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An ADU is an accessory dwelling unit with complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and has a few variations:
No. AB 68 and the City of Watsonville's Zoning Ordinance require a ministerial review process which is an administrative process not involving public hearings and where a project would be subject to objective criteria on a pass/fail basis only.
No. While local governments may impose standards on ADUs, these standards shall not include minimum lot size requirements.
Yes. The City has adopted an ordinance establishing minimum and maximum unit size requirements for both attached and detached ADUs. As shown in the following table, in accordance with state law the maximum unit size requirements is at least 850 square feet (sf) and 1,000 sf for ADUs with more than one bedroom.
Table 1. Maximum ADU Living Area
Yes. A lot where there are currently multiple detached single-family dwellings is eligible for creation of one ADU per lot by converting space within the proposed or existing space of a single-family dwelling or existing structure and a new construction detached ADU subject to certain development standards.
Yes, provided the existing single family residence or detached garage meets setback requirements and the ADU meets certain development standards. While detached garages in many instances have been constructed within close proximity to side and/or rear property lines, the construction of a two-story structure with an ADU as the second story must meet all applicable setback requirements, such as a 10-foot exterior side yard setback, 5-foot interior side setback, and 5-foot rear yard setback. WMC § 14-23.030 and WMC § 14.40.030(a)(3)
No. Parking requirements for ADUs do not exceed one parking space per unit or bedroom, whichever is less. These spaces may be provided as tandem parking on a driveway. Guest parking spaces are not required for ADUs.
It depends. No replacement or additional off-street parking is required when converting an existing garage, carport, or covered parking structure as an ADU. Please note, however, that a JADU created in an attached garage (not more than 500 sf in size) is not afforded the same parking protections as ADUs and replacement parking must be provided onsite.
No. JADUs are not allowed in accessory structures. The creation of a JADU must be within the single-family residence. In addition, while attached garages are eligible for JADU creation, the maximum size for a JADU is 500 square feet. (Gov. Code, § 65852.22, subd. (a)(1), (a)(4), and (h)(1))
Yes. There are owner-occupancy requirements for JADUs. The owner must reside in either the remaining portion of the primary residence, or in the newly created JADU. (Gov. Code, § 65852.22, subd. (a)(2))
No. A JADU may be created on a lot zoned for single-family residences with one primary dwelling. The JADU may be created within the walls of the proposed or existing single-family residence, including attached garages, as attached garages are considered within the walls of the existing single-family residence. Please note that JADUs created in the attached garage are not subject to the same parking protections as ADUs and replacement parking must be provided onsite.
A conditional use permit is required to sell alcohol. A conditional use permit is conditioned to mitigate any adverse impacts associated with alcohol related uses. Conditions of approval include time limits on the permit approval and hours of operation, in addition to other applicable conditions. A conditional use permit is a discretionary permit and requires specific findings to be made. The Zoning Administrator or Planning Commission are the final decision makers, and can deny an application if appropriate findings cannot be made to support the requested use permit.
All alcohol related uses require a conditional use permit prior to selling alcohol. Depending on the type of ABC license that you are requesting, an Administrative Use Permit (approved by the Zoning Administrator) or a Special Use Permit (approved by the Planning Commission) will be required. Please contact the Planning Division for additional guidance.
An applicant must submit an Administrative or Special Use Permit application along with the submittal requirements for alcohol-related uses. You can find the Administrative/Special Use Permit application here and Alcohol Submittal Requirements here.
Yes, a change in mode or character of operation of a regulatory license, including a change in ownership, requires a new conditional use permit.
Yes, a change in mode or character of operation of a regulatory license, including a change in type, requires a new conditional use permit.
No, the City of Watsonville’s conditional use permit process is separate from obtaining a license from ABC. A conditional use permit is required from the City of Watsonville prior to issuance of the ABC License.
Yes, in accordance with WMC Chapter 14-25, a conditional use permit expires after 20 years. At that time, an applicant must reapply for a new conditional use permit.
Yes, the City requires a minimum distance between certain ABC License types. You can find information regarding separation requirements in the City’s Alcohol Ordinance. If you have additional questions, contact the Planning Division for assistance.
Permits are issued by the Building & Safety Division at the Community Development Department which is located at 250 Main Street. On some simple jobs, a permit can be obtained during the first visit. However, in most circumstances, more time will be needed to review the plans in detail prior to issuing any permits.
If you begin construction without the required permit(s), a "Stop Work" will immediately be issued by an Inspector. You will be required to apply for the permit(s) and pay fees (up to double the amount of the original fee). After the permit has been properly issued, you will then be required to uncover any work which has been covered so that it may be inspected prior to the release of the Stop Work. In some cases, regulations or codes may not permit the type of construction that has been done. In this case, you may be required to replace or restore the area to its original condition prior to your construction.
When applying for a permit, the following information is required to complete the permit submittal:
Permits may be issued to:
When a permit is issued, the signature and identity of the applicant must be verified. A California Driver's License, State of California Identification Card, or other positive identification will meet this requirement. Contractors are required to have a current City of Watsonville Business License and current State of California Contractor's License. If employees are to be used, Workers' Compensation Insurance Company and policy number must be supplied.
