and the aquatic bugs they feed on.
City officials urge residents not to hire a pool service company that is unwilling to flush pool water into the sewer system.
You can appeal any determination of violation. Appeals of some determinations may require a fee. We suggest the owner respond in writing immediately to avoid the loss of appeal rights. All appeals shall be submitted to the City Manager.
Permit fees are based upon the valuation of the project. Building staff will assist you in determining your cost.
Code Enforcement strives to assist the property owner to obtain compliance. If permits are not obtained and the matter is corrected without a permit, an administrative citation may be issued under section 7.04.190 of the Municipal Code. A $100 fine shall be due and payable, with second and third citations for continued violations increasing incrementally thereafter.
Should you then fail to achieve compliance, the City will prosecute the issued Notice and Order and seek fines of up to $1000 per day, per violation, going back to the original violation date. If this is not paid, the City will attach a lien to the property, which may prevent you from selling the property or obtaining refinancing or title insurance on the property.
We receive complaints from a number of sources including internal referrals, outside agencies, and the general public. Names of complainants are kept confidential.
Trash and debris on your property can invite criminal activity, graffiti, and illegal dumping and can contribute to infestations of insects and rodents. Remove trash and debris and store all property in an approved manner. Contact our Planning Department to ensure you are complying with all regulations especially when storing or parking boats or commercial and recreational vehicles in a residential area.
Store inoperable vehicles in an enclosed building out of public view or remove them from your property. Participate in agency-sponsored trash/garbage removal programs that usually occur once a year. Mill Valley's City ordinance (7.04.150) requires all residence to have disposal service.
Report graffiti to the Police Department by calling 415-389-4100. They can provide information to private property owners on how to remove graffiti or arrange for a responsible public agency to remove it from public property.
Vacant structures can become targets for vandals, criminal activities, and a general nuisance for adjacent property owners. Contact the Code Enforcement Division or Building Department for the proper procedures to secure the property and keep it secured.
If you suspect there is a code violation on another property, you may contact Code Enforcement and provide this information. A Code Enforcement Inspector will investigate the matter. If a violation is found to exist, the owner will be contacted by letter and will be required to remove the violation and/or obtain the necessary permits for the violation.
Please remember that the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers is prohibited by the Mill Valley Municipal Code in an effort to minimize noise and emissions. Violators could be fined as much as $500. Please contact the Police Department to report violations.
Instead of using gas-powered leaf blowers, residents and gardeners are encouraged to rake or sweep leaves and debris into piles and dispose of them in the appropriate green trash bin. Residents and gardeners can also use electric leaf blowers or electric leaf vacuums to collect and dispose of leaves. Please do not leave piles of leaves in the roadway. Leaves left in the street will block storm drains and may lead to flooding.
To conserve water, please do not use a watering hose to clear leaves and debris from driveways, sidewalks, and streets. This is a Marin Municipal Water District prohibited water use and can be punishable by a fine up to $500.
Residents who would like to assist in notifying their neighbors or their gardeners can print out this helpful Gas Powered Leaf Blowers Flyer that explains the City's ordinance and funding opportunities in both English and Spanish.
No. Mill Valley Municipal Code 6.12.140 prohibits apiaries/the keeping of bees within city limits.
From and after July 1, 1943, it shall be unlawful for any person to construct, operate or maintain or to permit to be constructed, operated or maintained upon any premises within the City any cow, dairy, stockyards, or apiary, and the keeping of any thereof from and after said date upon any premises within the City shall be and the same is hereby declared to be a nuisance. (Ord. 317; Ord. 987, February 16, 1982)
Mill Valley Municipal Code 6.12.120 states that you may have up to 12 mature poultry or 6 mature rabbits if they are kept at least 40 feet away from any dwelling on adjacent property. Crowing roosters, quacking ducks, geese, guinea fowl, or peafowl are prohibited at all times.
If you are an owner/occupant and are doing home maintenance not associated with a site with an active building permit:
Yes, the City requires you to trim or cut down trees that pose a danger of falling or obstruct the vision of motorists. Shrubs that border a yard along a sidewalk should also be kept clear from obstructing vehicular traffic or encroaching onto a sidewalk. Trim overgrown grass and vegetation or remove the grass and clippings from your property. Clear brush, weeds, and dry grass from 30 to 100 feet around your home. The Mill Valley Fire Department can help you determine the exact distance based on slope, wind, neighborhood density, house construction, etc.
Maintain your swimming pool with proper chemical treatments and cleaning or drain the water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and potentially spreading West Nile Virus. Report issues to Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control, 800-231-3236 (toll-free) and 707-285-2200 (office).
Contact the Planning Department to obtain the requirements for size, location, and types of temporary and permanent signs allowed within the City.
The City of Mill Valley imposes penalties for building, zoning, and some municipal code violations. These penalties may be calculated in one of two ways. When a permit can be issued to legalize a violation, penalties are two times the base permit fee. If the violation cannot be approved or legalized by a permit, you will be given 30 days to cease the unlawful use or demolish the unlawful structure. If you fail to comply with our direction, you may be penalized between $100 per day and up to a maximum of $1000 per day, per violation.
Where you fall within this penalty range is based upon the following:
Under most circumstances, you will be given 15 days. This may involve simply stopping the illegal use or obtaining the necessary permits. Under some circumstances, an extension of time may be granted when the property owner is steadily working to resolve the problem and is making progress.
Most businesses are not allowed to operate in residential areas. Contact the Planning Department before you start a business to ensure you comply with all regulations.
We welcome the community's assistance in protecting Steps, Lanes, and Paths (SLPs) and reporting encroachments so we can act on them. Complaints about SLP encroachments may be made anonymously.
Or fill out a form online to open a Code Enforcement Investigation.
You can also use the Code Enforcement Complaint Form (PDF).
Visit the Code Enforcement page for hours and additional information.
The Marin Humane Society offers Animal Services to Mill Valley residents. Please visit their Animal Services page to find information and resources concerning the following:
No, there is no tax increase anticipated for beyond funding already allocated for fire services. What does occur is a more efficient and effective service with no additional costs.
Yes, your fire station will remain staffed with at least three professional and qualified firefighter 24/7
The Southern Marin Fire Protection District Board is elected at large from within the district boundaries. Mill Valley will be added to that election process with residents of Mill Valley being able to vote and run for seats on the board starting with the 2024 election. Until the 2024 election occurs the the Southern Marin Fire Protection District will create a special sub-committee that includes two appointed Board members and two Mill Valley City Council members (who are appointed by the Mill Valley City Council) to help ensure Mill Valley residents' voices are heard.
Our consolidated fire department is safer for us, safer for you and provides strong governance.
Sausalito, Mill Valley, Alto, Strawberry, Tam Valley, Homestead, East Tiburon
Likely the full process will be complete the Spring of 2023 and likely start July 1, 2023
Go to the Emergency Preparedness page for emergency preparedness information.
Yes, the City requires you to trim or cut down trees that pose a danger of falling or obstruct the vision of motorists. Shrubs which boarder a yard along a sidewalk should also be kept clear from obstructing vehicular traffic or encroaching onto a sidewalk. Trim overgrown grass and vegetation or remove the grass and clippings from your property. Clear brush, weeds and dry grass from 30 to 100 feet around your home. The Mill Valley Fire Department can help you determine the exact distance based on slope, wind, neighborhood density, house construction, etc.
If the tree is within the city limits of Mill Valley and is on City property you should contact the Mill Valley Parks and Recreation department at 415-383-1370 with the location of the tree or limbs.
If the tree is within city limits and is blocking a public right-of-way or roadway contact the Mill Valley Parks and Recreation department at 415-383-1370 (Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm) and after hours call the Mill Valley Police Department at 415-389-4100 with the location of the tree or limbs.
