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CHAPTER 8-20 RULES OF CONDUCT AND EXCLUSION PROCESS FOR PUBLIC PARKS, PLAZAS, AND FACILITIES

Section 8-20.01. Definitions.

As used in this Chapter, the following definitions shall apply.

(a)            “City Parks, Plazas, and Facilities” means all real property and improvements thereon (whatsoever in nature) owned, operated, or maintained by the City.

(b)            “Designated Staff” means those City of Santa Maria employees and peace officers authorized by the Director to issue warnings and exclusion notices to park, plaza and facility users.

(c)            “User” means any individual who is present upon any City Park, Plaza, or Facility whether or not they have a reservation or paid a fee.

(d)            “Director” means the individual employed by the City of Santa Maria to oversee the Recreation and Parks Department, or his/her designee. (Ord. 2020-04 § 1, eff. 7-2/20)

Section 8-20.02. Rules of conduct for parks, plazas, and facilities.

City of Santa Maria parks, plazas, and facilities are engineered, designed, maintained, and managed for the beneficial use of all users of the general public. All users of City of Santa Maria parks, plazas, and facilities agree that by entering, using, or remaining upon these properties, all use of these locations shall be in conformity with the rules outlined herein, and any violation of these rules may result in a temporary short/long term exclusion from all City-owned properties in addition to any applicable criminal arrest/citation and sanctions for violation of these rules or other local or state law.

(a)            All users must follow all location specific posted rules.

(b)            Tobacco and vape products, marijuana, illegal street drugs, and non-prescribed drugs are not to be consumed in any park, plaza, or facility. Open containers of alcohol are not to be possessed/consumed at any location without a valid permit.

(c)            All pets must be leashed at parks and plazas, and kept under the control of the owner or responsible party. Pets are not permitted inside any Facility unless they are Service Animals.

(d)            Proper hygiene is required, including not offending others with unreasonable odors from the person’s body or personal property. For sanitary reasons, users must wear appropriate clothing at all times while utilizing parks, plazas, and facilities, including shoes, shirts and pants/shorts/skirts.

(e)            Use of bicycles, skateboards, scooters, hover boards, etc. in parks is allowed except for when specifically prohibited posted areas.

(f)            Weapons, fixed blade knives, and firearms are prohibited.

(g)            Filming activity requires a permit pursuant to Chapter 4-16 of the Municipal Code.

(h)            Headphones are required for all personal electronic devices emitting sound (unless otherwise authorized by permit).

(i) Recreation programs and classes have priority in all spaces.

(j) Disorderly conduct, inappropriate behavior, vulgar language and/or gestures, inappropriate displays of affection, abuse of park, plaza or facility grounds, equipment, or staff and/or disregard for rules may result in immediate exclusion from the property.

(k)            Unreasonable use of restrooms, including laundering/bathing (excluding shower facilities) is prohibited.

(l) The use of park, plaza, and facility electrical outlets are for City personnel only. Any un-approved use of or tampering with these receptacles is prohibited.

(m)           Persons that have been suspended from any recreation programs or previously excluded from any facilities are prohibited from entering any City park, plaza, or facility during the term of their suspension.

(n)            Use of informal activity spaces when not scheduled/reserved is first come, first serve.

(o)            Persons engaged in constitutionally protected speech, such as requesting signatures for petitions and other expressive activities, are not permitted to harass users or staff, or block access to any park, plaza, or facility. Posting or affixing leaflets or signs on or at any park, plaza, or facility is prohibited.

(p)            Any violation of local, state and/or federal law constitutes a violation of these rules of conduct which may subject user(s) to exclusion from parks, plazas, and facilities pursuant to Section 8-20.04. (Ord. 2020-04 § 1, eff. 7-2/20)

Section 8-20.03. Penalty for violation of rules of conduct.

Any person violating any provision of this Chapter, is guilty of an infraction, and upon conviction thereof is punishable in accordance with Title 1.

Section 8-20.04. Exclusion process.

In addition, or as an alternative to, a criminal or administrative citation for a violation of this Chapter, individuals are subject to the Exclusion Process, as defined herein.

(a)            Minor Violations– Issuance of Warning or Exclusion Notices.