Permits are issued between 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Most major projects will require permits of some kind (building permits and/or planning permits). This is necessary to ensure that all buildings meet minimum standards which protect its occupants and neighbors in everyday living and in the case of emergencies or natural disasters. Some minor projects are allowed without obtaining building permits. However, depending upon the project, other permits (planning permits, encroachment permits, special activities permits, etc.) may be required. In either case, the construction of such projects should be in conformance with all applicable codes. Some of the projects which do not require a building permit are:
Minor improvements typically not needing a permit:
These examples are only some of the exempted projects which are listed in various code books. Not all exempted projects have been included. Contact the Building & Safety Division for additional information.
Building construction hours are as follows:•Monday through Friday – 7 AM to 7 PM•Saturday – 10 AM to 4 PMWork is not allowed on Sundays and/or any other time without prior approval from the Community Development Director.
Please call our main office at (831) 768-3050 during business hours to report illegal construction activity. You may also file a complaint online 24 hours a day, seven days a week by visiting our website and filled out the
The public service counter hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The counter is closed during lunchtime from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Over the Counter permit processing is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because construction and demolition materials are a significant and growing part of landfill waste in California, the City of Watsonville and the California Green Business Standards Code require recycling of at least 65% of materials generated at construction and demolition projects. The City has developed the Construction Waste Management Plan in order to help contractors meet the requirement.
For more information, click
Yes. The number and types of cannabis businesses allowed in the City are outlined below:
* Non-storefront delivery permits may only be obtained as an add-on permit to a permitted cultivation, manufacturing, or processing facility in good standing within the City of Watsonville.
No. Because of COVID-19 Shelter in Place Orders, the Community Development Department is not open to the public. All applications are required to be submitted via mail. Applications must be postmarked by 4:00 p.m. Thursday, October 1, 2020.
The City will only accept payment by certified check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to The City of Watsonville.
Please send your application and payment to:
City of Watsonville
Community Development Department
250 Main Street
Watsonville, CA 95076
Yes. We have a utility payment drop box behind our building on Union Street in which you may drop off your application if you do not want to put it in the mail. The utility payment drop box is checked by staff daily. Be sure to address the application to the Community Development Department.
There are separation requirements for all cannabis facilities. The table is listed below:
* Separation distance from K-12 schools shall be measured from property line to property line. Separation distance for cultivation facilities shall be measured from parcel line of sensitive use to nearest wall of cultivation facility. Separation distance for all other cannabis facilities shall be measured by path of travel from nearest parcel line of sensitive use to the front door of the facility. Separation distance from K-12 schools shall be measured from property line to property line.
You must submit an application for a Zoning Verification Letter to determine whether the potential business location meets ordinance requirements, including required separation from sensitive uses.
To download an application for a Zoning Verification Letter, click here.
The separation requirements are different for cultivation, processing, distribution, testing, manufacturing, and retail sales of cannabis. Maps showing potentially eligible cannabis facility locations are listed below. Please note that determination of eligibility can only be obtained through a Zoning Verification Letter.
Pre-Application. All applicants must submit a Pre-Application during the identified application period on forms provided by the City. A physical location is not required to be identified during the Pre-Application process, but will focus on the qualifications of the applicant team, general security requirements, and operations plan, among other things.
Interview. The City will interview up to 3 more applicants than the number of available permits for each business category. The applicants invited to interview will be those with the most competitive Pre-Application package. Business invited to interview must pay the additional interview fee within 5 business days of notification of interview.
Conditional Use Permit. The most competitive applicants after the interviews will be invited to apply for a Conditional Use Permit to establish a cannabis business. The applicant will have 6 months to secure a physical location and obtain approval of all required local and state permits.
The City will only accept applications for cannabis permits during specific application periods.
The revised ordinance only requires background checks for owners and managers.
Background checks will be conducted through a third party consultant during the pre-application process. The fee for each individual is $300 and paid directly to the third party. The entire process is completed online through a secure portal. Those applicants invited to apply for Conditional Use Permits must then submit for Live Scan background checks.
Yes, all owners, managers and employees must be issued an identification badge from the Police Department, in accordance with WMC Section 14-53.208. No owner, manager or employee shall engage in any activities associated with a cannabis business without first obtaining a valid identification badge.
The Live Scan process involves submitting fingerprints to the DOJ, which will review for criminal offender record information (CORI). CORI reports will be provided to the City of Watsonville for the sole purpose of determining eligibility for operating a cannabis facility. Those who do not meet criminal history eligibility requirements will be disqualified.
To download a request for Live Scan form, please click here.
Here are the steps for obtaining an identification badge:
The fees for the cannabis application process are:
The City of Watsonville adopted an ordinance to mitigate the barriers to equity within the commercial cannabis market place for populations that have been negatively or disproportionally impacted by cannabis criminalization and for pursuing aid from compassionate cannabis care programs. The ordinance can be found here. Equity applicants are those that have submitted documentation to the City in compliance with the Equity Ordinance that prove that they have been negatively impacted by cannabis criminalization and from pursuing compassionate care programs.
In order to qualify as an equity applicant or equity business, please refer to the application for equity status.
One permit from each cannabis business category is set aside for equity applicants, so that equity applicants will only be competing against other equity applicants for that license. Equity applicants are exempt from paying application fees. However, any fees associated with Live Scan or background checks are the responsibility of the equity applicant.