If the tree is on private property and has fallen onto private property contact the property owner.
If the tree is touching electrical wires contact PG&E 800-743-500 or the Mill Valley Fire Department at 415-389-4130.
If the tree is outside of the city limits, but is on county property contact County of Marin Public Works at 415-499-7877.
Tree maintenance is the responsibility of the Parks Department, call them at 415 388-4242.
Mill Valley Fire Station 6 is located at Mill Valley City Hall:26 Corte Madera AvenueMill Valley, CA 94941
Phone: 415-389-4130Fax: 415-389-4160
Mill Valley Fire Station 7 is located at the Public Safety Building:1 Hamilton DriveMill Valley, CA 94941
Phone: 415-389-4130Fax: 415-389-4186
Insurance Services Office (ISO) is an independent organization that serves insurance companies, fire departments, insurance regulators and others by providing information about risk. ISO collects information about municipal fire-protection efforts and assigns a Public Protection Classification - a number from 1 through 10. Class 1 represents exemplary fire protection and a Class 10 indicates the fire suppression program does not meet minimum criteria. The City of Mill Valley is a Class 3.
Find CERT information on the Mill Valley CERT page, or call 415-380-1100.
Contact the Fire Department at 415-389-4130.
Information on becoming a volunteer firefighter can be obtained by calling Mill Valley Fire Station 7 at 415-389-4130.
Information on upcoming CPR classes can be obtained by calling Mill Valley Parks and Recreation at 415-383-1370 or by downloading the Adult and Teen Activity Guide on the Recreation website.
The LRAD sirens are located in Cascade, Blithedale and Warner Canyons, plus Scott Valley and atop Mill Valley City Hall.
Listen to the monthly test message.
In the event of a disaster or large-scale emergency, one or all of the sirens may be activated to alert residents to tune into local media (City website, social media, radio and television stations) for further information and instructions.
Please visit our Career Opportunities page.
City Council, Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Meeting Agendas and Minutes can be found on the Webcasting Archive website.
For all other Boards, Commissions and Committees, please visit this informational page.
Experience Backpacks provide all the materials needed for a local, Mill Valley adventure. These self-guided walks take between one and two hours to complete and are intended as easy strolls for patrons of all ages. The backpacks provide materials for two people, but can be shared by more.
Any MARINet patron over the age of 16 with a valid library card, which means your fines are under $100 and your card is not expired.
Backpacks must be checked out by patrons over 16, but can be enjoyed by people of any age.
The backpacks include materials for 2 people but can be used by more if you would like to share.
Marin County residents of any age can register online for a full access library card.
At the end of the successful online registration process, you will receive a library card number and PIN. You can immediately use it to log into the MARINet site to search the catalog and access any of our eBook collections and shared MARINet digital resources.
If you prefer to have a physical library card, you can pick one up in person at the circulation desk.
Don't have a residential address in Marin County? Visit any public library in Marin to get a card in person.
If you can’t find your library card, or aren’t sure if your account is still active, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff can verify the status of your account and get you your barcode number.
A PIN/password is required to login and manage your account and access digital content from home. Instructions for setting up a PIN or resetting your PIN can be found online.
Please note: Resetting your PIN will send an email to the address in your library record. If you no longer have access to that address, please email email@example.com for assistance.
Children and adults may both use our online forms to sign up for library cards. Please see "How do I get a Library Card?" FAQ for links to our applications.
Processing new cards requires a little work on our end. During normal business hours we are able to process most cards within an hour. If you've signed up for your card after 5 pm or on a weekend, it might take a little longer. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and barcode number and we will get back to you as soon as possible with the status of your account.
Some resources, including hoopla, Kanopy, and LinkedIn Learning, need to be signed up for using your specific home library. If you live in unincorporated Mill Valley, you may need to specify a different library. Check your home library here.
City plans have existed throughout the history of urban development as a means to organize space and ensure that essential ceremonial and communal functions could be accommodated. Beginning in the early 20th Century, and in response to the detrimental effects of rapid urbanization (inadequate housing, poor sanitation, industrialization, etc.), city plans emphasized a compelling vision of a future (the "city beautiful"; the "garden city") intended to engage the public, build civic pride, and encourage long-term investments and decision-making that would ultimately realize the goals of the plan. By the 1920s states began adopting planning and zoning enabling laws that allowed local governments to regulate the use and development of individual properties under the premise of protecting public health, safety, and welfare. These laws typically made zoning ordinances the primary tool for guiding growth and development, while general (or comprehensive) plans were considered to be optional, advisory documents. That is still true in many states, even today.
In 1971, the state of California amended its Government Code to make General Plans mandatory for every city and county in the state and further, and more significantly, required all local land use approvals to be consistent with the jurisdiction's General Plan. In 1990, the California Supreme Court firmly established the General Plan as the pre-eminent statement of local planning policy governing future growth and development, calling it "the constitution for all future development." On-going changes in state law and successive interpretations by the courts continue to add to the scope and responsibilities of the General Plan. However, in its purest form, the General Plan is the link between the expressed values and vision of the community and the resulting public process and decision-making that affect the physical, social, environmental, and economic character of the community.
State law and the collective body of court decisions over the years clearly establish the basic components of a General Plan and how these components are to be interwoven to create a "long-term", "comprehensive", "integrated, internally consistent and compatible statement" of goals and policies that reflect local conditions and circumstances. The law requires that a General Plan
address seven subject areas, known in the law and by practice, as "elements", and that each element establish goals, policies, and implementation programs and time frames for the subject matter in each element. The mandatory elements are:
The law and the state's "General Plan Guidelines" (created and periodically updated by the Governor's Office of Planning and Research to assist localities in preparing a General Plan) includes specific requirements for each element as to the level of detail and analysis that must be addressed in the plan. The "Housing Element" has the most specific content requirements, including its own separate schedule of mandatory revision (currently every 7 years); and it is the only General Plan element that requires the separate approval (called "certification") of a state agency, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). However, the internal consistency requirement of General Plan law is intended to ensure that all elements have equal importance and priority in their application and implementation.
Beyond the mandatory elements of the General Plan, there is a great deal of flexibility to address local conditions and circumstances through additional elements. Many General Plans contain elements that address the local economy, urban design, bicycle, and pedestrian needs, parks and recreation, social services, public health, sustainability, and so forth. There is also a great deal of flexibility in creating the format of the General Plan so that certain topics can be better integrated. For example, the Circulation element, which has traditionally focused on roadway networks and accommodating motor vehicle movements, has evolved into a much more comprehensive analysis of "mobility" that analyzes all means of personal and public transportation, as well as the movement of goods and services.
Although the scope of the General Plan focuses on local conditions and circumstances, it also offers an opportunity to do that in a broader context. Many local issues are influenced by factors that do not necessarily recognize the city limits: traffic, air quality, housing, natural disasters, and water supply, to name several. The process of preparing a General Plan allows the local community to look beyond its borders and not only collaborate with other communities and agencies on solutions to common problems but also build relationships that can result in more effective policy and program implementation into the future. Within the organization, the General Plan process can be a tool for building better working relationships among departments by clarifying regulatory and program implementation roles and responsibilities and future budget and capital project priorities.
There are several reasons why it is important to have a current General Plan:
Various commissions and City departments regularly report to the City Manager and City Council on the implementation of the overall goals, policies, and programs identified in the MV2040 General Plan. Similar to the General Plan Update process, the community has the opportunity to listen and provide feedback on programs and policies through staff work, committee work, and public hearings.
