Editor’s note: Michael Taylor is a candidate running for District 1 Supervisor.

January 29, 2020 – Do you have an unpermitted structure on your property? Are ALL your property improvements – building renovations, home additions, shops, barns, decks and outbuildings (shade structures) – up to code?  Did you pull the appropriate County paperwork to set up and install that generator last fall? Do you have thousands of dollars to fix the mistakes that previous property owners may have caused?

Well, last Thursday at the Nevada County Board of Supervisors Strategic Priorities Workshop, the Program Manager for Code Compliance suggested using drones for administrative code compliance. After the presentation, the Supervisors were asked for input. They seemed willing to actually consider giving this tool to the code compliance department.

The idea to actively allow more tools for code enforcement stems from the recommendation to amend Article 5 of Chapter II of Title 3 of the Nevada County Land Use and Development Code (http://bit.ly/SR-19-0851). Have you heard of it? I didn’t think I had either until I remembered a newsletter I received from local attorney Heather Burke last September. In the newsletter, she states her concerns with the County’s proposal to vastly increase their power over unregulated cannabis cultivation while, at the same time, incorporating non-cannabis related violations into their sweeping changes: http://bit.ly/hburkelegal-enforcement.

Although initially proposed to regulate cannabis grows, – and still seemingly hiding behind this mask – I want to make it CLEARLY KNOWN that the recommended ordinance amendment will address ALL code violations, not just the enforcement of cannabis cultivation.  

The recommendation for the enforcement division to use drones is not unsubstantiated fiction – although I wish it were. This is FACT. See for yourself on slide 15 of the presentation I’m referring to: http://bit.ly/PDFcannabis-presentation

While candidates on the campaign trail are out debating issues of homelessness, senior centers and fire safety preparedness, the County is gearing up – quite silently – with drones and an ordinance to stomp on our rights to privacy THIS UPCOMING YEAR.

At the Board of Supervisors workshop, Supervisor Hall mentioned she’s supportive of furthering the discussion of this idea. She noted that if the usage of drones will help keep code compliance personnel safe, she’s for it. At the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum later that evening, Deborah Wilder showed a bit more restraint, but came to the same conclusion. This amended ordinance has been created and is gaining support under the false pretense that drone usage will keep county personnel safe.

I vehemently oppose the CDA Code Compliance Division having the legal right to use drones. There is no need for them to EXPAND their ALREADY vigilante-style operations. Drones will be a hugely invasive tool that no doubt will be abused by code compliance! Code compliance is already overstepping their authority and this new amendment to the existing ordinance will give them more legal leverage to violate our personal and property rights with NO recourse.

If there was any doubt that the County’s code violation system was based only on (A) an immediate threat to health and public safety or (B) a nuisance complaint, it’s now crystal clear that the County is seeking tools to look for ALL violations actively.

We need to maintain the ordinance as it is, NOT move away from it. The Sheriff’s Department already has a drone they can legally use, if/when necessary. 

You’re not alone in the fact that you should be LEFT ALONE. If anyone should have something to say about what you’re doing, it should be your neighbors, not some vigilante code compliance officer looking to generate more revenue for the County. Yes, Nevada County needs to generate more revenue. Surveying its citizens from the sky to make a quick buck is not the answer.

Fellow citizens of Nevada County, we cannot let this amended ordinance pass! If you want to help put a stop to the County’s overreach, let’s join forces and be ready to come out in MASSES when this hits the Supervisor’s agenda. If I were on the Board of Supervisors, I would SHUT THIS DOWN. How do you proceed, you ask? 

  1. Tell your friends via Phone, Facebook or Email
  2. Contact your Supervisors immediately and let them know you do not support this amendment
  3. Consider voting for me as District 1 Supervisor on March 3rd
  4. Share your personal experiences dealing with the Building & Code Compliance Departments – with me, and others!

Let’s build a coalition of concerned citizens. Together, we’ll ensure our voices get heard in Nevada County.

Please reach out to me at mtaylor4district1@gmail.com with your comments, concerns and personal experiences dealing with the Building & Code Compliance Departments.