Cannabis Use Permits are not transferrable. They are issued to a business entity and do not run with the land. If a Cannabis Use Permit is surrendered or revoked, the City may open up an application period for applicants to apply for that permit.
The City requires a modification of your Use Permit anytime there is a change in ownership of the business.
The revised ordinance allows cultivation on up to 2 parcels, up to 22,000 square feet in area. If the expanded cultivation area or property will be financed with new investors or a new ownership structure, a new Use Permit will be required. If you are proposing to expand using the same ownership structure and investment group, a Minor Modification to your existing Use Permit will be required.
The non-storefront delivery permits will only be processed during the application period and will be competitive. Permits for non-storefront delivery for existing cultivation/manufacturing businesses will be through a Minor Modification application if the same ownership and financing structure are to be used as the existing cannabis business.
For new manufacturing/cultivation/and or processing businesses that are applying for a permit during the application period, the application must indicate all permits being applied for.
Yes. A permit application fee is required for each type of cannabis business.
To check if a car seat has been recalled, you can call the manufacturer or check the most current recall list from SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. If there has been a recall, the broken or defective part must be replaced before use.
Visit Safety Belt Safe
In person: our office is located at 250 Main Street. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Telephone: Our office number is 831-768-3050. You can call anytime during regular business hours and speak to a staff member to file your complaint. If the line is in use please leave your complaint information with your name and number. A staff member will call you back to get any additional information needed.
Online: Complaints may be filed online 24 hours a day, seven days a week by visiting our
Contact Customer Service at (831) 768-3133 and your bin will be picked up at no charge. The $10 fee is non-refundable. The compost bin is property of the City of Watsonville.
Composting is a natural, biological process that recycles organic materials such as food scraps, leaves and yard trimmings into a rich (fertile, dark, sweet smelling) soil-like material called compost or humus (pronounced hyu, like you.) It improves the health of both soils and plants when added to the garden or indoor plants.
Materials like vegetable and fruit scraps, eggshells, coffee grinds, tea bags and much more can be placed in a container to decompose. Almost anything that is organic material and not animal based is a good candidate for composting.
This is a voluntary program for residents who want to participate in diverting food scraps from the landfill and instead composting in their own backyard.
These funds will cover training and delivery services provided
Composting makes a valuable soil amendment. Through this process of decomposition, food scraps and yard trimmings remain as beneficial natural resources instead of becoming wastes, and entering the waste stream. Our food comes from nature, so better to put it back where it came from. In nature, the concept of waste does not exist!
According to the EPA, 30% of household waste is food. This can be composted instead of throwing it away in the garbage can
Complete and submit the Earth Day 2023 Application Form by Monday, February 20th. A person from the Earth Day committee will be in touch to inform you of your application’s status.
Yes. To participate in this year’s Earth Day Celebration, organizations must provide:
education and activities focused on at least one aspect of climate action
at least one resource to help residents take climate actions to reduce, reverse, or prepare for the effects of climate change.
As an example:
The organization Bike Santa Cruz County is applying to participate in Earth Day 2023.
Education: What aspect of climate action can their organization talk about and provide resources for?
Bike Santa Cruz County can offer information on how biking instead of driving places helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our city and therefore helps reduce and reverse climate change.
Resources: What resource or resources can Bike Santa Cruz County offer to support the aspect of climate action they are talking about?
Bike Santa Cruz County can offer safety tips and/or safety tools, or talk about rebates or other resources available to make it easier for Watsonville residents to acquire or ride a bike in town instead of driving a car.
Activity: What engaging activity related to biking can Bike Santa Cruz County offer?
Some activities include:
A game to test the audience’s understanding of bike safety
A demonstration/game to teach and test how to properly wear a helmet, where to put safety reflectors on bikes, how to use hand gestures to ride safely on the street, etc.
No. We will not be accepting vendors at this event, except for the pre-selected, pre-approved food vendors. Our goal is to offer free climate action resources to our residents.
No. Participation and acceptance into this event will not be automatic. All organizations who wish to participate must submit an application form and meet the event requirements.
After careful consideration, the Earth Day Planning Committee has decided to refocus the Earth Day celebration on bringing climate action resources and education to our community to help prepare us for climate change and prevent further adverse effects in our city and the Earth at large.
A list of the impact fees are provided online.
The property owner is responsible for property maintaining this area (see City of Watsonville Municipal Code Title 7 Chapter 2). This responsibility includes maintenance of damaged or displaced concrete, abatement of weeds or debris, and the maintenance of trees and shrubs whether on private or public property. Replace and trimming of street trees and shrubs is further governed by the Parks & Community Services Department.
Sewer fees pay for the complete operation and maintenance of the collection, treatment and pretreatment programs. The sewer fund is self-supporting and does not receive money from outside sources such as the General Fund.
The owner of property adjoining a sidewalk area is liable for injuries caused by that owner's failure to maintain the sidewalk area in a safe condition (see City of Watsonville Municipal Code on sidewalks, Title 7 chapter 2.)
Visibility - When parkway strip shrubbery interferes with vehicle operator visibility, trimming to a maximum height of thirty inches is required. Thirty (30) inches maximum height, 25 feet minimum sight distance at corners).
Walkway and Gutter Clearance - Trimming of ground cover or shrubs is required when there is an encroachment onto the sidewalk or gutter and must clear seven ft. (7'+) over the sidewalk.