City plans have existed throughout the history of urban development as a means to organize space and insure that essential ceremonial and communal functions could be accommodated. Beginning in the early 20th Century, and in response to the detrimental effects of rapid urbanization (inadequate housing, poor sanitation, industrialization, etc.), city plans emphasized a compelling vision of a future (the "city beautiful"; the "garden city") intended to engage the public, build civic pride, and encourage long-term investments and decision-making that would ultimately realize the goals of the plan. By the 1920's states began adopting planning and zoning enabling laws that allowed local governments to regulate the use and development of individual properties under the premise of protecting the public health, safety and welfare. These laws typically made zoning ordinances the primary tool for guiding growth and development, while general (or comprehensive) plans were considered to be optional, advisory documents. That is still true in many states, even today.
In 1971, the state of California amended its Government Code to make General Plans mandatory for every city and county in the state and further, and more significantly, required all local land use approvals to be consistent with the jurisdiction's General Plan. In 1990, the California Supreme Court firmly established the General Plan as the pre-eminent statement of local planning policy governing future growth and development, calling it "the constitution for all future development." On-going changes in state law and successive interpretations by the courts continue to add to the scope and responsibilities of the General Plan. However, in its purest form, the General Plan is the link between the expressed values and vision of the community and the resulting public process and decision-making that affect the physical, social, environmental and economic character of the community.
State law and the collective body of court decisions over the years clearly establish the basic components of a General Plan and how these components are to be interwoven to create a "longterm", "comprehensive", "integrated, internally consistent and compatible statement" of goals and policies that reflect local conditions and circumstances. The law requires that a General Plan address seven subject areas, known in the law and by practice, as "elements", and that each element establish goals, policies and implementation programs and time frames for the subject matter in each element. The mandatory elements are:
The law and the state's "General Plan Guidelines" (created and periodically updated by the Governor's Office of Planning and Research to assist localities in preparing a General Plan) includes specific requirements for each element as to the level of detail and analysis that must be addressed in the plan. The "Housing Element" has the most specific content requirements, including its own separate schedule of mandatory revision (currently every 7 years); and it is the only General Plan element that requires the separate approval (called "certification") of a state agency, the department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). However, the internal consistency requirement of General Plan law is intended to insure that all elements have equal importance and priority in their application and implementation.
Beyond the mandatory elements of the General Plan, there is a great deal of flexibility to address local conditions and circumstances through additional elements. Many General Plans contain elements that address the local economy, urban design, bicycle and pedestrian needs, parks and recreation, social services, public health, sustainability and so forth. There is also a great deal of flexibility in creating the format of the General Plan so that certain topics can be better integrated. For example, the Circulation element, which has traditionally focused on roadway networks and accommodating motor vehicle movements, has evolved into a much more comprehensive analysis of "mobility" that analyzes all means of personal and public transportation, as well as the movement of goods and services.
Although the scope of the General Plan focuses on local conditions and circumstances, it also offers an opportunity to do that in a broader context. Many local issues are influenced by factors that do not necessarily recognize the city limits: traffic, air quality, housing, natural disasters and water supply, to name several. The process of preparing a General Plan allows the local community to look beyond its borders and not only collaborate with other communities and agencies on solutions to common problems, but also build relationships that can result in more effective policy and program implementation into the future. Within the organization, the General Plan process can be a tool for building better working relationships among departments by clarifying regulatory and program implementation roles and responsibilities and future budget and capital project priorities.
Various commissions and City departments regularly report to the City Manager and City Council on the implementation of the overall goals, policies and programs identified in the MV2040 General Plan. Similar to the General Plan Update process, the community has the opportunity to listen and provide feedback on programs and policies through staff work, committee work and public hearings.
The Mill Valley Parks and Recreation department permits many of the athletic fields within Mill Valley to be used for organized use. Organized use is defined as 15 or more players on the field. The fields that are available for rent through MVPR are Alto, Bayfront, Boyle, Friends, and Hauke. For further information go to the field rental page or call 415-383-1370, ext. 104.
The Mill Valley Parks and Recreation Department permits organized events at two City parks. Boyle and Old Mill Park are available to rent for your event. To do so visit the Parks and Recreation park rental page or call 415-383-1370, ext. 104 for further information.
Residents can view the Special Flood Hazard Areas and proposed base flood elevation by viewing our local map application page, MarinMap. Zoom to your specific parcel by selecting the "I Want To" box and search by address or parcel number. Then select "show layer list" to highlight the different FEMA information, including base flood elevations and floodplain designations.
FEMA allows for certain properties that have the structure(s) out of the floodplain and/or the structures are raised above the base flood elevation to apply for a Letter of Map Amendment. This process allows property owners to opt out of Flood Insurance Requirements.
Substantial improvement means any repair, remodel, rehabilitation, addition, or improvement, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the "depreciated market" value of the existing structure either, before the improvement is started, or if the structure has been damaged and is being restored before the damage occurred.
Depreciated value means the value of the structure only and does not include the land or any other accessory buildings or site improvements. It is the replacement cost of the existing structure less any depreciation that results from age or condition. For the purposes of the City's floodplain management regulations, the "market value" of a structure shall mean the same as "depreciated market value".
To establish the value of any proposed improvements, a contractor shall submit an itemized breakdown of estimated material/labor costs and the Cost Evaluation form (attached to this packet). The contractor shall use the attached Material Receipts/Estimates handout to help them determine the valuation of the proposed project. These submitted documents and the project valuation will then be reviewed and approved by the Building Official in comparison to market value rates within Marin County and the City of Mill Valley.
The valuation of the project is cumulative. Therefore, if during construction changes are made to the permit; those valuations must be added to the total valuation submitted for the project. If during construction the project increases to over 50% of the depreciated market value of the structure, it must conform to the City's current floodplain management regulations. Project valuations are cumulative for two years, meaning that all open permits for a structure are totaled together. A permit must be finaled for two years before a new project can begin to avoid it having a cumulative effect on valuation.
Substantial improvements are typically not triggered by over-the-counter types of permits, so the first over-the-counter permit submitted for a property will not require these documents. However, since the valuation is cumulative for two years, if you pull an additional over-the-counter permit within that time frame you will need to fill out the form and include the total valuation of all the permits pulled in that two-year period of time.
If the proposed repair, remodel, rehabilitation, addition, or improvement, equals or exceeds 50% of the depreciated market value of the existing structure it is considered a substantial improvement and you will be required to conform to Chapter 18 of the Mill Valley Municipal Code. Depending on the zoning and floodplain designation you may be required to flood-proof the structure (commercial zones) or elevate the finished floor of the structure above the base flood elevation. If the proposed project is a substantial improvement, please refer to Chapter 18 of the Mill Valley Municipal Code, and discuss your scope of work with the Planning Department.
Chapter 18.04 of the Mill Valley Municipal Code online.
Additionally, for information on the Floodplain, Regulatory Floodway, or the Map Updates for properties within the City of Mill Valley you can contact the Planning Department at 415-388-4033.
If you are an owner/occupant and are doing home maintenance not associated with a site with an active building permit:
Please Note: Unless expressly permitted by the City of Mill Valley, commercial landscape maintenance work on residential properties is not permitted on weekends and holidays.
Yes. Building plans are protected by copyright laws and the approval of the architect, designer, or other design professionals who prepared the plans is required, in writing, before the plans can be copied. Plans, however, can be viewed in the lobby at City Hall.
Trash and debris on your property can invite criminal activity, graffiti, and illegal dumping and can contribute to infestations of insects and rodents. Remove trash and debris and store all property in an approved manner. Check with our Planning Department to ensure you are complying with all regulations especially when storing or parking boats or commercial and recreational vehicles in a residential area.
