(a) (1) The legislative body of a local agency, as the term "local agency" is defined in Section 54951, may by ordinance make any violation of any ordinance enacted by the local agency subject to an administrative fine or penalty. The local agency shall set forth by ordinance the administrative procedures that shall govern the imposition, enforcement, collection, and administrative review by the local agency of those administrative fines or penalties. Where the violation would otherwise be an infraction, the administrative fine or penalty shall not exceed the maximum fine or penalty amounts for infractions set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 25132 and subdivision (b) of Section 36900.
(2) The administrative procedures set forth by ordinance adopted by the local agency pursuant to paragraph (1) shall provide for a reasonable period of time, as specified in the ordinance, for a person responsible for a continuing violation to correct or otherwise remedy the violation prior to the imposition of administrative fines or penalties, when the violation pertains to building, plumbing, electrical, or other similar structural or zoning issues, that do not create an immediate danger to health or safety.
(b) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 1094.5 or 1094.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, within 20 days after service of the final administrative order or decision of the local agency is made pursuant to an ordinance enacted in accordance with this section regarding the imposition, enforcement or collection of the administrative fines or penalties, a person contesting that final administrative order or decision may seek review by filing an appeal to be heard by the superior court, where the same shall be heard de novo, except that the contents of the local agency's file in the case shall be received in evidence. A proceeding under this subdivision is a limited civil case. A copy of the document or instrument of the local agency providing notice of the violation and imposition of the administrative fine or penalty shall be admitted into evidence as prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. A copy of the notice of appeal shall be served in person or by first-class mail upon the local agency by the contestant.
(2) The fee for filing the notice of appeal shall be as specified in Section 70615. The court shall request that the local agency's file on the case be forwarded to the court, to be received within 15 days of the request. The court shall retain the fee specified in Section 70615 regardless of the outcome of the appeal. If the court finds in favor of the contestant, the amount of the fee shall be reimbursed to the contestant by the local agency. Any deposit of the fine or penalty shall be refunded by the local agency in accordance with the judgment of the court.
(3) The conduct of the appeal under this section is a subordinate judicial duty that may be performed by traffic trial commissioners and other subordinate judicial officials at the direction of the presiding judge of the court.
(c) If no notice of appeal of the local agency's final administrative order or decision is filed within the period set forth in this section, the order or decision shall be deemed confirmed.
(d) If the fine or penalty has not been deposited and the decision of the court is against the contestant, the local agency may proceed to collect the penalty pursuant to the procedures set forth in its ordinance.
(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 738, Sec. 14.)