Obstacles in the Parkway Strip - Elimination of tree stumps, large rocks, trash, holes, and some built-up planters is required. When the parkway strip is unimproved or landscaped and there is a drop, the parkway strip must be filled with dirt or other material (no asphalt) to eliminate tripping hazards.
Repair of the sidewalk concrete is required in the following circumstances:
Curb and gutter repair is required in the following circumstances:
Construction of curbs, gutters, and sidewalks in City streets may be performed by a "C8" or "A" licensed and insured contractor. A permit is required for concrete repair, and will be issued to licensed contractors for a fee by Community Development. You can also enter into a contract with Public Works to have the repairs made with a 12-month interest free loan.
With technology, you can now search the internet for local contractors or you can look in the yellow pages of the phone book. The "C8" or "A" licensed contractor selected must secure a concrete construction permit from Community Development.
Yes, all work and materials must be in conformance with the City of Watsonville Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction and Parks and Recreation ISA Standards.
Before placing any concrete you must have the forms, base, tree root removal, and saw cuts inspected. After approval, a City-approved concrete mix must be used. Finish must be a light brook finish with score marks to match the existing sidewalk. After the work is completed, you must call for a final inspection. A permit is required for all concrete work in the public right-of-way. To obtain a permit or arrange an inspection, call (831) 768-3110.
In an effort to beautify our City's neighborhoods, street trees are encouraged in front of each residence. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of the street tree and for the cost of concrete repair, even though the concrete may have been raised by the street tree. Certain species of trees may raise concrete if preventative maintenance is not performed.
In extreme cases, street trees cannot be saved and must be removed before the sidewalk and/or curb and gutter can be replaced. City standards require replacement of the tree, to be selected from a list of approved street trees. Proper tree selection is critical and is reviewed by the City Arborist. The tree permit process in these cases must be pursued before a concrete permit can be issued. Tree permits are issued by the Public Works Director. Tree work permitting is governed by Chapter 7-11.
To reduce the chance of future concrete displacement, trees can be root-pruned and a root barrier installed. Care must be taken when root pruning to avoid damaging underground utilities.
Also deep-watering the tree, that is, applying a slow trickle of water over a 24-hour period, encourages deeper root growth which reduces the chance of sidewalk damage.
The California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") is a State statute that requires that public agencies identify the impacts of their actions on the environment and, if possible, avoid or mitigate those impacts.
The impetus for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) can be traced to the passage of the first federal environmental protection statute in 1969, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In response to this federal law, the California State Assembly created the Assembly Select Committee on Environmental Quality to study the possibility of supplementing NEPA through state law. This legislative committee, in 1970, issued a report entitled The Environmental Bill of Rights, which called for a California counterpart to NEPA.
Later that same year, acting on the recommendations of the select committee, the legislature passed, and Governor Reagan signed, the CEQA statute. California was the first state to adopt its own “mini-NEPA” to identify and reduce the environmental impacts of new state projects, attempting to expand the factors balanced in decision-making, to add environmental goals to economic and social goals. While CEQA originally only pertained to projects sponsored or approved by state agencies, CEQA was expanded during the 1970s to include all California development proposals – public or private – that are subject to the discretionary approval of a public agency.
CEQA applies to actions by a local agency that are: (1) discretionary; and (2) constitute a “project” as defined by CEQA.
An action is discretionary when it requires the exercise of judgment.1 The action is a project if it may cause a direct physical change in the environment, or a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment.2 The term “project” is “given broad interpretation in order to maximize protection of the environment, therefore the general rule is, if it’s not clearly seen that the item it is not a project, then treat it as a project.”3
A public agency must comply with CEQA when it undertakes an activity defined by CEQA as a "project." A project is an activity that may cause either a direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect change in the environment, and is undertaken by a public agency, or a private activity which must receive some discretionary approval from a public agency (meaning that the agency has the authority to deny the requested permit or approval or impose conditions on approval).
Most proposals for physical development in California are subject to the provisions of CEQA, as are many governmental decisions that do not immediately result in physical development (such as adoption of a general or community plan). Every development project that requires a discretionary governmental approval will require at least some environmental review pursuant to CEQA, unless an exemption applies.
Public agencies are entrusted with compliance with CEQA. A public agency having authority to approve or disapprove a project is designated the CEQA Lead Agency, and is responsible for complying with CEQA for that project.
Compliance with CEQA is usually undertaken in a three-step process. In the first step, the Lead Agency determines if the action being considered is a “project” under CEQA. If the project is deemed to be a project, the Lead Agency then determines if the project is exempt from CEQA. If the project is not exempt from CEQA, the Lead Agency determines whether the project is likely to result in a significant impact on the environment that cannot be mitigated to a less than significant level (often by completing a CEQA checklist). If the answer to that question is yes, the Lead Agency must prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). If it is no, they may prepare an Initial Study/Negative Declaration (IS/ND) or Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND).
CEQA is a self-executing statute. Compliance with CEQA is enforced, as necessary, by the public through litigation or the threat of litigation. While the Natural Resources Agency is charged with the adoption of CEQA Guidelines, it is each public agency's duty to determine what is and is not subject to CEQA. As such, the Natural Resources Agency does not review the facts and exercise of discretion by public agencies in individual situations. In sum, the Agency does not enforce CEQA, nor does it review for compliance with CEQA the many state and local agency actions that are subject to CEQA. CEQA’s implementation falls largely on state and local governments, and special districts.