Store inoperable vehicles in an enclosed building out of public view or remove them from your property. Participate in agency-sponsored trash/garbage removal programs that usually occur once a year. Mill Valley's City ordinance 7.04.150 requires all residence to have disposal service.
Dogs shall at all times be kept under the immediate control and direction of a competent, responsible person who is capable of controlling such an animal.
Parking meter holidays are:
You can find out the amount due for traffic fines at the Marin Superior Court of California website. The Vehicle Code(s) listed on the traffic citation will correspond to the imposed fees.
Marin Humane Society171 Bel Marin Keys BoulevardNovato, CA 94949Phone: 415-883-4621
Yes, construction work can be done Monday through Friday from the hours of 7 am to 6 pm. Heavy equipment and power tools are restricted to weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm. On Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, a homeowner, not a construction crew, can do work. No construction work is allowed on Sunday and holidays.
Signs advertising services, garage sales, homes for sale or rent are not allowed on public property, streets or utility poles. Signs placed on utility poles will be taken down and destroyed. Real estate signs will be stored at the police station and can be retrieved by the listing agent. There is a $10 fee per location.
If you have a "fix it" ticket (for registration, equipment, etc.) you can come into the station (1 Hamilton Drive) to have the proof of correction signed. Or, a patrol officer or an employee of Traffic court can also sign-off on the ticket. Only the Traffic Court at the Civic Center is able to sign-off a proof of insurance ticket.
Children under the age of 18, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, need to be off the streets between the hours of 11 pm and sunrise.
Yes! The police need your help in recognizing when something is wrong. The police rely on the community to act as their "eyes and ears" and to report dangerous, suspicious, and illegal activities. Call 911 if the incident is in progress, call 389-4100 if you want to make a report after the fact, and call 721-4547 to leave information anonymously regarding a crime. If you see it, hear it, know it - please, report it!
Municipal Code states it is unlawful for any person to operate a gas-powered device to blow leaves, dirt, or other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, or other surfaces within any area of Mill Valley. Electric leaf blowers are permitted.
Outdated prescription medicine, pharmaceuticals you no longer use may be turned in at the Mill Valley Police Department during normal business hours. Place items into the green disposal bin located in the front lobby. Drugs must be removed from their original packaging and placed in zip-lock bags. Ointments or liquids may remain in their original containers.
Sharps or needles should be returned to your pharmacy for proper disposal. Do not flush medicine and sharps down the toilet! Some compounds used in making medicine can pass through wastewater treatment plants and into the Bay which can harm aquatic life.
Some pharmacies will accept your old medications and sharps. Contact the County of Marin for a list of free drop off locations.
Police Department is located at:1 Hamilton DriveMill Valley, CA 94941
The police station is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 8 am to 4 pm.
You can request an administrative review to contest the ticket. The Administrative Review Form is available at the police station or download the Administrative Review Form (PDF). However, you are not required to submit this form, you can write your own letter. Include the citation number, your vehicle license number, the date of the citation and your statement as to the reason you don't feel the ticket is justified. Mail the letter or form to the Marin parking Authority (the address is on the citation). The review form or letter must be submitted no more than 21 days from the date of the ticket. Your letter or form will be reviewed within 30 to 45 days from receipt.
The Police Department has a Citizen Report Form. If you provide them with the license number, description location and time, they will send the offending driver a warning about their bad behavior. Call the Police Department at 415-389-4100 or report online.
For serious offenses, or vehicles or objects that are blocking the roadway, please call 911 or the Mill Valley Police Department at 415-389-4100.
If the abandoned car poses no immediate danger, please fill out our abandoned vehicle form.
Overall Mill Valley is a very safe place to live. Property crimes (burglary, theft, fraud, vandalism, etc.), not violent crimes, make up most of the cases filed with the Police Department. To view crime statistics online, you can go to the Office of the Attorney General. If you are interested in motor vehicle collision information and statistics, you can access the SWITRS Annual Report online. You can view also Megan's law information.
Contact the Mill Valley Police Department at 415-389-4100 or stop by the Police Department at 1 Hamilton Drive.
Having commercial plates doesn't automatically entitle you to park in a yellow zone. Mill Valley municipal code specifies that one must be actively involved in loading and/or unloading for commercial purposes to legally park in a yellow zone. There are specific times each day that anyone can legally park in a yellow zone: Monday through Friday after 4 pm, Saturday after noon, and Sunday all day.
Any individual who solicits door to door for a business is required to obtain a solicitor's permit and a business license from City Hall. It is unlawful for solicitors to contact a resident that has signage that prohibits solicitation or canvassing. When a solicitor comes to your door, you may ask to see a permit. If the solicitor does not have a permit, or refuses to show it to your, or causes any problems, please call the Police at 415-389-4100.
Citizen's complaint forms are located at Mill Valley's City Hall, Library, and Police Department, or you can download them online:
We evaluate the noise and other disturbances related to the construction project and then assess the proximity of residential neighborhoods. If the project is close to residential neighborhoods, such as the recent work on East Blithedale and Camino Alto, then night work is not an option.
This possible roadway modification is on the table for review. At their May 4, 2015, City Council meeting, the City Manager presented a report on traffic conditions and introduced an Action Plan with steps the City can take to restore road capacity, increase capacity and reduce the demand on our roads. The Action Plan includes realistic steps to provide immediate improvements and a structure to develop further comprehensive short and long-term strategies to improve traffic flow. One of the approved steps from the Action Plan includes forming a Traffic Congestion Advisory Task Force to develop recommendations for short and long-term improvements and programs. The widening of East Blithedale is one of the roadway modifications that will be studied by the Task Force.
Please visit the Public Streets and Sidewalks (link) page to find out information about Mill Valley’s updated ‘Five Year Pavement Maintenance Plan’ as well as your streets most recent ‘Pavement Condition Index (PCI)’ score.
Information about this year’s roadway project can be found here (link).
Tree maintenance is the responsibility of the Parks Department. Call them at 415-388-4242.
The City requires eleven feet of roadway to be kept clear and passable. This is to allow for the free passage of emergency vehicles such as fire engines or ambulances. Leaving less than eleven feet open constitutes a closed road and requires a Road Closure Permit.
The City allows most roads to be closed for the staging of large equipment for construction or tree work. If you think you need to close a road, contact the Department of Public Works at least 48 hours before the proposed closure. There is a procedure to follow and a $70 fee. Access for emergency services must be maintained. Dead-end streets and some busy streets may not be closed. Two closures on one street will not be allowed if this creates an area with no outlets. Overnight closures are not allowed. The City does not allow the closure of roads for the staging of moving vans. Streets may be closed for block parties.
The most important factor for Public Works is how a fence hinders visibility. Tall, solid fences can block visibility for a car exiting a property. This is especially important in areas that have sidewalks. With a tall solid fence, a car backing out of a driveway, and a child on a bicycle on the sidewalk will not be able to see each other until it is too late. With the varied terrain and irregularly shaped lots in Mill Valley, the amount of sight distance necessary to be preserved is decided on a case-by-case basis. However, if you are submitting a fence application near a driveway or a road, it is suggested you start with a design that limits the fence height to 30 inches within a 10-foot triangular area on either side of the driveway or road.
Yes, see the City's Events Policy.
The Municipal Code allows for the storage of garbage cans in places where they will not be a public nuisance or in any degree offensive. While this does not exclude garbage cans from the right-of-way, the City prohibits the construction of pads or enclosures for garbage cans in the right-of-way.
The road rights-of-way in Mill Valley are typically 40 or 50 feet wide, while the paved roads are less than that. So a parking space may be off the pavement, but still in the right-of-way. The policy is that if a parking space is at least 50% in the right-of-way it is considered a public space and is available to anyone on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you pay to create a parking space more than 50% in the right-of-way it is still a public space even though you have paid for it. Any new parking spaces that may be created must be wide enough to hold a car completely off the paved roadway.
