How do I report a building violation?

You can find out more about reporting a violation and find the code violation complaint form here.

What is the Pension Obligation Tax on my property tax bill?

The Pension Obligation tax (Fund # 109072) is the restricted use of funds tax established in the 1960’s, which is collected to pay for the public employees’ retirement system with current tax rate of $.0910 per $100 of assessed tax roll valuation. This is a variable amount that is adopted by resolution by Council each year which has a cap amount that can only be increased through an election.

What is the Runoff Charge Tax on my property tax bill?

The Runoff Charge tax (Fund # 109156) is the tax collected to fund providing maintenance and repair of the Town’s storm water drainage facilities; to provide capital improvements to the town’s storm drainage system and to provide other clean storm water activities. Established in 1995 to provide a funding source to provide enforcement of the Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Ordinance. This charge is per “run-of unit” as set forth in the Municipal Code ; with a current tax rate of $15 per each run-off unit for use code 11 (residential) and 14. The remaining use codes are billed at a fixed rate per square footage of run-off area which ranges by use code from $.0005 to $.004. This is a fixed amount which can only be increased by election.

How do I pay my property taxes?

You can pay your property taxes online through the County of Marin.


Do you sound the siren for anything besides floods?

The siren was intended for flood use. However, it might be used for other emergencies such as a
wild land fire. Also, the sirens are tested on the first Friday of every month at 11:45 AM. Between February 1st and July 31st only the Corp Yard siren is tested. The Fairfax Grade siren is not tested during the months that Spotted Owls are nesting in the area. During a test, the siren sounds for 60 seconds. During a real emergency, the siren will sound continuously until it is determined there has been adequate notification. If the siren is used for anything else, it would be coordinated along with other notification methods such as the Everbridge, TV, or radio.

If I live in a flood zone and hear the siren, should I evacuate to the Pavilion?

If you are told to evacuate, follow the instructions of emergency personnel. They will tell you if you should go to the Pavilion or another shelter location. Not all shelters are open during a disaster.

Why can’t you establish a hard and fast protocol of exactly what you are going to do and when you are going to do it in a storm situation?

There is no standard storm event. Each storm is unique as the creek reacts quite differently depending on the rate of rainfall, the ground saturation, the areas receiving the most rainfall, and the duration of the rainfall. Each storm/flooding event is different and calls have to be made for each event based on the available data to ensure an appropriate and timely response.

How is the public notified of pending winter storms and flooding danger?

Our ability to notify residents and merchants of pending storms and flooding danger has improved exponentially over the last few years, since the last major flood event of 2005. This includes the Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS) ( operated by Marin County Office of Emergency Services (OES). Residents are encouraged to sign up for this alert notification system. We also encourage people to stay tuned to local TV and radio stations (KCBS AM 740, or WPKX 1610 AM San Anselmo) for weather updates to augment the above information.

Why can’t you sound the flood siren earlier?

The flood siren is reserved to alert all residents and merchants that flooding is imminent. Many times during a storm the water level hovers around 5 feet, sometimes for days. Were the flood siren to be sounded each time the creek level gets to 5 feet, for example, it could be necessary to sound it repeatedly for days, diluting the message and most probably resulting in people ignoring the warning. In this age of technology, we have many other methods of notifying merchants and residents of pending storms and rainfall/creek updates.

When do you sound the flood siren?

The protocol is to sound the flood siren when flooding is imminent, which in Fairfax, is at 7.2 feet. When the siren is sounded, residents and merchants are advised to proceed immediately to a higher floor or to higher ground. There is also a protocol with our neighboring town San Anselmo, that if they sound their flood horn siren, Fairfax will activate our siren as well. This is despite the fact that the flood stage in Fairfax is lower than San Anselmo. However, if they are at flood stage, there is the possibility Fairfax will flood as well. The flood siren does not mean come downtown to see the creek or move merchandise to higher areas. Rising flood waters are fast moving and dangerous, and should be avoided.

There’s an easement on my property. What is an easement?

An easement is a legal right to cross, enter or otherwise use private property for a specific purpose. For example, a ‘utility easement’ allows utility companies to use a designated area (typically a corridor crossing a property) to locate utilities that serve other properties.

What zoning district is my property located in, and what does it mean?

You can find your zoning district by reviewing the Town of Fairfax’s Zoning Map Most of Fairfax is residentially zoned. Zoning protects property owners from inappropriate uses, and protects the character of neighborhoods by setting forth limits on building lot size, coverage, setbacks, etc. Zoning regulations also protect your real estate investment by allowing you to providing input on development projects prior to their approval by decisionmakers.

How can I find if my house is in a flood zone? If so, how does it affect me?

Use this link for information on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood zones. The Town of Fairfax is responsible for implementing the FEMA regulations for properties within flood zones.  If your property is in a flood zone, special construction techniques (such as building elevation or floodproofing) are required to avoid damage to the structure. The flood regulations also allow homeowners in a flood zone to obtain flood insurance against the costs of repairing building damage caused by flooding.

I’m a property owner and I would like to obtain and use the original set of building plans for my house. Do I still need approval of the design professional?

Yes, architectural and building plans are protected by copyright laws, and written approval by the architect, designer or other design professional who prepared the plans is required before the plans can be copied and used. Plans, however, can be viewed at the building counter at Town Hall.

What information is required for a planning application?

The Planning Department has created a checklist of submittal requirements for applications (see link [link to checklist here]. If you are unsure what information or materials are necessary for your project, please refer to the checklist, the planning application webpage, or contact a planner to discuss application requirements. Keep in mind that if specific information on a project is required, a pre-application and appointment may be necessary.

How can I comment on my neighbor’s project?

All applicants should discuss their plans with neighbors to determine any potential concerns with their project prior to submitting an application.  Neighbors are encouraged to discuss any concerns with applicants.  Once a project is submitted to Planning, a neighbor may submit comments at any time to the project planner.  A letter or email to the project planner is encouraged.

Does a storage shed require a permit?

A storage shed less than 150 square feet does not require design review, between 120 -149 square feet requires a building permit, less than 120 square feet may be installed without permits. However the shed must still comply with required building setbacks and maximum allowed building square footage (floor area ratio) for the subject property. Adding electricity, windows, or plumbing will require any structure to obtain construction permits.

When do I need a permit to alter or remove trees on my property?

Anytime you’re doing major pruning (other than annual maintenance pruning) or if you are proposing to remove any tree that measures 24” in circumference, 23” above the ground. If you are applying to remove a tree it is advisable that your tree removal application include a report from a certified arborist indicating why the tree must be removed (i.e. disease, hazard, etc. ).   Please click on this link [link] to read Farifax Municipal Code Chapter 8.36 on trees.

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