After it is determined that an activity or action is a “project” under CEQA, the Lead Agency will next consider whether a specific CEQA exemption applies.
In order to determine whether a project qualifies for an exemption, the Lead Agency evaluates whether the project fits into any of the statutory or categorical exemptions listed in Articles 18 and 19 in the State CEQA Guidelines, respectively. If it is plainly clear that the activity has no potential to result in any significant environmental impacts, a “common sense” exemption may apply [State CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3)].
If a project falls within any of the categorical exemption classes, the Lead Agency must next evaluate whether any exception to the exemptions apply. These exceptions to the exemptions define circumstances that override or negate the agency’s ability to use a categorical exemption. In other words, if an exception applies, then the project no longer qualifies for a categorical exemption. The exceptions are described in Public Resources Code Section 21084(c), (d), and (e) and State CEQA Guidelines Section 15300.2. These exceptions apply (and therefore a categorical exemption does not apply) where:
If any of these exceptions apply to the project or the project site, the agency or governmental unit cannot use a categorical exemption and must instead proceed with environmental review under CEQA.
○ Prohibited sales and use of plastic foam (Styrofoam) products. This includes all food service ware, as well as coolers, containers, ice chests, shipping boxes, pool or beach toys, packing peanuts or other packaging materials, etc.
○ Prohibited use and distribution of straws, unless specifically requested. No straws provided shall be wrapped in plastic.
○ All disposable food-service ware (take-out and dine-in) is required to be compostable and clearly labeled with the BPI compostable logo (as defined by ASTM standards).
○ Self-bussing food service vendors must provide three color-coded bins clearly labeled for food scraps (green), recyclables (blue), and garbage (black).
○ Required $0.10 customer charge for single-use cups to encourage the use of reusable cups and bottles. Customers with EBT and WIC cards are exempt from the charge.
○ Charges for single-use cups shall be clearly identified pre-sale for the customer on any ordering platforms and identified separately on any post-sale receipt.
○ The $0.10 customer disposable cup charge goes directly back to the business
Beginning January 1, 2022, all disposable foodware products must be certified compostable as defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or as defined by the City of Watsonville’s Organics processing contract for disposal. When you buy a product labeled "compostable," look for the BPI compostable logo, this has been certified ASTM. To learn more and/or to find certified compostable food-service ware products that meet ordinance requirements visit this site https://bpiworld.org/ or click here.
As of August 8, 2019, it is prohibited the sale and use of all plastic foam (Styrofoam) foodware. After January 1, 2021, disposable plastic food-service ware products are prohibited for take-out and dine-in. This includes, but not limited to: all food containers, clamshells, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, lids, straws, stirrers, forks, spoons, knives, and other items designed for one (1) time use for prepared foods, including, without limitation, service ware for eat-in and take-out foods and/or leftovers from partially consumed meals prepared by food providers.
Check with your preferred local vendor to see if they carry these products. If not, encourage your vendor to carry them. Below is a list of nearby vendors that sell certified compostable foodware and other products that meet ordinance requirements. Remember to ask for the BPI Compostable logo. To find other certified compostable food-service ware products that meet ordinance requirements visit this site https://bpiworld.org/ or click here.
Click this link to see a list of the local wholesale vendor of compostable products in Watsonville.
Yes, this ordinance applies to all food service providers, meaning any business, vendor, organization, entity, group or individual, including retail food establishments, located in the City of Watsonville that offers food or beverages to the public.
Compostable food service ware must go into the garbage bin (never in the recycling bin).
All compostable products should be disposed of in the garbage bin and never in the recycling bin.
The $0.10 customer disposable cup charge goes directly back to the business.
This charge is to help change consumer behavior towards bringing reusable cups since single-use cups create unnecessary waste and pollute our environment. This charge is also to support the businesses in moving over to the more sustainable option of compostable cups (and food service ware in general).
No. All of the customer cup charges go directly back to the business.
Yes! It is encouraged that customers choose re-usable options for many single-use items, including cups. This is a critical part of meeting the new challenges in the world of recycling and garbage. Fewer and fewer products are recyclable. Reducing single-use products also helps keep litter off the streets and from entering our storm drains which lead to our waterways. Additionally, it helps prevent carbon emissions which contribute to climate change. Every single-use product must be manufactured, shipped, and then disposed of which takes energy to produce and then to transport. By choosing reusable cups, bags, water bottles, and more supports efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Yes, all customers demonstrating, at the point of sale, a payment card or voucher issued by the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), or an Electronic Benefit Transfer Card (EBT) are exempt from the single-use cup charge.
California Assembly Bill 619 was passed in July 2019 and explicitly allows reusable food containers to be refilled by either the owner/operator of a food facility or the consumer. Consumers may supply their own reusable containers. Facilities may accept returned containers from consumers for reuse.
The City of Watsonville will be working with the businesses during the transition. If a business does not show progress towards the ordinance after the enforcement period begins, the City of Watsonville may enforce the provisions of this chapter under Municipal Code Chapter 1-2.