Keeping sidewalks clear is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. It's extremely important to allow for access by both the disabled and ambulatory community. The Public Works Department abates sidewalk obstructions by sending an Abatement Notice to the owner, requiring trimming within a reasonable time. If the shrubbery is not removed, the Department may cause it to be removed at the expense of the owner, including administrative costs. These costs can become a lien on the property if not addressed. We strongly encourage owners to inspect and maintain the walkways adjacent to their property to avoid time-consuming and costly efforts by the City.
The City had a policy where streets were put into four categories, A through D. This policy is no longer in effect. The current policy is to consider rights-of-way as either City or private. There is a new policy regarding B streets, which are streets that have historically received minimal maintenance. The City Council has set aside annual funds exclusively for repairing B streets. DPW Staff prioritizes the repairs, and once completed, the B street classification is eliminated and the street is a normal City street with the same maintenance levels as other City streets. The streets that were called C or D are now considered private streets and do not receive City maintenance. Just because a street is called private does not mean someone can regulate passage on these streets. The private streets still have a right-of-way that allows the public to use these streets.
Drainage involves the natural flow of surface water across the property. Many factors affect drainage, including the topography of the property and the land upstream, the type of soil present, the type of development on the property (for example, whether the property is paved or landscaped), the localized drainage systems at the property (drains, gutters, ditches, and the like), among many others. Some properties may naturally be prone to flooding during heavy rain events. Adequate drainage is also important to hillside stability and landslide prevention.
To evaluate the adequacy of the drainage systems at your property, and to determine whether your property presents special risks (such as hillside properties), you should consult a California licensed specialist, such as a civil engineer, geotechnical engineer, or geologist, and obtain guidance on the need for regular slope and drainage inspections.
Yes. On a large development project such as building a new house, the City may ask you to submit a drainage plan, prepared by a California licensed engineer, as part of your application to develop your property. The installation of drainage facilities on such a project would be inspected by the City for compliance with the property owner's plan. Tie-ins to public drains or gutters in the public right-of-way require an Encroachment Permit.
Large-scale projects, such as rerouting the course of a storm drain or channel, require a Watercourse Modification Permit issued by the Department of Public Works. Work within a creek requires review and approval from several regulatory agencies, including the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Department of Fish and Game, and possibly the Army Corps of Engineers. For further information, see the Department of Public Works fact sheet regarding work near creeks.
Probably not. On a small project, such as a room addition or installation of a deck, or on drainage work unrelated to a construction project, such as landscaping, property owners may do minor localized drainage improvements without obtaining City or other regulatory permits or approval. If in doubt, contact the City's Public Works Department. In addition, do not alter your slopes or drainage without expert advice. Consult a California licensed civil engineer.
Yes. There are many measures that property owners can and should take to protect their property. These include, for example, controlling water that flows onto the property, controlling runoff on slopes, strengthening the soil to resist erosion, allowing for positive drainage at the property, installing adequate drains, gutters, and other devices at your property, among many others.
It is also important to maintain your drainage system, such as making sure drains are not clogged with leaves, replacing cracked drains and gutters promptly, and inspecting your drainage system regularly especially before, during, and after the rainy season. There are also many emergency preparedness measures you can take to protect your property from water damage, such as having sandbags, pumps, and plastic sheeting available before the rainy season. If you notice any unusual cracks, earth slippage, or settling, consult an expert immediately.
The City encourages property owners to disperse stormwater runoff from their impervious surfaces on their own property by recreating natural sheet flow wherever possible and directing it towards the public street. If this is not feasible, the drain line may be run to the street. An Encroachment Permit is required from the Department of Public Works for this work. All pipes in the right-of-way must be buried according to City standards.
During business hours, call the Department of Public Works at 415-388-4033. If they are unavailable, call the Police Dispatch Center at 415-389-4100.
If the sewage is in your yard, contact a sewer service company immediately. Most local sewer service companies have after-hours response crews. If it appears to be from a City main, contact the Department of Public Works at 415-388-4033 during business hours and the Police Dispatch Center at 415-389-4100 after hours.
The City's Municipal Code states that the owner of a sewer lateral is responsible for maintaining their sewer lateral all the way to the City main, including the portion within the right-of-way. This includes the fitting that branches the lateral off the main.
If any work increases the number of plumbing fixtures, you will need to replace your sewer lateral unless you can demonstrate to the Department that it is a tightline pipe in good condition. A tightline pipe is either steel or plastic, so all clay piping will need to be replaced, and with the proper permits.
Shared laterals are discouraged except for extreme circumstances where it is technically or environmentally infeasible to install a lateral into a City main sewer. This is because of the difficulty of assigning and accepting responsibility when repairs are needed or emergencies occur. Cost is not considered a qualifying factor. In the event that the Department concurs that a shared lateral is the only feasible alternative, a maintenance agreement between the parties must be prepared and recorded.
Regarding another property using your lateral, you should first refer to the title report for the property to find if there is a recorded easement. If there is no recorded easement, the property owner using your lateral may have continued rights of use through the history of use. The City cannot assist in this determination, as it ultimately must be determined in court. Property owners are always encouraged to make all reasonable attempts to work with each other before seeking legal recourse.
There are two main reasons for this problem. One is the connection of storm drains to the sewer system, which is illegal. If you have a downspout or area drain connected to your sewer, this should be corrected so the stormwater is discharged in an appropriate manner. The other common cause of this problem is old sewer lines, both City mains and private laterals. Older sewers were made of clay pipe, which can break or separate over the years, allowing rainwater in the ground to get into the pipe that leads to the treatment plant. You are strongly urged to have your lateral inspected and replaced if it is clay pipe. This will help reduce potential overflows at the SASM treatment plant.
The City has a winter grading moratorium. Grading is not allowed from October 15th to April 15th. There are no exceptions. This means all grading has to be completed by October 15th. If an excavation is going to be retained by a retaining wall or foundation, the wall or foundation must be completed by October 15th. If no retaining structures are included in the work, the site grading must be completed and the site winterized by October 15th. This would include the installation of any temporary or permanent erosion control measures. If construction work that includes excavation is anticipated to be near the deadline of October, a construction schedule must be approved by the Department. Unrealistic schedules will be rejected and the construction activities will need to include winterization until April 15th.
The City allows short-term use of the right-of-way for construction projects. Sometimes the topography of a site makes it impossible for delivery trucks to deliver their shipment on private property. You are allowed one day to move the material onto your own property. Any material stored in the road must fit in a legal parking space. Debris boxes are allowed in the right-of-way if you obtain an Encroachment Permit from the Department of Public Works. The cost is $10 per day in residential areas and $20 per day in metered spaces. The long-term use of the right-of-way for construction purposes is not allowed. The City does not allow the placement of job sheds, porta-potties or storage containers in the right-of-way. Storage in the right-of-way is not permitted over weekends.
You can reserve spaces for large tasks such as pouring concrete or bringing in a crane. Reserving spaces for daily worker parking is not allowed. Spaces may be reserved by contacting the Department of Public Works. There is a fee of $10 per space per day or $20 for metered spaces. The Department may restrict the number of days allowed in areas with parking issues.
The right-of-way for most streets in Mill Valley is either forty or fifty feet wide, which is wider than the actual paved road surface. Due to our hilly topography, locating a garage on private property may involve a large cut into the hill or having the garage sticking out into space. In an effort to minimize excessive grading or unsightly hanging garages, the City allows garages to be partially in the right-of-way.
