Weed & Brush Abatement
In Saratoga, there are two programs that help protect Saratoga from wildfire by reducing potential fuel, like weeds and brush. These programs are:
- Weed Abatement Program managed by the City of Saratoga in partnership with the Santa Clara Department of Agriculture. All properties in the City of Saratoga are subject to Weed Abatement requirements. However, only properties on the Weed Abatement List are inspected and subject to fees.
The Weed Abatement Program deadline is typically April 15, but may be adjusted depending on anticipated rain levels. Property owners may submit a request to extend the Weed Abatement Program compliance deadline no later than 3 business days before the deadline.
- Brush Abatement Program (Wildland Urban Interface Preparedness Inspection) managed by the Santa Clara County Fire Department. All properties in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area of the City are subject to Brush Abatement requirements.
Brush Abatement Program inspections begin in April and if properties fail to meet program requirements by June, properties will be submitted to the City to be considered as part of the nuisance declaration and abatement order hearing in June. For information about the Brush Abatement Program, call 408.378.4010.
Weed Abatement Program
In 2017, a number of property owners on the Weed Abatement Program list raised concerns about the program. The concerns raised included inadequate noticing and communications for the program, a desire to more closely align the Weed Abatement and Brush Abatement Programs, make the public nuisance declaration process for Weed Abatement fairer, and make fees and bills clearer and more transparent. As a result, the City Council made adjustments to the program to make the process and program requirements more transparent.
Weed Abatement Program List
The Weed Abatement Program List is a list of properties that have been previously identified as out of compliance with Program requirements. Properties will be removed from the list after achieving 3 consecutive years of compliance or by action of the City Council.
- Only properties on the list as of January 31 will be subject to fees and nuisance declarations under the Weed Abatement Program during that year.
- Non-compliant properties identified based on complaints or observations in the field will be inspected by the City for compliance with the City Code. If the property is found non-compliant and conditions are not corrected within the deadline set by the Code Compliance Officer, in addition to any other remedies imposed by the City, the property will be added to the Weed Abatement Program List for the following calendar year.
- Properties that fail to meet Brush Abatement requirements by the deadline set by the Santa Clara County Fire Department and included in an abatement order approved by the City Council will also be added to the Weed Abatement Program List for the following calendar year.
2019 Weed Abatement Program Schedule
|April 15||Compliance Deadline|
Deadline to meet Weed Abatement Program requirements. Requests for extensions must be submitted to the City no later than April 10.
Inspections start April 16.
Note: Deadlines for the Brush Abatement Program are different than the Weed Abatement Program.
|June 19||Nuisance Declaration & Abatement Order Hearing|
City Council public hearing to consider a resolution declaring non-compliant properties as a public nuisance and authorizing the removal of weeds/public nuisance.
Notice of hearing will be mailed at least 10 days prior to the hearing.
Owners may request that the City Council remove their property from the nuisance declaration and abatement order.
|November||Weed Abatement Bills|
Bills for Weed Abatement Program fees will be issued to subject property owners.
|January 2020||Assessment Public Hearing|
City Council hearing to consider a resolution confirming assessments on properties for unpaid bills.
Owners may request that the City Council remove their property from the assessment list.
Most fees are established by the Santa Clara County Department of Agriculture. Bills are issued by the City. Unpaid bills will be assessed on subject properties and appear on the following calendar year’s property tax roll.
Weed Abatement Program
- Inspection Fee - $80: The fee covers costs associated with data entry, file preparation, noticing, boundary determination, and overhead. The fee is only charged if a property fails initial inspection.
- Processing Fee - $583: Charged for properties that fail the initial inspection and must be reinspected.
Weed Abatement & Brush Abatement Program
- Contract Work Fee - $806: Charged to properties if weed/brush removal is done by the County’s contractor. This fee is in addition to the costs to remove weeds/brush.
- County Contractor Weed Abatement Work: Prices vary depending on work type, which includes disc work, handwork, flail mowing, loader work, dump truck, brush work, debris removal, and dump fee.
- City Administrative Fee - $150: Charged to properties if owner fails to pay weed/brush abatement program fees by the deadline and an assessment is placed on the property