Upon receipt of a complete application for an ACC, staff reviews the history of a parcel of land, including all subdivision maps and grant deeds which might have had an effect on the parcel’s creation. If a review of the parcel’s history reveals that the parcel was created legally and that nothing has occurred in the intervening years to cause the parcel to have been merged with adjoining land, then an ACC will be issued.
This determination is made under the provisions of the State Subdivision Map Act (California Govt. Code Sections 66412.6, 66412.7, 66424, 66499.30, and 66499.35), which define subdivisions, legal parcels and the Administrative Certificate of Compliance process. In order for the Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD) to issue an ACC, the following findings must be made:
- The parcel was:
- created in compliance with the current Subdivision Map Act and local ordinances enacted to implement the act in this County; or
- legally created in compliance with prior laws regulating the design and improvements of subdivisions; or
- was specifically exempted from such prior laws, and
- Nothing has happened since the parcel was created that would have caused or required the parcel to be merged with adjoining parcels (such as through a lot line adjustment, subdivision, voluntary merger, or the construction of a substantial building over the parcel boundary, etc.)
It is the applicant’s responsibility to do the research and prepare an application which describes the parcel’s history and demonstrates that the findings listed above can be made. A list of the minimum required materials to be submitted follows (see “Required Application Materials for Administrative Certificates of Compliance). Background information can be gathered by reviewing recorded documents at the Sonoma County Recorder's Office and past Planning Department approvals at PRMD. Most applicants use deed research or title company services or hire private land surveying firms when preparing the application.
If the area is subject to merger under Section 66451.11 of the Subdivision Map Act, PRMD must make a “Determination of Parcel Status" to decide whether the Department will require that the parcel be combined with the owner's other adjoining property. The Administrative Certificate of Compliance application will be considered incomplete and processing will not be continued until a determination is made. The owner may choose to voluntarily merge the parcels into one parcel to expedite the processing of an Administrative Certificate of Compliance.
If staff determines that the parcel was not created in compliance with the laws in effect at the time, PRMD will initiate a "Notice of Intention to Record Notice of Violation" proceedings, unless a separate application is made for a "Conditional Certificate of Compliance (C.C.C.) If a Notice of Violation is recorded, the parcel cannot be legally sold, leased, financed, or developed.