Mill Valley has a boilerplate set of development conditions that are tailored for each individual development. Many of these apply to most development and are frequently imposed. Each department of the City imposes their own conditions. Check the Boilerplate Development Conditions from Public Works.
The City of Mill Valley only provides services within City limits. The neighborhoods mentioned above are not within the City of Mill Valley and receive services from other agencies such as the County or a special district. If you have a question about whether you're in Mill Valley city limits or which district, check the online maps. This website is jointly prepared by all Marin cities and the County, as well as special districts, and is an excellent resource for digital information about properties, boundaries, districts, transportation, hydrology, and aerial photographs.
Please visit the Department of Public Works page to find out information about the current year's road section repairs, replacement of asphalt, concrete pavement and traffic markings, resurfacing, repair of sewer pipes, storm drainage rehabilitation, and other street work.
Debris box rentals require approval by the Department of Public Works. Please visit the Department of Public Works front desk upstairs in City Hall at:26 Corte Madera AvenueMill Valley, CA 94941.
For further questions or to check on staff availability please call 415-384-4800.
To report the dumping of hazardous materials in creeks or gutters during business hours please call the Public Works front desk at 415-384-4800.
To report dumping of hazardous materials after hours, please contact the Police Dispatch at 415-446-4526.
If you notice a missing or fallen stop sign please contact us immediately. During weekdays 8 am to 5 pm please call the Public Works front desk at 415-384-4800.
If you are calling after hours or on a day when City Hall is closed please call Police Dispatch at 415-446-4526.
If you see a fallen tree in the roadway please call 911.
If you notice a fallen tree that is not in a roadway and does not pose any immediate danger please contact the Public Works front desk at 415-384-4800 during weekdays 8 am to 5 pm.
Fences are allowed to be built in the right-of-way under certain conditions. There has to be a necessary reason why the fence can't be located on the property line. The right-of-way is for public use and fencing to expand yard size is prohibited. Given the City's hilly topography, fences sometimes need to be placed in the right-of-way to accomplish their purpose. Fences are not allowed to be placed closer than three feet from the edge of the road. This allows for a recovery area for pedestrians. Gates are not allowed to swing over a road or sidewalk.
Fences or other surface improvements are not allowed within the Steps, Lanes, and Paths throughout the City. Fences require an Encroachment Permit from DPW as well as fence permits from the Planning Department.
Visit DC Electric's website here to report a problem with streetlights. When reporting streetlight problems you will be asked for the location of the pole and a pole number. The numbers are typically three digits long followed by a letter. You will also be asked for the type of problem with the light. The three main problems with streetlights are being burned out, staying on during the day, and blinking on and off which is called cycling. If you have other concerns, please call the Department of Public Works office at (415)384-4800.
No. It is unlawful to divert flows from their natural path to harm your neighbor's property. Every property owner has a duty to take reasonable care to avoid injury to adjacent property, including avoiding injury through the flow of surface waters. Even though water naturally flows from higher ground to lower ground, both the upper and lower property owners must act reasonably with respect to his or her neighbor's land.
You should work with your neighbors where possible to resolve disputes. If you are unable to resolve your dispute, you may seek assistance from various dispute resolution services, such as Mediation Services. If you have questions regarding your legal rights and responsibilities, consult an attorney. The City does not arbitrate disputes between property owners regarding drainage matters.
There are two types of tree-cutting permits required by the City of Mill Valley: one for trees on city property and one for trees on private property. The Department of Planning and Building oversees those on private property.
The City of Mill Valley's Planning Department requires a permit to remove four or more (non-Heritage) trees on a developed site per year. The City requires a permit to remove any Heritage tree. In addition, no tree may be removed from a vacant site without a permit. There are certain exceptions to the permit requirements based on tree size, emergencies, and vegetative management.
The Supplemental Application Form for Tree Removal Permit provides the application requirements (submit with the Planning Application Form). The current fee for a Tree Removal Permit is $775 for a Heritage Tree. For 4 or more non-Heritage Trees on a developed lot or a Heritage Oak Tree with Sudden Oak Death, the fee is $76 per tree. Please allow up to 30 days for the process and approval of these tree permits.
For more information regarding Private tree trimming or removals call Planning Department at 415-388-4033.
The Department of Public Works, Parks Supervisor oversees the application process for pruning and removal of trees on city property. A permit is required to trim, brace or alter or remove any tree on city property. The current permit fee to trim, brace or alter trees is $25. The current permit fee to remove a tree under 20" in diameter is $25 per tree and for trees over 20 inches in diameter is $100 per tree. Fees are due at the time of the permit request. An Application for Pruning and Removal of City Trees, along with fee payment, must be turned into the Parks Department for processing prior to any work on city trees.
For more information regarding City tree trimming or removals call the Department of Public Works at 415-388-4033
You can fill out a form to send a request to the Public Works Department or call them directly at 415-384-4800. Pothole requests are forwarded to our Streets and Sewer team and repair times vary depending on staff availability and the specifics related to the damaged street. When filling out the form please include your contact information so staff can be in touch with you about the request.
Remove the permit from your vehicle and return it to the Police Department to purchase a replacement permit for $10.
Mill Valley and eligible neighboring residents may purchase up to four permits per residence. All vehicles must be registered to an eligible address.
The Resident Shopper Vehicle Permit (RSVP) parking program is designed to make it convenient and inviting for Mill Valley and Southern Marin residents to shop, eat and visit downtown Mill Valley. The RSVP allows residents to park in any of the city's metered spaces without paying the meter seven days a week from 9 am to 6 pm.
The parking permit must be placed on the outside of your vehicle, either on the back bumper or the back window, on the driver's side. If the permit is not properly displayed, you may be issued a citation.
Yes. All meters will be free to patrons, up to the meter limit, from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, as has been the tradition during the holiday shopping season.
This is a program targeting Mill Valley and Southern Marin residents (zip codes 94920, 94925, 94965) to encourage patronage in the downtown area of Mill Valley.
Visitors can park in any of the metered spaces up to the time limit posted. Additional parking is available for all patrons in the public parking lot across from the Depot.
Employees are encouraged to purchase the Employee parking permit which enables parking 9 am to 3:30 pm seven days a week at all "E" parking spaces. The Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce sells Employee parking permits.
If you have an RSVP and believe you received a citation in error, please contact the Mill Valley Police Department at:
You may purchase the new 2023 permits online, by mail, or come to the Mill Valley Police Department Monday through Thursday 8 am to 5 pm, Friday 8 am to 4 pm.
Note: Replacement permits may only be purchased by mail or in-person.
Address:Mill Valley Police Department1 Hamilton DriveMill Valley, CA 94941
The RSVP is reduced to half price beginning June 1st to December 31st of the current permit year.
A Residential Building Report (RBR) is required when any residential property changes ownership and should be obtained before the close of escrow. This includes single-family homes, apartment buildings, condominiums, and mixed-use buildings. It is important to obtain a report as early in the process as possible to ensure a completed report will be available in a timely manner. This will also allow sufficient time to resolve any identified issues. Please see the Mill Valley Municipal Code § 20.70.020.
The City does not have the authority to hold up the sale of a property. However, if the property is sold, any required outstanding actions permits required will be the legal responsibility of the new owner.
The property owner will have the ability to pull emergency permits to address safety concerns, identified by the building inspector. Permits will not be granted until the unpermitted work is addressed.
Please see sections 20.70.070 and 20.70.040 of the Mill Valley Muni Code:
Residential Building Reports cost $335 per single-family home and $80 per additional unit.
The project applicant has submitted a new application, which the City has accepted for processing. This application is subject to the current rules in place today, including state regulations and city regulations such as the City's adopted General Plan "MV2040", Multi-Family Design Guidelines, and Zoning requirements (also called Development Standards) for projects of this type.