We recognize that every business has different space constraints and limitations. The City of Watsonville offers assistance in getting your three-bin waste stream system set up so that you can successfully meet the requirements. Please contact Customer Service at 768-3131 to schedule a site visit.
For more information, please contact Public Works Customer Service at 768-3133.
City of Watsonville residents can drop off recyclables, yard waste, and extra garbage at the Waste and Recycling Drop-off. Use this facility to dispose of occasional extra materials that do not fit in your recycling or garbage cart. Loads must be covered with a tarp. This service is available for residents of the City of Watsonville only. Address verification will be required. Wastes generated outside Watsonville city limits are not accepted.
The Waste and Recycling Drop-Off is open: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday
State law and local ordinance requires recycling and trash service for all businesses without real physical space restrictions. Businesses that make over 2 yards of trash weekly and over 20 gallons of organic waste OR under 2 yards of trash weekly and over 10 gallons of organics a week must subscribe to organics collection service by calling customer service at 831.768.3133.
Business Organics Collection Web Page
Green Organics Bins are collected weekly on the same day as trash collection. Comingle food and yard waste in the bin with a green lid.
Blue Recycling Bins are collected every other week on a schedule.
Gray Trash Bins are collected weekly by schedule
Commercial Trash/Recycling/Organics Container Service depends on your scheduled day of service. Refer to your schedule or call 831.768.3133 to inquire.
Businesses shall charge $.25 per single-use plastic bag or 40% recycled paper bag to encourage the use of reusable bags (municipal code sec. 6-7). This does not apply to take-out food, produce, WIC, or State Food Stamp recipients. Bag charge documentation is required. Read the full Single-Use Plastic Carryout ordinance here.
Complete a public records request.
We don’t actually give out toys. We are one of the partners who helps Toys 4 Tots collect toys. To get a referral to a pantry distributing food and toys, contact the Community Food Hotline at Second Harvest Food Bank.
No, applicants should complete the online application using the link on the Human Resources page or on the Jobs page.
Applicants should complete the online application found on the Human Resources and Jobs page. A kiosk is available at the City’s Human Resources counter during regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.). Make sure your application is received by the filing deadline to qualify for consideration.
The job openings are updated as new jobs become available. You are encouraged to check the weekly current openings by checking the City's Human Resources Job's page.
Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications we receive, we are only able to keep your application on file for the specific position for which you applied. If you advance far enough in the selection process you may be placed on an “Employment List” which may be used if an opening in the same job classification becomes available within one year of recruitment. However, this list may be abolished at any time if the needs of the City so require.
Once the recruitment has closed, the City will evaluate the applications and determine which applicants will move forward to the next step in the hiring process. Those selected to move forward will usually be contacted within three weeks of the recruitment closing date. Those not chosen to move forward will receive an email to the email address included in the online application. Due to the high volume of applications we receive, the City is currently unable to send status updates to everyone who applies for a job. You may view your application status by loging into your NEOGOV account and checking the status. You may also contact the Human Resources Department at 831-768-3020 to inquire about the status of your application.
If you are interested in applying for more than one position, you must submit an application for each position you are intereseted in.
Applications must be received by the Human Resources Department by the close of business on the filing deadline indicated on the job announcement. Some recruitments are open continuously or until filled and do not have a final deadline. These applications will be reviewed on a periodic basis depending on the needs of the City. Those applicants chosen to proceed in the next step of a hiring process will be contacted. Those not chosen to proceed will be notified by email. You may view the status of your application by loging into your NEOGOV account and checking the status. You may also call the Human Resources Department at 831-768-3020 to inquire about the status of your application.
If an ILL item is damaged or lost, there is usually a fee charged to the patron. This fee is determined by the lending library on a case-by-case basis.
Please call us with any questions. MariaElena Olmedo is our Outreach Librarian and can be reached at 831-768-3415.
Here’s a link to a 2019 Study that analyzed the Municipal Airport’s economic benefit.
Trail maps are available at City Hall and Libraries, or you can download the
The City works regularly with the help of several volunteer groups to keep the slough and river trails free of litter and debris. In the summer of 2018, Measure D funds will be utilized to regrade or repave the trails in a few key locations.
Although the City does not prohibit boating in the sloughs, it discourages it in order to protect the wetland habitat and its wildlife.
Note: For sections of the wetlands on the west side of the highway, the public must obtain permission from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to enter.
Yes, you can schedule a group guided tours by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mandatory recycling of organic waste is the next step toward achieving California’s aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals. California disposes approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills each year, of which more than 30 percent could be used for compost or mulch. Organic waste such as green materials and food materials are recyclable through composting and mulching. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic wastes in landfills have been identified as a significant source of emissions such as methane, contributing to global climate change. Reducing the amount of organic materials sent to landfills and increasing the production of compost and mulch are also part of the California Global Warming Solutions Plan AB 32 (2006).
All California cities, counties, businesses and residents are required to meet the SB 1383 mandate to reduce organic waste and thereby reduce emissions state wide. Landfill gas created by decomposing organic wastes is a significant source of methane that contributes to climate change. Despite the state’s robust and traditional recycling infrastructure, organic materials (yard trimmings, food scripts and soiled paper) make up 41% of the remaining waste stream. Redirecting these resources to composting operations will save landfill space, reduce emissions, and restore soils.
