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Fire-Rescue Department

Brush Management and Weed Abatement Frequently Asked Questions

Why did I receive a notice for my vacant lot?

The Notice is an annual reminder, sent by Fire Prevention Services Inc. (FPSI), to owners of vacant parcels within the City of San Diego.

A few weeks after the reminder is sent, FPSI will be conducting inspections on the vacant properties. Properties not in compliance with the City Municipal Code and the California Fire Code will be issued an official Notice of Violation for compliance.

What authority does FPSI have to enforce the Notice of Violation I received for my vacant property?

FPSI has the legal authority, as an agent of the City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, to enforce the California Fire Code as it pertains to weeds and combustible debris in the City of San Diego. It is the owner's responsibility to keep his/her property free of fire hazards at all times.

Do I have a right to an appeal hearing?

Yes. If you protest the code as it pertains to your parcel, or if you want to request an exemption from clearing the property at this time, you must submit the appeal in writing to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, Attn: Weed Abatement, 1010 Second Ave, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101. Parcels cannot arbitrarily be exempted.

What will happen if I do nothing to the property and don't request an appeal hearing?

The property will be cleared by the contractor and the property owner will incur all costs for the Administrative Abatement Procedure per Municipal Code 54.0206 (PDF).

How much will it cost to have the city clear my property?

The City's cost to clear a parcel will be extremely high compared to what the cost would be privately. The price for city abatements are set by a contract agreement.

I no longer own the property, what do I do with the notice?

At times, the records available are not always up to date. The notice is sent to the Owner of Record listed on the last county assessment roll. Please let FPSI know immediately if you no longer own the property by calling 619-562-1058.

Why do I have to clear the parkway when it is City property?

It is the owner's responsibility to maintain his property extending to the center of the street, including parkways, sidewalks, alleys, easements, etc. in accordance with the state weed abatement requirements and Municipal Code 54.0206.

Why am I responsible for clearing when others are dumping all the trash on my property?

Per Sec 54.0201 of the Municipal Code, the property owner is responsible for the maintenance of his/her own property at all times.

The lot next to mine is filthy and no work is ever done. Why?

The lot may not have been included in the Annual Weed Abatement Program because records indicated that a change in ownership was recorded after the Notice of Violation was issued.

To register a complaint regarding brush and weed issues, call Brush Management/Weed Abatement at 619-533-4444.

My neighbor has a mulch pile on his property. Is this legal?

Any mulch, compost or fertilizer poses a fire hazard. Depending on its contents, any of these are subject to spontaneous ignition under certain conditions. A fire burning within compost, mulch or fertilizer is very difficult to extinguish. The consistency of a mulch pile or compost should be of small, chipped pieces of natural waste material that decays in a timely manner.

San Diego Municipal Code 44.0108 (PDF) states: "No person shall place or deposit, or cause to be placed or deposited, any garbage, dead animals, or any animal or vegetable matter, or any putrid or decaying matter of any kind, at any place within the corporate limits of the said City of San Diego, without burying the same in trenches at least six feet deep and covering the same with no less than two feet of soil."

San Diego Municipal Code 44.0203 (PDF) states: "No person shall keep or store any fertilizer in excess of two cubic yards, on any premises within fifty (50) feet of any building occupied as a residence by human beings except in a container, bin or room which is fly-tight, dust proof and ventilated in such a manner as to prevent the fertilizer materials from becoming a harbor for rodents, a breeding place for flies, offensive to the human senses, or a public nuisance."

Mulch, compost and fertilizer storage is acceptable if stored under the listed conditions of section 44.0108 or 44.0203 of the Municipal Code. All other accumulation of these will be considered accumulated waste material and designated a fire hazard.