Previous applications have been withdrawn. However, that does not mean that the City and decision-makers are not aware of the extensive history surrounding the project.
In 2010, the City of Mill Valley did prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a similar version of this project, then known as Blithedale Terrace. That 2010 Blithedale Terrace project was not approved and that prior 2010 EIR was not certified. For the current project, the City has carefully followed the environmental review process as established under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and as specifically provided under CEQA Guidelines Section 15060 through 15065. Based on these applicable provisions of CEQA, the City has prepared an Initial Study/CEQA Checklist to determine whether the Project may have a significant effect on the environment.
The Initial Study/CEQA Checklist provides information and analysis that supports a determination that the project qualifies as an Infill Development project as defined in CEQA Guidelines Section 15332, and is therefore categorically exempt from any further CEQA review. The information and analysis included in the Initial Study also substantiates a conclusion that no exceptions to this CEQA exemption apply to the project.
Furthermore, the Initial Study/CEQA checklist provides information and analysis that demonstrates the project is consistent with the Mill Valley 2040 General Plan and applicable zoning regulations, and therefore qualifies under CEQA Guidelines Section 15183 as a project that is consistent with a community plan or general plan. These provisions of CEQA are intended to streamline the environmental review of certain types of projects, and to reduce the need to prepare repetitive environmental studies. Such projects do not require additional environmental review beyond that conducted for the General Plan EIR, except as necessary to examine whether there are project-specific significant effects that may be peculiar to the project or its site. The Initial Study/CEQA Checklist provides analysis that supports a determination that the project would not result in new or more severe significant environmental effects than were previously addressed in the prior Mill Valley 2040 General Plan EIR, and that the project will not have any project-specific significant effects that are peculiar to the project or its site.
Unless the Mill Valley Planning Commission and/or the Mill Valley City Council disagree, the Initial Study/CEQA Checklist is the most appropriate approach for CEQA documentation of the Project. It fully analyzes the environmental impacts of the project and provides substantial evidence to support a conclusion that the Project is exempt from CEQA under CEQA Guidelines Sections 15332, and is eligible for CEQA streamlining provisions under CEQA Guidelines Section 15183. If the Mill Valley Planning Commission and/or the Mill Valley City Council disagrees, that circumstance would trigger preparation of a Mitigated Negative Declaration or an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project.
Yes, a detailed Traffic Operations Study for the project has been conducted, but it is not included in the CEQA document for the reasons explained below.
In 2013, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 743, which added Public Resources Code Section 21099 to CEQA and changed the way that transportation impacts are analyzed under CEQA. These changes were intended to better align local environmental review with statewide objectives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, encourage infill mixed-use development in designated priority development areas, reduce regional sprawl development, and reduce vehicle miles traveled in California. Senate Bill 743 states that, “VMT is a more appropriate measure than automobile delay, and that automobile delay as measured by intersection level of service is not an impact on the environment”. Consistent with SB 743, the latest CEQA Guidelines from the State Office of Planning and Research (OPR) published in December 2018 require the use of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and prohibit the use of level of service (LOS) or other congestion-based metrics in CEQA documents after July 2020. Accordingly, the CEQA Checklist/Initial Study does not include a transportation analysis that measures traffic congestion on the roadway, level of service at intersection, travel delay, queue length or any other metric based on a level of service standard for measuring the transportation effects of the Project. Rather, a comprehensive VMT analysis was prepared for the project and forms the basis for determining traffic impacts under CEQA.
Nevertheless, the City did commission a separate report, the Traffic Operations Study for the Blithedale Project (prepared by W-Trans, September 14, 2022) to address General Plan policy matters related to traffic operations. This separate Traffic Operations study presents an analysis of the potential traffic-related effects that could be anticipated with development of the project and was completed in accordance with the criteria established in the Mill Valley General Plan. The purpose of the Transportation Operations study is to provide City staff, policy makers and the public with data regarding the project’s adherence to city policies. Vehicular traffic service levels at key intersections are evaluated for consistency with General Plan policies by determining the number of new trips that the proposed project would be expected to generate, distributing these trips to the surrounding street system based on anticipated travel patterns specific to the proposed project, then analyzing the effect the new traffic would be expected to have on the study intersections and need for improvements to maintain acceptable operation. Adequacy of parking is also addressed as a policy issue.
Click here to review the Traffic Operations Study for the project.
The Housing Accountability Act (HAA), Government Code section 65589.5, establishes limitations to a local government’s ability to deny, reduce the density of, or make infeasible housing development projects, emergency shelters, or farmworker housing that are consistent with objective local development standards and contribute to meeting housing need. The Legislature first enacted the HAA in 1982 and recently amended the HAA to expand and strengthen its provisions as part of the overall recognition of the critically low volumes of housing in California. In amending the HAA, the Legislature made repeated findings that the lack of housing and the lack of affordable housing, is a critical problem that threatens the economic, environmental, and social quality of life in California. More information on the HAA can be found here.
SB 330 limited the ability of cities and counties to reduce the permitted density on property designated for residential uses absent a concurrent density increase on other property, prohibited cities from enforcing caps on housing development, streamlined the review of certain entitlements for housing projects, allowed for vesting of city and county land use policies and fees for housing projects, limited the number of hearings concerning certain housing projects, and required replacement of certain “protected units.” The text of SB 330 (Government Code Section 65589.5) can be found here.
The Density Bonus Law (found in California Government Code Sections 65915 – 65918) provides developers with tools to encourage the development of affordable and senior housing, including up to a 50% increase in project densities for most projects, depending on the amount of affordable housing provided. The Density Bonus is a state mandate. A developer who meets the requirements of the state law is entitled to receive the density bonus and other benefits as a matter of right. As with any State mandate, some local governments will resist complying with the State requirement. But many local governments favor the density bonus as a helpful tool to encourage continued diversity of housing, income levels and lifestyles within their communities.
The City already has a street and subdivision called Blithedale Terrace, and that neighborhood has requested that the new project go by a different name.
Learn which sanitary district your property is located in.
If you own a septic system and need assistance with your system, contact Marin County Environmental Health Services at 415-499-6907, or visit the Marin County website.
The California State Legislature adopted the Public Records Act in 1975. It is designed to give the public access to information in possession of public agencies. The Act also provides that public records shall be open for inspection during regular office hours of the agency. The public can inspect any record unless the record is exempted from disclosure under the act.
For instructions on how the make a Public Records request, go to the City Clerk's Public Records Request page.
If you live in the Mill Valley city limits the City's Municipal Code states that the owner of a sewer lateral is responsible for maintaining their sewer lateral all the way to the City main, including the portion within the right-of-way. This includes the fitting that branches the lateral off the main.
However, if you live in any of the unincorporated areas of Mill Valley or Tiburon, homeowner responsibility may differ. Please contact your sanitary district. To find your sanitary district, please go to our SASM Agency Boundaries page.
A permit is required to discharge excess groundwater which should then be discharged into the sewer pipe.To obtain information for this process, please contact Chris Monti, Chief Treatment Plant Operator at SASM at 415-388-2402. An application for the Permit to Discharge Groundwater (PDF) must be completed, as well as laboratory analysis of the groundwater.
If the sewer is backing up into your house, more than likely it is your private sewer pipe that has the problem. You should call a plumber.
If the sewage is in your yard, contact a sewer service company immediately. Most local sewer service companies have after hours response crews. If it appears to be from a City main or a County main, contact the Department of Public Works at 388-4033 if you reside in Mill Valley city limits. If you reside in unincorporated Mill Valley, contact your sanitary district.