Businesses can meet the mandatory requirements by:
Call us to set up your organics collection service at 831.768.3133 unless you qualify for a business di minimus or physical space waiver
Supermarkets of over 10,000 square feet (Tier I) are required to donate the maximum amount of edible food to the Second Harvest Food Bank, track their donation weights and agreements.
If your business is self hauling, you are required to report your monthly organics totals by weight to the City of Watsonville and where they were hauled to to email@example.com by June of each year.
There are two types of waivers that commercial businesses and multifamily complexes can apply for every 5 years: the de minimis and physical space waivers. The waiver requires a city of Watsonville inspection and approval to be in effect. If your business no longer meets the guidelines for the waivers, you must call to start service.
Minimal generation waivers (De minimis) – for businesses and multi-family properties that generate a minimal amount of compostable/organic waste (food scraps and plant debris) depending on the amount of waste your business or multi-family property generates:
Amount of Waste Your Business Generates: Threshold to Quality for a Minimal Generation Waiver:
* Less than 2 cubic yards of total weekly service: Generate no more than 10 gallons of compostable/organic waste per week
* 2 or more cubic yards of total weekly service: Generate no more than 20 gallons of compostable/organic waste per week
Physical Space Waiver:
There are physical space constraints that prohibit the addition of compost and recycling containers
You may make an appointment with a Planner by directly contacting a Planner 24 hours in advance or stopping by during drop-in counter hours. Drop-in counter hours are 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Friday. Over the counter permit processing has been suspended due to the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic.
An online interactive GIS mapping tools is currently under development.
To locate zoning districts within the city, view the
The Zoning Clearance is the procedure the City uses to determine whether a business meets the zoning requirements for a particular location and to approve the establishment of the business use at that location. The Zoning Clearance is a one-time clearance with a one-time fee to establish a business at a specific location.
The Zoning Clearance process gives the Planning Division an opportunity to verify that a proposed land use is allowed in the applicable zoning district and that the use complies with the development standards of the Zoning Ordinance. When a Zoning Clearance is requested, a staff planner reviews the business description and location and determines if the proposed use is principally permitted, subject to a Use Permit, or prohibited. The planner also reviews the proposed use for consistency with previous permits that may have been issued on the property.
Yes, the planner at the public counter can process a Business License application concurrently with your Zoning Clearance payment.
The City requires any food truck to obtain a Traveling Merchant Permit from the Watsonville Police Department to operate within the city limits. For more information on permit requirements, please read this memorandum on the matter.
Contact the Planning Division to find out what the Assessor Parcel Number is for your property. An Assessor Parcel Number is a unique parcel identification number assigned by Santa Cruz County to each parcel of record.
Fencing is not required in residential zoning districts but may be required in non-residential zoning districts. Review Part 14 (Fence Permits) of Chapter 14-12 (Zoning Permits) for Watsonville Municipal Code standards for fencing, including required setback from property lines, maximum height, and types of material allowed. Pursuant to Section 14-12.1400 and Section 14-32.020, and a Fence Permit is required for all fences constructed within the City of Watsonville in accordance with the design standards in Chapter 14-32 (Fences). A building permit is required for all fences greater than seven feet in height (where allowed).
Allowable home-based businesses are required to file a Home Occupation Permit application and a Business License application. A home occupation permit allows for business-related activities deemed to cause minimal impact(s) on neighboring parcels. Review the Chapter 14-12.1100 (Home Occupation Permit) for more information on home occupation permits.
A pre-application review process is recommended prior to the formal application of a development application. For a listing of associated fees, please review the Planning Fee Schedule. The cost of the pre-application is credited toward the formal application for the project.
Individuals may discuss proposals in person with a Planner at the Permit Center. For more information, contact the Planning Division at (831)768-3050 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Plans are available for review at the Community Development Department. Interested individuals are welcome to contact the Planning Division at (831)768-3050 or email@example.com, or stop by to speak to the project planner regarding the proposed project.
You will need a sign permit, in addition to applicable building permits. For more information, please refer to Chapter 8-6 of the Watsonville Municipal Code or contact the Permit Center at (831) 768-3050.
Yes, a banner requires a permit and is only permitted on a temporary basis, limited up to four times a year, not to exceed a total of 30 days in a calendar year. Applications are available here.
Density represents the number of dwelling units per net acre of land. Dwelling units include all residential units having sleeping, eating, cooking, and bathroom facilities, including single-family homes, mobile homes, townhouses, condominiums, duplexes (and other "plexes"), and apartment units. Net land area is calculated by taking gross acreage and subtracting undevelopable lands (e.g., wetlands) and the area in rights-of-way for streets and roads.
Floor area ration (FAR) represents the total gross square footage of a building or structure, but not including any area within the building utilized for off-street parking. FAR is used to place a limit on the overall size of a building in square feet relative to the size of a lot. The total square footage of building area allowed on a lot is determined by multiplying the FAR by the square footage of the lot on which the building is located. This diagram illustrates the same floor area for a one, two and four story building on a lot with a maximum FAR of 1.
The registered owner of the vehicle must be present with a valid driver license or with a valid ID and accompanied with someone with a valid driver license.
Vehicle registration must be valid. If registration is incomplete, a DMV Moving Permit will be required. The Vehicle Release Fee is $186.