(1)    Warning Notice and Day Ejectment. Designated Staff may issue individuals a verbal warning for violation of the Rules of Conduct set forth in this Chapter; however, a verbal warning is not required and is provided only as a courtesy. Whether or not a verbal warning is given, designated staff may issue a written warning notice, and eject the user for the remainder of the day for a violation of the Rules of Conduct set forth in this Chapter. The written warning notice shall specify the name of the individual being warned, the location, date and time, and specific violation which resulted in the issuance of the warning notice. The written warning notice shall further state that the individual may not utilize any City of Santa Maria parks, plazas, or facilities for the remainder of the day of the violation.

(2)    Exclusion Notice. If an individual has received a written warning notice and violates a Rule of Conduct within ninety (90) days of the date of issuance of the warning notice, designated staff may issue a written exclusion notice excluding the individual from all City parks, plazas, or facilities for a period of no less than one (1) month and no greater than twelve (12) months. The exclusion notice shall identify the name of the individual who is to be excluded and the basis for the exclusion, the start and end date (including duration) of the exclusion, any other privileges being lost, along with information concerning the right to appeal the exclusion notice to the Director of Recreation and Parks or their designee pursuant to the provisions of Section 8-20.05. The individual to whom the exclusion notice is issued shall sign a written acknowledgment of its receipt, and allow his/her photograph to be taken. If the individual refuses to sign, or allow his/her photograph to be taken, designated staff shall make a written record of the refusal.

(b)            Serious Violations – Issuance of Exclusion Notices.

(1)    Warning Notice. A warning notice is not required for a serious violation of the Rules of Conduct set forth in this Chapter. To constitute a serious violation, the individual’s behavior must be confrontational, threatening, violent, dysfunctional, harassing, or rise to the level of a public nuisance. In addition, any criminal conduct as set forth within the Santa Maria Municipal Code or California Penal Code, whether or not such conduct is also a specific violation of these Rules of Conduct, shall be a serious violation.

(2)    Exclusion Notice. If an individual has committed a serious violation, Designated Staff shall issue a written exclusion notice pursuant to Section 8-20.04 (a)(2) excluding the person from City parks, plazas, and/or facilities for up to twelve (12) months, effective upon the issuance of the exclusion notice. The exclusion notice shall also include information concerning the right to appeal the exclusion notice to the Parks Manager pursuant to the provisions of Section 8-20.05. The individual to whom the exclusion notice is issued shall sign a written acknowledgment of its receipt, and allow his/her photograph to be taken. If the individual refuses to sign, or allow his/her photograph to be taken, designated staff shall make a written record of the refusal. (Ord. 2020-04 § 1, eff. 7-2/20)

Section 8-20.05. Right of appeal of warning or exclusion notice.

(a)            The individual to whom a warning or exclusion notice is issued shall have the right to appeal the notice.

(b)            A notice of appeal of a warning or exclusion notice must be filed in writing with the Recreation and Parks Department within five (5) calendar days of the issuance of the warning or exclusion notice. The notice of appeal shall state the following:

(1)    The appellant’s name;

(2)    The appellant’s address and a telephone number where he/she can be reached;

(3)    A concise statement explaining why the appellant believes the issuance of the warning or exclusion notice was invalid or unjustified; and

(4)    A copy of the warning or exclusion notice at issue.

(c)            A hearing on the appeal shall be held within fifteen (15) calendar days following the filing of the appeal, except the Director may reasonably postpone the hearing date at the request of the appellant or designated staff issuing the notice, for good cause. The appellant shall be provided notice of the hearing date, time, and location of the hearing at least five (5) calendar days prior to the hearing date. The hearing shall afford a reasonable opportunity for the appellant to be present, and present evidence that the warning or exclusion notice is invalid or unjustified. The appellant shall have the right to cross-examine involved City staff and witnesses. The decision of the Director shall be final and in writing.

(d)            At the hearing, Designated Staff shall have the burden to show by a preponderance of evidence that the warning or exclusion notice was based upon, and is justified by, a violation of the Rules of Conduct set forth in this Chapter.

(e)            Copies of all documents to be used by designated staff at the hearing shall be made available to the appellant at least five (5) calendar days prior to the hearing. (Ord. 2020-04 § 1, eff. 7-2/20)

Section 8-20.06. Punishment for violation of an exclusion notice.

Any person who violates a provision of an exclusion notice to stay away from specified City parks, plazas, or facilities during the exclusion period is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 2020-04 § 1, eff. 7-2/20)

For more information on the Santa Maria Municipal Code visit http://www.qcode.us/codes/santamaria/.