There are two main reasons for this problem. One is connection of storm drains to the sewer system, which is illegal. If you have a downspout or area drain connected to your sewer, this should be corrected so the stormwater is discharged in an appropriate manner. The other common cause of this problem is old sewer lines, both City and County mains and private laterals. Older sewers were made of clay pipe, which can break or separate over the years, allowing rainwater in the ground to get into the pipe that leads to the treatment plant. You are strongly urged to have your lateral inspected and replaced if it is clay pipe. This will help reduce potential overflows at the SASM treatment plant.
Never pour grease or oils down sink drains or into toilets. You should scrape grease and food scraps into a can or wipe with a paper towel. Then place into the trash for disposal or for recycling into your green can when this service is available. It's advisable to put baskets/strainers into sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids and then empty them into the trash or compost recycling.
When FOG is allowed to go down your drains, it can lead to a sewage back up in your home or business and may lead to other issues affecting our environment. Over time a layer of FOG will build up and restrict the flow of wastewater which can bring about a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO). A build up of FOG can also precipitate costly repairs at wastewater treatment plants and will increase problems with pests and vermin. Commercial kitchens are regulated to help prevent SSOs caused by FOG. For more information, view SASM's "Pollution Prevention Starts in the Kitchen (PDF)".
Help is here. Learn about the Cash for Sewers program.
Blockage in your lateral line is the most common reason people have back-up problems with their plumbing system. Toilets get clogged, drains get backed-up.
Please refer to the Sewer Lateral Ordinance in your sanitary district for current requirements.
Secondhand smoke contains all the 4,000 toxic chemicals found in cigarettes and is actually more dangerous than the smoke inhaled with a cigarette since there is no filter available for secondhand smoke.
In 2006, the California EPA Air Resources Board classified secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant with no known safe level of exposure, even in outdoor settings.
There are too many sources of shared air for smoke to stay contained within one unit.
Vents are not the only cause of contamination. Aggravating amounts of smoke can easily passes through pipes, floorboards, and even walls.
Even if the smoker opens the windows or smokes on the balcony, the smoke drifts to the other units through the outside air, preventing the non-smoking tenants from open their windows without exposure to smoke.
Non-smoking tenants with or without a pre-standing ailment, such as asthma or a heart condition among others, can become medically ill from the exposure.
Smoke-free units require less cleaning, which requires less time and money from management. Restoration firms estimate a $15,000 cost for smoking units.
Tar and cigarette particulates will attach to all surfaces within the unit, including walls, carpet, and blinds. These can often not be removed in spite of cleaning efforts.
Fire insurance premiums can decrease and will reduce the risk of financial loss due to fire.
Remember, a smoke-free policy does not mean that you cannot rent to smokers or are only limited to non-smoking tenants. It only means that smokers are not allowed to smoke in units and outdoor common areas. Smokers have become increasingly used to "no-smoking" areas. Complexes are allowed to restrict smoking anywhere on the premise, but others may also create an outdoor designated smoking area at least 20 feet away from operable doors or windows or other areas where smoking is prohibited.
The Marin County Tobacco Disease Control Program has received hundreds of phone calls from stressed and aggravated tenants and landlords dealing with drifting smoke problems.
Many responsible, non-smoking tenants have seriously contemplated or ultimately decided to leave their apartment because of the aggravation caused by secondhand smoke.
Non-smoking policies eliminate the tension between tenants and with management and reduce otherwise unnecessary and unwanted turnover, creating less stress and saving money for landlords and tenants.
There is no constitutional right to smoke. Banning smoking is not discrimination
Landlords have the legal right to ban smoking in all or part of the rental property, including individual rental units.
''No Smoking" restrictions are the legal equivalent of "No Pets" or ''No loud noises"
The reality is that a landlord will more likely face a lawsuit from a frustrated and medically injured non-smoker than from a nonsmoker. Today's legal climate tends to favor nonsmokers in these kinds of disputes.
If someone is injured by tobacco smoke and takes legal action, your liability insurance may not protect you because tobacco smoke is a pollutant that has been categorized by the California Air Resources Board as toxic with no known safe level of exposure.
The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Alcohol, Drug and Tobacco Programs website offers resources, assistance, and an online report form. They will offer assistance to residents and property owners/managers with signage, letters, advice, template rental lease agreements, and articles to help with the transition to 100% smoke-free housing. Questions can be directed to the Tobacco-Related Disease Control Program office at 415-473-3020.
Because many of us swim in chlorinated water at relatively high concentrations, we often don't fully understand the toxicity of chlorine on the natural habitat that surrounds us. It's quite simple, the concentration of sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) in pool water is high enough to pollute a body of water 10 to 100 times its size if sent to the storm drain.
Trash service is provided in Mill Valley by Mill Valley Refuse Service. Contact information:
The City of Mill Valley participates in a battery recycling program. You can drop off your old household and cell phone batteries (sorry, no automotive batteries) at one of the following collection points:
Look for the Blue Battery Recycling Barrel.
Not sure what to recycle? See the Mill Valley Refuse Service's recycling guide online for a list of items they'll accept for recycling, and how to prepare them for pick-up.
You'll find lots of useful information on Mill Valley Refuse Service's website site about how to reduce waste on their Zero Waste page.
Contact the Department of Public Works as soon as possible. If it is after hours, call the Dispatch Center at 415-389-4100
If you have a question about traffic, please contact the Department of Public Works at 415-384-4800 or email email@example.com.
We evaluate the noise and other disturbances related to the construction project and then assess the proximity of residential neighborhoods. If the project is close to residential neighborhoods, such as the recent work on E Blithedale and Camino Alto, then night work is not an option.
At times of heavy traffic volumes, a second right turn lane from Camino Alto to East Blithedale would not help to move traffic along, as the bottleneck in the corridor starts at the Highway 101 overpass where competing traffic flows converge and cause traffic to back up to Camino Alto and beyond.
Our traffic engineer has looked at several alternatives to help move Camino Alto traffic onto East Blithedale, and the preferred alternative is to eliminate the U-turn on westbound East Blithedale at Camino Alto so that the right-turn green arrow can be turned on when East Blithedale is turning left onto Camino Alto. Right now, when that is happening, the right turning vehicles have a red light, and thus, need to come to a complete stop before turning. With the left-turn overlap (as it's called), the right turners will get a green arrow, and thus move more quickly onto East Blithedale. This idea will be implemented in the next few weeks.
Roundabouts can reduce traffic delays and increase the safety of an intersection. A roundabout at Camino Alto and East Blithedale is an idea the Traffic Congestion Advisory Committee will likely study and consider.
Get Updates on Current and Upcoming Traffic Conditions in Mill Valley:
Marin Humane Society171 Bel Marin Keys BoulevardNovato, CA 94949
If the tree is within the city limits of Mill Valley and is on City property you should contact the Mill Valley Parks and Recreation Department at 415-383-1370 with the location of the tree or limbs.
If the tree is within city limits and is blocking a public right-of-way or roadway contact the Mill Valley Public Works Department at 415-384-4800 (Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm) and after-hours call the Mill Valley Police Department at 415-389-4100 with the location of the tree or limbs.
If the tree is touching electrical wires contact PG&E at 800-743-500 or the Mill Valley Fire Department at 415-389-4130.
If the tree is outside of the city limits but is on county property contact the County of Marin Public Works at 415-499-7877.
For sewer line problems, call the Sanitary District you reside in. SASM has six Member Agencies.
For Sewer Emergencies after hours, call Roto-Rooter at 415-388-2740.
Report graffiti to the Police Department at 415-389-4100. They can provide information to private property owners on how to remove graffiti or arrange for the responsible public agency to remove it from public property.
If you own a septic system and need assistance with your system, contact Marin County Environmental Health Services at 415-499-6907 or visit their website.