Call dispatch at 831-471-1151 or request to speak to an officer at the
Call Assistant Administrative Analyst Angelica Jauregui 831-768-3386 and she will explain the process to you.
Entertainment Permits: 5-9.02 WMC requires anyone having an event with entertainment (as defined in WMC 5-09.01) open to the Public or at a private club, must obtain a permit from the WPD 30 days prior to the event. You can obtain an Entertainment Permit application from Watsonville Police Department Records division. The cost is $150.
Sound Permits: 5-34.01 WMC are required when using any sound amplifying device within the city limits on public or private property. In most cases the permits are valid till 10 p.m., but the sound must not disturb the peace of neighbors or businesses nearby.
You can apply for a permit by obtaining a Sound Permit application from the Watsonville Police Department Records division. The cost is currently $200.
Contact Enforcement Technology at 866-449-7581 or you can look up your citation via the
Yes, you can call 831-768-3455 to make a payment Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please have your credit card information ready before calling.
You can also call 1-855-748-3077, and pay 24/7 with the automated phone payment system.
For more information regarding your utilities,
In order to change the name on the utility accounts you will need to provide proof that you live there (rental agreement, mortgage documents, power of attorney).
Learn more about your utilities by
The City bills on a monthly basis for all utilities: water, garbage and sewer.
Learn more about your utility bill by
Please contact Public Works Customer Service, and ask for the City's Community Garden Manager.
Not many studies have been done. Currently a PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of California Davis is conducting a research study to evaluate health risks to humans and their pets associated with recreational exposure to Pinto Lake.
For more information about this study, contact the One Health Institute at UC Davis at (530) 752-7526.
There is no application fee.
First, you must fill out a MWH Permit Application form to obtain a permit and access code in order to enter the facility. See How to apply for a MWH Discharge Permit for instructions on what to expect
Allow a minimum of one week after submitting the permit application before a permit will be issued.
Domestic septage, chemical toilet, and restaurant grease are accepted discharges from mobile waste haulers permitted by the City of Watsonville. See Table X for the mobile waste hauler dumping fee schedule. Disposal of other liquid wastes by permitted haulers requires contacting Source Control for approval.
You must fill out a MWH Load Identification Report each time you discharge. The forms are provided at the gray storage sheds located at each receiving station.
For septic and chemical toilet dumping, the MWH will require a 3″, 4″, or 6″ male cam lock fitting on the truck to connect using the hoses at the septic receiving station
For grease dumping, the MWH will require a hose of approximately 15’ with a 3″ male cam lock fitting to connect the truck to the grease receiving station.
The City of Watsonville WWTF is open to permitted mobile waste haulers between 7:00 am to 4:30 pm daily, 7 days a week. Gate codes issued to permitted MWH’s will not activate the gate outside of those hours.
To renew your City of Watsonville MWH discharge permit, Use this link to the MWH discharge permit renewal form. Return the completed form with the required documentation to Source Control before the expiration of the current permit in order to keep the gate code active.
The State of California set a goal to reduce 75% of the organic waste (food scraps and yard waste) sent to the landfill by 2025. This goal will help us reduce the number of greenhouse gases emitted by food rotting in landfills. Instead, the food scraps will be transformed into compost.
No. This service is already included in your garbage bill. The cost of this service was factored into your utility bill during the last utility rate adjustment in 2021.
The green organics cart will be delivered throughout the city in phases starting in April 2022. By July 2022 the whole city will be participating in the program. Along with your new cart, you will receive a notice in the mail alerting you that your bin has been delivered and that you can start to place food and yard waste in the green organics cart.
Please do not put food scraps in your yard waste bin until you receive a notice from us letting you know that you can start. This program will be rolled out to the city in phases starting in April. By July 2022 the whole city will be participating in the program. We appreciate your patience and cooperation.
Your outdoor cart will be picked-up once a week on your regularly scheduled service day.
Food Scraps and Yard Waste Including:
Organic waste is hauled to Monterey County and processed to produce nutrient-rich compost.
Please do not place any types of bags (paper, plastic, nor biodegradable) in the green organics bin.
Rinsing your outdoor green bin is optional. If you choose to do so, please do not empty dirty water down your driveway or sidewalk.
Leave liquids and raw meat out of green organics carts.
When possible, layer your food scraps with yard trimmings and keep a bucket of dry leaves, pine needles, straw, or wood shavings nearby to cover your food scraps.
Rinse your green cart with water when necessary and pour it onto your lawn — never onto the street or down a storm drain (they go directly to our sloughs!).
Sprinkle smelly containers with baking soda to neutralize odors.
To report broken or malfunctioning carts, please contact Customer Service at (831) 768-3133.
If you have additional questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Customer Service at (831) 768-3133.
It is free! We believe every child deserves to have access to high quality, engaging and enriching hands-on science experiences.
For program information, visit the
Students under age 8 must visit with an adult.
To learn more about the program, visit
Call Customer Service at 768-3133 or email email@example.com.
Household hazardous waste is accepted Tuesday - Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
You can view your water rates in the
At home car washing is only allowed by bucket to prevent water running off the property. When possible, please park car on grass so wash water goes back into the ground and not down the street. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products to prevent pollution. Consider using a commercial car wash where water gets cleaned and recycled. For more information please call 831-768-3100.
No, there are no rules for watering trees.